One of the most frequent questions I get is “How do I prepare for the PEBC examinations?”.
This is not an easy question to answer since everyone has different needs and knowledge.
No matter when you graduated or where you graduated from, do not underestimate the difficulty of these exams. These exams are tough and require a lot of hard work and preparation. If you think you can just write the exams with only a few days of study, you are mistaken.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
1. Read the PEBC website thoroughly and make sure you understand everything. Do not skip anything since this will be one of the most important things you read. Do the practice questions. The site: www.pebc.ca
2. Set aside 1-2 hours of study every day. No exceptions. You must be disciplined and keep these times for study. Make sure you take breaks. Make sure you have a quiet place to study. As you get closer to the exam dates, you will want to study probably 4-6 hours per day.
3. One of the key things that the PEBCs will test is your ability to PROBLEM SOLVE. The PEBC is not just about regurgitation of facts. You must be able to solve everyday problems. Some of the problems will be therapeutic, but also a lot will be about ethics, privacy, jurisprudence, team work, education, communication and so forth. You might be given a case study and presented with a problem. You must come up with the best answer.
4. In many cases, you will be asked to use your PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT. This is often difficult to do since they don’t teach you this at pharmacy school. If you want to know about professional judgement, check out the www.ocpinfo.ca for more information. There is a really good section worth reading on professional judgement.
5. Do as many sample questions as possible. That is why we created iMCQ. It is a database of hundreds of sample questions that cover all the NAPRA competencies. There is a lot of free continuing education available on the Internet with sample quizzes. Do those as well. See www.agrohealth.com/imcq.
6. Please see our blog about what references to use and study from.
7. Where to start? Try reading Therapeutic Choices and Patient Self Care. Of course it is necessary to know all the ‘big’ diseases like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, heart failure and infectious diseases, but you may also get questions asked about conditions like diaper rash or eye infections or sun burn. If you want to get more details, say the pathophysiology of a disease, go into a useful textbook listed in www.pebc.ca. You will also have to know non-drug therapies: diet, smoking cessation, exercise, and when to recommend these.
8. Identify gaps in your knowledge early on. It is not uncommon to spend too much time reviewing material we are most familiar with. While it is important to review all relevant material, be sure to identify your knowledge gaps early, so that you can devote enough study time to these areas.
9. Consider starting with a practice test, to identify and focus on the areas where you need the most improvement. Some on-line multiple choice test banks, like iMCQ, provide a “test mode” to help you quickly assess your strengths and weaknesses in a timed, test-like setting, as well as a “practice mode” to help you review specific topics at your own pace for more in-depth studying
10. A common myth suggests you should cram your studying right before the exam so that the material will be fresh in your memory. However, research shows that spacing out your study time over a few weeks produces the best results. Cramming late at night just before the exam will leave you mentally and physically tired. You will retain much less information and may make more careless mistakes on the exam
11. Simulate the exam experience.
- If the exam will be a closed-book exam, it is important to practice answering questions without access to your notes or text books.
- Practice answering questions that someone else has selected. You are not the one setting the exam questions, so asking yourself questions that you have developed on your own is usually a poor way to re-create the exam experience. Workbooks, accredited continuing education (CE) lesson test questions, and on-line test banks, like iMCQ, are essential tools to aid your preparations for the PEBC Qualifying exam or the OCP Quality Assurance Practice Review – they provide you with challenging practice questions, developed by content experts.
- Be sure to practice using questions based on Canadian content that is designed to assess the NAPRA professional competencies for Canadian pharmacists.