As an intern pharmacist in Australia, passing the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) Intern Written Exam can be challenging due to the limited information available. Here are some effective strategies to help you study and pass The APC Pharmacy Intern Written Exam.
Start with Practice Intern Written Exams
To begin with, it’s a good idea to start with practice exams provided by your intern training provider (ITP) or the sample intern written exam provided by the APC. But, as the number of practice exams is limited, it’s crucial to make the most out of each exam by adopting a few effective strategies.
Learn What The Meta-Questions Is
Many exam questions have an underlying theme that the examiner is trying to test you on. In fact, several questions can be easily rewritten by substituting the medicine or disease state with a similar or related one, and presented as a different exam question altogether. This is where meta-questions come into play.
To succeed in the APC Intern Written Exam, it is crucial to understand the concept of meta-questions. That’s why when you’re doing a practice exam you need to not only know the answer to the actual question but also its variations. Ask yourself: if the medicine or disease state was different, would I still know the answer? By doing this, you are training your mind to recognise patterns and understand the underlying principles, which are fundamental to studying for and then acing the exam.
Understand Why Other Options are Incorrect
When using practice intern written exams, make sure you are actually studying them, not just doing them. I.e., it’s not just about knowing the correct answer, but also about understanding why the other options are incorrect. For instance, let’s take the example of Question 70 from the APC Intern Written Sample Exam, which asks about the correct statement regarding glyceryl trinitrate patches.
Q70 Which ONE of the following statements is CORRECT with regards to glyceryl trinitrate patches?
A Useful in the treatment of unstable angina
B Remove and replace every 24 hours
C Cut to provide lower doses if necessary
D Apply for up to 14 hours/day
It’s not enough to know that the correct answer is D (Apply for up to 14 hours/day). You also need to know why the other options are incorrect.
- Option A is incorrect because GTN patches are indicated for “Prevention and treatment of stable angina” and not unstable angina.
- Option B is incorrect because we need a nitrate-free period to avoid developing nitrate tolerance.
- Option C is incorrect because cutting GTN patches may cause the medicine to leak out.
Note how these incorrect options can be easily changed to make them the correct answer. For instance, in a modified version of the same question, option A can be made the correct answer by replacing “unstable” with “stable” angina and option D can be made incorrect by increasing the duration of the patch application to 20 hours/day. By understanding why, the other options are incorrect, you can prepare yourself to answer such modified questions with ease and confidence.
Know How to Use Your References E.g. AMH
Knowing how to use your references, such as the Australian Medicine Handbook (AMH), is also crucial for a time-effective exam. By understanding the key points in the AMH that are important to study, you can use your references more efficiently. Here are two videos that can help:
How to use the AMH in a time-effective way
What To Study In Your AMH
Get Additional Help
If you find these strategies useful, you might want to read my complete study guide for the Intern Written exam – the Amazon best-selling book, Passing The Pharmacy Australia Intern Written Exam: The easy way. It contains practice exams, tips, tricks, and even guides on how to guess (yes guess) MCQs more accurately.
And if you need more personalised help, you can book a free 15-minute consultation with me.
Yours in efficient learning,
Founder of Memorise Medicine
Three-Time Amazon Best-Selling Author:
- Passing the Pharmacy Australia Intern Oral Exam
- Passing the Pharmacy Australia Intern Written Exam
- Counselling On Commonly Prescribed Medicines and How to Build Rapport
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