As an intern pharmacist in Australia, it’s challenging to navigate the process of studying for and passing the AHPRA Pharmacy Australia Intern Oral Exam. Not to mention you also need to study for the APC written exam. The sheer volume of information interns need to learn can often be overwhelming. However, we can simplify this process by focusing on what will be tested in the oral exam.

The pharmacy intern oral exam consists of three parts, each with its own format. I highly recommend reading the Pharmacy Board Pharmacy oral examination (practice) candidate guide for more detailed information on each part.

Part A – Primary Healthcare (AKA OTC): 10 minutes

In this section, a role play scenario is presented where a patient or caregiver seeks assistance with an over-the-counter (OTC) treatable condition. Unlike Part C, there are usually no tricks involved in this section. However, that does NOT mean you don’t refer patients to a doctor or another healthcare professional if necessary.

Working in community pharmacy is the best way to prepare for this section. The more you interact with patients regarding their primary health problems, the better you’ll become at handling this section. Pay close attention to the rationale behind recommending one OTC product over another, and consider how you would approach the situation if the patient was changed e.g. on certain medications, having allergies, or being pregnant or breastfeeding.

For interns that are doing their pharmacy internship in hospital or for interns that would like to do more study outside of community pharmacy, offers a module covering common ailments that can be treated OTC.

Part B – Legal and Ethical Practice: 5 minutes

This section involves a discussion rather than a role play scenario. Despite its name, this section solely tests your ability to practice legally, and does not test you on any ethical dilemmas. Interns often struggle with this section when they confuse common practices in pharmacy, which may not always be entirely legal, with what they should be doing legally.

While quoting legislation is generally unnecessary, you may be asked where you would double-check legal requirements or how you would prevent a specific legal issue from happening again.

Part C – Problem Solving and Communication: 20 minutes

Part C is conducted as a role play. You assume the role of the pharmacist, while the examiner portrays the patient (or caregiver) and the doctor. Sometimes you may get lucky and the problem presented in this section is simple, e.g. a patient being newly prescribed a medication they are allergic to, but it can also be more complex.

To consistently succeed in this section, it’s crucial to have a systematic approach to identify and solve the problem. In fact, you should have a system in place to pass all parts of the oral exam (See: How To Systematically Pass The Pharmacy Australia Intern Oral Exam). Because without a system in place, you’re purely relying on luck. The four-step system is the easiest and most effective method for consistently passing Part C of the intern oral exam.

Do you have a system in place to pass the intern oral exam?

The most common reason I see interns fail the intern oral exam is because they mistakenly thought the super obvious simple problem was the major problem, when really there was a much larger more important problem they needed to find. They were misdirected.

If you are constantly failing Part C of your intern oral exam, then most likely you’re being misdirected.

Use Your References Efficiently

It’s important to use your references effectively. You only have access to references in Part C of the exam. Most interns should use the Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH) to look up drug and medical information, and eMIMS to check for interactions. If you need to recommend a change in medication therapy, consider using the eTG.

To learn how to use your AMH efficiently, I recommend watching these videos:

If you found this information useful, you may be interested in reading my comprehensive study strategy for the Intern Oral Exam, which is available in my bestselling book, “Passing the Pharmacy Australia Intern Oral Exam.” It contains practice exams and exam strategies to help you succeed.

If you would like personalized assistance, feel free to book a free 15-minute consultation with me.

The Best-selling Book On How To Pass the Pharmacy Australia Intern Oral Exam

Yours in efficient learning,
Bon Oh
Founder of Memorise Medicine
Three-Time Amazon Best-Selling Author:

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