Pharmacy School HQ http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org Guarantee Your PharmD Sun, 11 Feb 2018 17:46:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 PCAT Biology Study Guide: 48 MUST-KNOW Questions http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/pcatbiologystudyguide/ http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/pcatbiologystudyguide/#respond Sun, 11 Feb 2018 17:46:49 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1408 The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner, Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests and an online PCAT class.    If you ask 10 pre-pharmacy students what their favorite subjects are, most of them will probably pick chemistry or biology. After all, pharmacy is right at the […]

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The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner, Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests and an online PCAT class

 

If you ask 10 pre-pharmacy students what their favorite subjects are, most of them will probably pick chemistry or biology. After all, pharmacy is right at the intersection between chemical compounds and how they affect the human body! But that doesn’t stop biology from being one of the tougher sections of the PCAT – mostly because it’s so broad. PCAT biology covers everything from molecules and cells all the way up to the 11 physiological systems of the human body. This article will break down what exactly you need to know with 48 essential, must-know questions you should make sure you can answer before Test Day!

The PCAT takes about 3.5 hours to complete, and on Test Day, the first thing you will do is write a 30-minute essay in response to a prompt. After your essay is out of the way, you will then move on to the 4 multiple-choice sections of the test: Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning. That means that Biological Processes is the first multiple-choice section you’ll encounter.

In this section, you’ll have 40 minutes to complete 48 questions. Most of these questions will be discrete, stand-alone questions, but there will also be about 5 passages each associated with 4 questions. Keep in mind that 8 questions in this section are experimental questions – in other words, 8 questions in this section will not be graded, but you will have no idea which ones! That means you should do your best on every single question but hope that the ones you missed are experimental items.

 

PCAT Section

Questions Time
Writing 1 prompt 30 min
Biological Processes 48 40 min
Chemical Processes 48 40 min
Rest Break – 15 min
Critical Reading 48 50 min
Quantitative Reasoning 48 45 min
TOTAL 192

205 min (+ rest)

 

Here’s the exact breakdown for PCAT Biology according to Pearson’s test blueprint and content areas guide. The Biological Processes section will contain:

  • 50% general biology (about 24 questions)
  • 20% microbiology (about 10 questions)
  • 30% human anatomy and physiology (about 14 questions)

Now we’re going break these down further one-by-one. Here are the 48 essential, must-know questions that you should make sure you can answer to rock PCAT Biology on Test Day:

 

General Biology – 24 Questions

 

Cellular and Molecular Biology

  1. What are the structures and functions of the following organelles: nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum (smooth and rough), Golgi apparatus, mitochondrion, lysosome, and peroxisome?
  2. What are the three major types of fibers that make up the cytoskeleton, and what are their functions?
  3. What are the similarities and differences between passive transport, diffusion, osmosis, facilitated diffusion, primary active transport, and secondary active transport?
  4. What are the differences between peptide and steroid hormones in terms of their structures, receptor locations, immediate effects on cells, and duration of their actions?
  5. Can you draw what happens during each of the stages of mitosis?
  6. Can you draw out the differences between what happens during mitosis and meiosis?
  7. What do the structures of DNA and RNA contain, and how do they differ?
  8. What are the functions of each of the molecular players involved in DNA replication: DNA polymerase, DNA primase, DNA ligase, RNA primer, helicase, topoisomerase, single-stranded binding proteins, leading strand, lagging strand, and Okazaki fragments?
  9. How is DNA transcribed into RNA, and what post-transcriptional modifications take place?
  10. What are the 3 steps of translation, and what post-translational modifications take place?
  11. What are the definitions of the following mutation types, and what are their consequences for proteins: point mutations, missense mutations, nonsense mutations, silent mutations, and frameshift mutations?
  12. What are the 4 levels of protein structure, and how do denaturants affect each level of protein structure?
  13. Can you draw the graph of a reaction over time without and without an enzyme present, and label the energy of the reactants, the energy of the products, the overall energy change, and the activation energy?
  14. How do competitive, noncompetitive, and uncompetitive inhibitors affect the Vmax and Km of an enzyme?
  15. What is the purpose of glycolysis, and what are the major reactants and products?
  16. What is the purpose of the Krebs cycle, and what are the major reactants and products?
  17. What is the purpose of the electron transport chain, and what are the major reactants and products?

 

Diversity of Life Forms

  1. What are the differences between alleles and genes, and phenotypes and genotypes?
  2. What are the outcomes of crossing RR × rr, Rr × Rr, and RrPp × RrPp via Punnett square analysis?
  3. How does each type of inheritance pattern appear on a pedigree: autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, sex-linked dominant, and sex-linked recessive?
  4. What are examples of the following types of natural selection and evolution: stabilizing selection, disruptive selection, directional selection, speciation, divergent evolution, convergent evolution, and adaptive radiation?

 

Health

  1. What forms of carbohydrates are present in the human diet, how are carbohydrates broken down and absorbed in the digestive tract, and how are they stored in the body?
  2. What forms of lipids are present in the human diet, how are lipids broken down and absorbed in the digestive tract, and how are they stored in the body?
  3. What forms of proteins are present in the human diet, how are proteins broken down and absorbed in the digestive tract, and how are they stored in the body?

 

Microbiology – 10 Questions

 

Microorganisms

  1. What are the major structural and functional differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes?
  2. How do each of the following terms describe the structure and life cycles of bacteria: nucleoid, pilus, cell wall, capsule, flagellum, coccus, bacillus, spirillum, peptidoglycan, and binary fission?
  3. How do bacteria exchange DNA via transformation, transduction, and conjugation?
  4. How do each of the following terms describe the structure and life cycles of viruses: viral capsid, bacteriophage, retrovirus, lytic cycle, and lysogenic cycle?
  5. How do each of the following terms describe the structure and life cycles of fungi: mycelium, hyphae, chitin, spores, yeast, lichen, asexual reproduction, and sexual reproduction?
  6. Can you draw the cell walls of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and describe how each appear with Gram staining?

 

Infectious Diseases and Prevention

  1. How are each of the following types of vaccines made, and which should not be given to immunocompromised patients: conjugate vaccines, inactivated vaccines, live attenuated vaccines, and toxoid vaccines?

 

Microbial Ecology

  1. Who benefits and who is harmed in the following types of symbiotic relationships: commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism?

 

Medical Microbiology

  1. What can healthcare professionals do to decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance?

 

Immunity

  1. Can you draw out the structure of an antibody and label the following: heavy chain, light chain, constant domain, variable domain, and antigen-binding sites?

 

Human Anatomy & Physiology – 14 Questions

 

Structures and Systems

  1. How do osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes each function to remodel bone, and how are their activities affected by the hormones calcitonin and parathyroid hormone?
  2. Can you draw out a neuromuscular junction and label all the steps between the action potential arriving at the neuromuscular junction and the contraction of the muscle cell?
  3. What are the similarities and differences between skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle?
  4. Can you draw out a sarcomere and identify the following parts, also indicating which shrink when a muscle cell contracts: actin, myosin, A band, H zone, I band, M line, and Z line?
  5. Can you map out a branching diagram that displays the following divisions of the nervous system: central, peripheral, sympathetic, parasympathetic, somatic, and autonomic?
  6. Can you draw out a diagram of a neuron’s membrane potential over the course of an action potential, identify which ion channels are open during each part of the action potential, and label where depolarization, repolarization, and hyperpolarization occur?
  7. Can you diagram the flow of blood through the following parts of the circulatory system: left ventricle, right ventricle, left atrium, right atrium, aorta, pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, superior/inferior vena cava, systemic circulation, and pulmonary circulation?
  8. What are the functions of each of the following blood cells and components of blood: plasma, erythrocytes, platelets, leukocytes, B cells, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, macrophages, monocytes, and mast cells?
  9. Which antigens are present on the red blood cells of individuals with the following blood types, and which antibodies might they produce against donor blood: type A+, type B–, type AB–, and type O+?
  10. Can you draw out a graph that shows respiratory volumes when a patient breathes normally, then inhales as much as possible, and then exhales as much as possible, and label the following: tidal volume, inspiratory reserve volume, expiratory reserve volume, residual volume, vital capacity, and total lung capacity?
  11. Can you draw the oxygen-binding curve for hemoglobin and describe how the curve shifts under the following conditions: high pH, high temperature, low 2,3-BPG, and fetal hemoglobin?
  12. Can you draw out the digestive tract and label each organ with its function?
  13. What hormones are produced by the following organs, and what are their basic functions: hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pancreas, parathyroid glands, thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, pineal gland, heart, and small intestine?
  14. Can you draw out the structure of a nephron and label the functions of each part of the nephron?

 

If you can answer every one of these questions, you’re bound to ace PCAT Biology! You might not have realized this, but answering these questions requires you to use active learning techniques, such as free recall of information or drawing out metabolic pathways from memory. If you weren’t quite sure of some of these answers, bookmark this article for later and check out some free PCAT resources or ask a PCAT expert at the next free PCAT webinar. Also, check out our other blog posts for more study guides and PCAT tips…and happy studying!

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How to Travel for an Interview http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/how-to-travel-for-an-interview/ http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/how-to-travel-for-an-interview/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:35:00 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1392 Woohoo! You got an interview! 🙂 But wait, this is your dream school 5 states away…what do you do?   I’ve personally had these exact thoughts when I got my interview for the school I’m now attending. I was in Kentucky at the time, and my school was in Pennsylvania.   In this article, I’m […]

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Woohoo! You got an interview! 🙂 But wait, this is your dream school 5 states away…what do you do?

 

I’ve personally had these exact thoughts when I got my interview for the school I’m now attending. I was in Kentucky at the time, and my school was in Pennsylvania.

 

In this article, I’m going to share with you the advice I was given when having to travel for an interview! (And some of my personal advice! 🙂

 

The Planning Stages:

Is it Possible to Drive?

 

First things first – map out a driving plan. Is it a reasonable drive? Are there toll roads? Is the city easy to navigate?

 

This step will take some research on your part, but it can also significantly save you the money spent on a plane ticket.

 

Two of my schools I was able to drive to, but the other two I did have to purchase a plane ticket for. Thankfully, for the two that I had to fly, I was able to take a shorter flight home and then drive the rest of the way, which brings me to my next point:

 

Can You Shorten the Flight?

 

Now, I don’t mean take a shorter flight to the middle of nowhere, but if you’re able to fly to where a family member/friend lives, maybe you can borrow a car and drive the rest of the way?

 

This, of course, will greatly depend on the costs of the flights, if you have friends/family near by, etc. Regardless, my point is to try and consider all of you options – be creative!

 

This includes bugging family members for their free travel points with certain airlines 🙂 You can also check out the sites below for cheaper flight options:

 

Is Carpooling an Option?

 

I remember when I was applying to pharmacy schools, my friends and I talked about it all the time! Did any of you apply to the same schools?

 

If so, what about carpooling?! It’d be a fun road trip, you could both get your interviews done, and you’ll have a friend to explore the city with – trust me, it makes it less scary! 🙂

 

If that’s not an option for you, what about a family member? Even if you have to stay in a hotel, most come with two beds anyhow, and again, you’ll have someone to explore the city with.

 

The Cost?!

 

Yeah, I know….it’s rough. I try and explain this in a way similar to PCAT prep materials.

 

You want to get into a good school, right? So you save up for months and purchase PCAT prep materials to help you succeed.

 

You take the PCAT and apply, and now you have an interview halfway across the country at your dream school. I was in a similar situation, and I even had to work around undergrad exam schedules (not fun!) but it’s doable!

 

I know it’s doable because I’ve done it 🙂 I honestly didn’t want to pay for the flights and put all this money on my credit card, but I chose to.

 

I chose to because it’s for my future success as a pharmacist. There are certain things that happen in one’s life where you need to make sacrifices in order to get to where you want to go.

 

This can be applied to virtually any career situation. If you’re running into problems with finances, please contact the school! They understand you are all students and may not have the money to spend. They gave you that interview because they want you there and want to make sure you’re a good fit.

 

They honestly may be able to help you in certain situations or give you helpful advice on the cheapest options 🙂 it truly never hurts to ask!

 

Before You Get There, Be Sure To…

 

  • Make reservations at a hotel that’s closer to the school rather than to the airport
    • The reason I suggest this, is just in case you’re running a little late the morning of your interview. (Trust me, it happens sometimes!) It’s better to plan in advance for this even if it doesn’t actually happen.
    • Be sure that Lyft or Uber services, or any kind of public transportation, is available between the airport and your hotel
    • If you’re driving, be sure to figure out your parking situation on campus
  • Verify that the hotel has room service, a restaurant attached to it, or is in a location where a lot of businesses deliver
    • Many of my interviews were scheduled for the entire day, meaning there was: a student panel to ask questions, an introduction, an overview of the school, a campus tour, the interview itself, etc.
    • When you get home that day, you may not have the energy to get out on the town and find a place for dinner (it’s happened to me more than once!) hence, why you want food to come to you 🙂
  • If you can, plan to arrive a day in advance or stay a day later (this works especially well if you have your interview on a Saturday!)
    • This will ensure you have time to explore 🙂 (see section below!)

 

When You Get There…

 

  • Plan out your interview day
    • I’m an organizer and need to know my schedule for the day → especially for something as important as getting into pharmacy school
    • Have you ever tried Google Calendar? You can plan out your day in time increments and even download the app to have your schedule on your phone! 🙂
    • I planned out my day well in advance, either before I left, or I would get to the city early and use that extra time to relax, plan my interview day, and calm my nerves
  • Leave early!!
    • This is so important → the morning/day of your interview, if there is one thing you take away from this blog post, remember to leave early!
    • It does not matter if you arrive an hour early for your interview. Take that time to walk around the building/campus, find where you need to report to, or even find some pharmacy students to ask some questions.
    • Always plan for the worst traffic imaginable. It’s better to do this than to arrive late to your most important interview!  

 

Explore! 🙂

 

This is one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give — explore! Now, this doesn’t mean go out for a night on the town, but literally walk around the campus and its surrounding community.

 

If you’re going to be spending the next 3 to 4 years on this campus, you should probably try and explore to make sure it’s the perfect fit for you! Plus, you may see other pharmacy students, and that’s always a chance to ask them questions 🙂

 

Now that you’ve heard some of my advice about traveling for interviews, I’d love to hear some of yours! Please comment below and share you thoughts/ideas/concerns and how you handled them 🙂

 

Please also join our PCAT Study Group on Facebook, here! We’d love to hear your advice there, too!

 

Kimberly A. Hill, Student Pharmacist Class of 2020

“I am a student pharmacist who is passionate for patient care, an advocate for interprofessional collaboration, an aspiring clinician, a promoter of the legislation to recognize pharmacists as providers, and I will faithfully and passionately serve my community and future generations of pharmacists in all ways possible.”

 

 

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What is Next Step Test Prep? Is it Worth it? http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/nextsteptestprepreview/ http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/nextsteptestprepreview/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 01:49:29 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1323 So….you’re applying to pharmacy school, realize you need to take the PCAT, don’t know how to study for it, and then you run across all of the online courses. Which do you choose? Do they work? Are they worth it?   To be completely honest with you, yes, I do think they are worth it! […]

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So….you’re applying to pharmacy school, realize you need to take the PCAT, don’t know how to study for it, and then you run across all of the online courses. Which do you choose? Do they work? Are they worth it?

 

To be completely honest with you, yes, I do think they are worth it! However…you will quickly realize how crazy expensive they are! How do you come up with the money? Do you work while you’re in school? Ask your parents? Put it on a credit card? Ask — is this really for me?

 

NSTP – say what??

 

This review is focusing on the Next Step Test Prep (NSTP) PCAT Online Course that costs $599. Now, before you scream about that price (trust me, I did), compare it to these:

  • As of January 21, 2018:
    • Next Step Test Prep – $599 (but this includes free webinars, customized study planner, lesson videos, and live office hours!!!) Don’t believe me, check out the pic below 😉
      • PCAT 5 exam bundle – $99 
        • Upgrade to the course for only $500!
    • Kaplan Self-Paced Review Course Online – $999
      • Live Online Course – $1499
      • Private Tutoring Course – $2799
    • Dr. Collins In-Person Class – $695
      • Self-Paced Study – $375

What do you get?

  • It was designed based upon the updates the PCAT went through in 2016 (and keeps getting continuously updated!)
  • FREE trial and FREE practice test – just click here
  • Essays are graded within 48 hours! Yes…..you receive feedback! 🙂
  • Mimics the actual exam
  • 6 months access to all of this material – woohoo!
  • One-on-one orientation when you begin – you gotta know what’s going on
  • Study plan generator that will help you fit the material into your time frame, whatever that may be
    • Day by day study plan
  • Full answers and explanations to questions
  • The only course built by 99th percentile instructors with 7+ years of teaching experience (who do full-time PCAT test prep!)
  • Extra guided practice in whichever area you need — yes, please!
  • Office Hours with the instructors who built the exam!! (See below 🙂

Live Access to Instructors!!

 

Yeah, you heard that right – live access to course instructors, all of whom scored in the 99th percentile.

These live office hours are led by Bryan or Sophia, two expert instructors, and not just junior TA’s.

You’ve probably seen Sophia post about these Q&A sessions in our PCAT Study Group! These sessions are even recorded. If you can’t make it, don’t worry – you can watch it later.

 

Any extras?!

You bet there are.  

  • Next Step Test Prep’s Online PCAT Course was developed by exceptional instructors, all of whom scored in the 99th percentile on the exam.
  • If you upgrade and get the one-on-one tutoring, the same instructors will set aside time to help you rock the PCAT!
  • There was a Beta course….??? Yeah, I didn’t know what that was before, either, but it was their trial period where they worked out all the kinks and bugs, continuously improved the program, and now it’s good to go!
  • PayPal Credit is accepted as payment

 

Is this for me?? Is it worth it?

 

Alright, so you see what the course has to offer, but is it right for you? To be 100% honest with you, I would not have been able to afford this in my pre-pharmacy years without putting it on my emergency credit card.

 

With that being said, maybe some of you are in that same boat. Others, however, may be able to add this cost into their student loans (planning in advance!) so they have the money for it. Some students may be fortunate enough to have their parents help out and purchase it for them.

 

It’s all about perspective and each student’s individual situation.

However,

I want to let you know that this course will 100% be worth it (and yes, I’m still speaking honestly!)

Let me put it in perspective:

  • You started pharmacy school knowing how expensive it is, right? You invested in yourself and in your future.
  • You invested the time to study on your own, so think about how much more beneficial it will be to learn from live instructors and/or videos. (Khan Academy on YouTube anyone?! haha)
  • There are sacrifices you will have to make while in pharmacy school. That might be a night’s sleep, a night out on the town, or even a 10 point assignment that you just couldn’t fit into your busy school/work schedule. So why not sacrifice a payment for something that will help to improve your PCAT score?
  • When you look at the big picture, $599 will be pocket change once you become a pharmacist.

 

Still not sure?? Free PCAT bundle!

Don’t worry if you’re still undecided! NSTP has some free options for you to check out to see if you even like learning this way. Check out the free PCAT bundle to start off! Get it here. It comes with:

Free Webinars!

Check out the free Webinars, too! Get them here.

 

So…

That was a ton of information! If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please please please reach out to me or join in our PCAT Study Group at this link! I’d love to help you make the right decision for you and your budget and to ultimately help you to invest in yourself! 🙂

 

Kimberly A. Hill, Student Pharmacist Class of 2020

“I am a student pharmacist who is passionate for patient care, an advocate for interprofessional collaboration, an aspiring clinician, a promoter of the legislation to recognize pharmacists as providers, and I will faithfully and passionately serve my community and future generations of pharmacists in all ways possible.”

 

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5 Do’s and Don’ts to Boost Your Confidence for Interviews http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/5-dos-donts-boost-confidence-interviews/ Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:59:55 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1318 The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests as well as a comprehensive PCAT class.  _________________________________________________________________________________________________ It feels really good to hit submit on your PharmCAS application and wait for interview invites to come rolling in. Maybe you’ve already received an interview invite…woohoo! […]

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The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests as well as a comprehensive PCAT class

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

It feels really good to hit submit on your PharmCAS application and wait for interview invites to come rolling in. Maybe you’ve already received an interview invite…woohoo! Interviews can be incredibly exciting, giving you an opportunity to walk the same halls you might walk as a future pharmacy student. If this is your first interview, however, you might be anxious about what to expect. Don’t fret: we’ve all been there before! Here are some Do’s and Don’ts that’ll help you wow admissions committees and boost your confidence during your interviews.

 

1. Do see it as an opportunity. The admissions team invited you to interview because they saw your potential and wanted to meet you in person, so clearly they want you there. The admissions committee already knows your grades and read your personal statement, so you have nothing to “prove” to them. Consider interviews an opportunity to show your true self and be an advocate for yourself – in other words, you are the “voice” of your application. Your interview is the icing on the cake of an already impressive application.

 

Don’t think you’re alone. It’s only natural to feel nervous for your interviews, but you can use that adrenaline to your advantage. During your interviews, imagine yourself as a successful pharmacist 10 or 20 years from now to help boost your confidence. Some find it helpful to remind themselves that their interviewer was in their own shoes when they were interviewing for pharmacy school. And remember: there are tons of people rooting for you and rallying behind you that want you to succeed!

 

2. Do prepare questions. There are two main reasons to ask questions during interviews: to get answers, and to show the admissions team that you want those answers. Expect to be asked if you have any questions towards the end of your interview, and have some questions ready! In fact, in some cases you might be able to weave in your own questions earlier during the interview to make the interview more conversational while showing your interest – and taking some pressure off yourself to answer their questions rapid-fire.

 

Don’t ask questions you don’t actually want to know. If you don’t actually want to know why their school mascot is a tornado, then don’t ask! Ask questions that you do care about: what kinds of things would impact your decision to attend that school? what do you want to know about their curriculum, or how their graduates fare? what information would you want to know about their city to feel at home there?

 

3. Do your research. Knowing why you want to go to that particular pharmacy school will not only demonstrate your genuine interest to your interviewers, but it should also excite you! Having an answer to why you want to attend their school will not only flatter your admissions committee (oh, you like our core values? oh, stop it, you’re making me blush!), but it should also make you feel confident that you chose the right place to spend the next 3-4 years.

 

Don’t force it. Any enthusiasm for a given pharmacy program should be genuine. If there are some aspects of a program that concern you or you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to voice those questions, and most importantly, you owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself throughout this process.

 

4. Do practice. One thing you absolutely should do before your interviews is practice! If this is your first interview, check out 175 Pharmacy School Interview Questions and make sure you’re able to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Most pre-pharm students are short on time, so you can even take this to read on the plane on your way to interviews! But one of the best ways to build your confidence is to stage a mock interview. See if your pre-health office on campus offers mock interviews, and if not, ask a friend to ask you a set of interview questions. To make this feel as real as possible, wear your interview clothes so you feel comfortable in them, and find a quiet room to stage this interview. The more authentic it feels, the better – lounging on the couch in PJ’s might not cut it!

 

Don’t sound rehearsed. Your interview should feel more like a conversation than rehearsing a script. Be yourself, and let your passion for pharmacy come across naturally. Instead of memorizing your “lines” word for word, focus more generally on the points you want to communicate or highlight during your interview. For example, when you’re asked why you want to become a pharmacist, don’t memorize exactly what you’re going to say; instead, tell them your story.

 

5. Do make the most out of your trip. You didn’t travel hundreds of miles for nothing! Divert any nervous energy toward thinking about what you’re looking forward to during your trip. Try to find opportunities to talk to current pharmacy students, explore the campus, or even see the town. In advance of your trip, make a list of goals you have for your interview experience. Some of those goals will be related to information you want to find out about that pharmacy program, but another goal might be to go on a morning run around their campus, or to ask pharmacy students their top 3 three favorite things about their city. While you’re there, make sure you’ve asked all the questions you need to make a decision about whether or not you see yourself happy as a pharmacy student there.

 

Don’t throw caution to the wind. Your #1 goal is to do your best in your interview, which means focusing on the interview part of your interviews. Try to be at least 15 minutes early to your interview, and make sure you’ve secured transportation back to the airport (or other mode of travel) in time. Be yourself, but avoid doing anything that could jeopardize your chances!

 

Remember – interviews are two-way streets. This is not only an opportunity for pharmacy programs to get to know the real you, but it’s also an opportunity for you to know the real them. You’ve already made it this far, and interviews are the very last step between you and your acceptance into pharmacy school. You deserve to be confident in yourself!

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Should You Apply to Out-of-State Pharmacy Schools? Yes – Here’s Why http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/apply-state-pharmacy-schools-yes-heres/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:55:13 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1263 The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests as well as a comprehensive PCAT class.  Finding the right match for pharmacy school at times can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. With 143 pharmacy programs in the US (and […]

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The following is a guest post from Sophia Stone at our partner Next Step Test Preparation. Next Step provides representative PCAT practice tests as well as a comprehensive PCAT class

Finding the right match for pharmacy school at times can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. With 143 pharmacy programs in the US (and counting) to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start.

One of the first things you might take into consideration is location. There are some misconceptions among pre-pharm students about how their state of residency affects their chances of admission and tuition rates, so if you’re confused about where to apply–or whether it’s even worth applying out-of-state—we’ve got you covered.

First of all, let’s address your chances of admission. Some public schools do have a preference for in-state applicants since public universities are funded in part by taxes from their state residents. However, in-state preference is only true of about 19 out of 66 public schools, or less than 1/3 of all public schools. For example, in the state of Florida, there were 3 pharmacy programs at private institutions and 3 programs at public institutions in 2016-17. Among these, only the University of Florida gave preference to in-state students, with seats for 250 Florida students and 20 out-of-state students. At some public institutions, however, chances of admission are still relatively good for out-of-state applicants. For example, Wayne State University in Michigan reserves 100 seats for Michigan students and 100 seats for out-of-state students.

In general, in-state tuition tends to be lower at public institutions than tuition at private institutions. Consider the University of Toledo in Ohio, a public university whose annual tuition was approximately $8,000 in-state and $17,000 out-of-state for first-year pharmacy students in 2016-17. Among private institutions in Ohio, in-state tuition ranged from $20,000 to $41,000 in-state and from $32,000 to $41,000 out-of-state for first-year students.

However, there may only be one or two pharmacy programs at public schools in your state. To increase your chances of admissions, you may want to apply to other schools, in which case the tuition rates will be similar regardless of whether you apply to out-of-state public schools, or to private schools either within your state or elsewhere. Some private institutions have lower tuition rates for in-state students, but the tuition gap is typically smaller, such as at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, where tuition was approximately $31,000 in-state and $34,000 out-of-state for first-year students in 2016-17.

 

Table 1. Number of pharmacy schools by state with the same tuition rates for in-state (IS) and out-of-state (OOS) students or with lower tuition for in-state students, and pharmacy programs that give preference to in-state applicants in 2016-17.

State Same IS v. OOS tuition? Lower IS tuition? Preference to in-state applicants?
AL 1 1
AZ 1 1
AR 1 1 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
CA 11 2
CO 1 1
CT 1 1
DC 1 0
FL 2 4 University of Florida
GA 3 1
HI 0 1
ID 0 1 Idaho State University
IL 3 3
IN 2 1
IA 1 1
KS 0 1
KY 1 1
LA 1 1 University of Louisiana at Monroe
ME 2 0
MD 1 2 University of Maryland Eastern Shore
MA 4 0
MI 0 3 Wayne State University
MN 0 1
MS 0 1 University of Mississippi
MO 1 1
MT 0 1
NE 1 1 University of Nebraska Medical Center
NV 1 0
NJ 1 1
NM 0 1
NY 5 1
NC 3 1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ND 0 1 North Dakota State University
OH 3 4 Northeast Ohio Medical University
OK 0 2 University of Oklahoma
OR 1 1 Oregon State University
PA 5 2
RI 0 1
SC 1 2 Medical University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina
SD 0 1
TN 5 1 University of Tennessee
TX 2 6 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
University of North Texas Health Science Center
UT 0 1
VA 3 1
WA 0 2
WV 1 2
WI 1 1
WY 0 2 University of Wyoming

 

Does this mean all hope is lost of having more than one choice for an affordable pharmacy education? Not at all: many schools will offer loans, scholarships, or in some circumstances even in-state tuition rates to out-of-state students. The best way to find out this information is to contact each program’s admissions office or speak with current pharmacy students.

Another financial factor to take into consideration is the cost of living over the 3-4 (or more!) years in the city where you will live during pharmacy school. According to Kiplinger, the major metropolitan areas with the highest costs of living in the United States include the San Francisco Bay area, the New York City metro area, Washington, DC, Boston, and Seattle,4 each of which contains at least one accredited pharmacy program.

Well, surely a pharmacy graduate in an expensive city would command a higher salary as a Pharm.D., right? This is not necessarily the case. Only pharmacists in the San Francisco Bay area would make about 17% more the national average salary for a pharmacist, even with a cost of living almost double the national average. In other areas with a high cost of living, pharmacist salaries are on par or even just below the national average.

 

Table 2. Pharmacy schools, cost of living, and mean pharmacist salary in high cost-of-living metropolitan areas in 2016-17. Cost of living indexes are relative to New York, NY (100.00).

Metropolitan Area Pharmacy Schools Cost of Living Index Mean Salary
San Francisco, CA University California-San Francisco

Touro University-CA

111.92 $140,710
New York, NY St. John’s
Touro University-NYLong Island University
100.00 $114,560
Washington, DC Howard University 88.32 $119,000
Boston, MA MCPHS University

Northeastern University

83.70 $113,070
Seattle, WA University of Washington 78.67 $124,650
United States 58.92 $120,270

 

That said, all this accounting ignores some of the less tangible factors that will affect your happiness (and financial health) as a pharmacy student and beyond. As a pharmacy student, few luxuries can compete with living just a short drive away from your family for long weekends of home-cooked meals and family movie night. You may know where you would like to practice and will decide to target your search to that region. Some pharmacy schools may offer special programs that are especially interesting to you, or that might even reduce the overall cost of tuition. However, preparing in advance can help you plan your budget and apply to pharmacy programs that are not just the perfect fit – but also make financial sense and allow you to maintain the quality of life you’re looking for.

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It’s Winter Break!! What Should I Do? http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/its-winter-break-what-should-i-do/ Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:08:50 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1255 When you finally take your last final, all the stress seems to disappear, you finally feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders…yep, it’s winter break! So, now what?   Well, it’s important to give yourself an actual “break,” but there are a few odds and ends that you can actually take care of and […]

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When you finally take your last final, all the stress seems to disappear, you finally feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders…yep, it’s winter break! So, now what?

 

Well, it’s important to give yourself an actual “break,” but there are a few odds and ends that you can actually take care of and casually work on.

 

One of the weirdest feelings I get over winter break is boredom – I literally feel bored. It’s as if I know I should be working on something but I don’t know what it is. I’m used to being so crazily busy with school that it’s weird to not have anything to do.

 

If you’re a busy-body like me, you know that feeling is something I try to avoid! That being said, here’s a list of some things you can work on over break if you so choose 🙂

 

Resume / CV

One of the ways I like to pass time if I’m ever bored is to work on my resume/CV (curriculum vitae). I’m currently at the point where I am transferring to a CV rather than using a 1-page resume.

 

Once you get so far into pharmacy school and your career, everything doesn’t fit into that 1-page resume → therefore, CV here I come!

 

A piece of advice for the CV → start recording everything you do school or career related. If you’re already volunteering in a pharmacy/hospital/wherever, record it and the events that you do. It doesn’t matter how long your CV is! The more the better.

 

FYI, some of my professors have CVs that are about 70 pages long…

 

Taking the PCAT again?

If you’re going to be taking the PCAT again in the beginning of next year, be sure to continue studying! I sometimes feel as if not studying over break is everyone’s goal, but doing that always kind of hurt me. I easily forget stuff if I don’t keep practicing, as I’m sure many of you do, too.

 

The PCAT info is definitely not something you want to forget about! Being home for the holidays always made it super hard for me to try and work on school stuff, but it is possible.

 

Some of the tips I have: try and go to the library (I somehow always get more work done there…), find a coffee shop (I like the mom and pop ones rather than a Starbucks!), or just simply get out of your house somehow.

 

Try going to a friends and study together if you both have stuff to do. They don’t even have to go to your same school! Either way, don’t completely skip out on this precious study time – January will come fast! Get a crash course or free practice test at these links 🙂

 

FAFSA

The dreaded FAFSA (at least for me, anyhow). I hate thinking about student debt, but it has to be done! All my advisors have always said to do it as soon as possible, so I made it a task for myself over winter break every year.

 

I’ll sit down one day for a couple of hours and just knock it all out. Since I’ve been in school so long it’s getting easier each year, but it took some time for me to get used to. Doing it over winter break also means I’m home with my mom incase I have any questions!

 

Parking Passes

Do you know how many times I’ve shown up for class in the spring semester only to realize my parking pass expired on December 31st? It sucks paying for parking that day…

 

While I get a parking pass every semester because I’m a commuter student, I always seem to forgot to actually go and pick it up! So I make this a task for myself over winter break.

 

I especially hate running around when I get back to campus, so doing this makes the end of winter break a bit easier (and the start of classes a bit smoother…)

 

Dentist appointment?

Yep, you read that right. This is one of the things that I always put off or forget about. The way my insurance works (and a lot of them) is that I get a cleaning every 6 months. Okay, awesome.

 

Most of those months I’m away at school and my dentist is back home…so I plan out the appointments for over break!

 

It may not always be exactly 6 months, but that will at least get me home over winter break and then sometime over the summer.

 

(At my pharmacy school we actually share a building with the dental students, so maybe this is why teeth cleanings always stand out to me!)

 

“You” Time!

One of the most important things you can do for yourself throughout pharmacy school is to take care of your mental health. Pharmacy is draining in every way imaginable, (but it’s oh so worth it)!

 

Over break, make sure you leave time to enjoy life, whether that be: watching your favorite movie, going to your favorite mall with friends, reading your favorite book, etc. Whatever it is, be sure to do it!

 

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I hope my winter break “checklist” (in a way) has helped you find some things to do over winter break! Being bored never really works out for me, and I know I can’t be the only one.

 

Kimberly A. Hill, Student Pharmacist Class of 2020

“I am a student pharmacist who is passionate for patient care, an advocate for interprofessional collaboration, an aspiring clinician, a promoter of the legislation to recognize pharmacists as providers, and I will faithfully and passionately serve my community and future generations of pharmacists in all ways possible.”

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Ingredients for a Perfect Personal Statement http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/ingredients-perfect-personal-statement/ Tue, 28 Nov 2017 05:15:19 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1248 Writing always seemed to be the one thing I have excelled at through college, which many of you already know. I absolutely love helping each and every one of you in the PCAT Study Group with your essays! Over time, I have received a few common questions/concerns that I’d like to take the time to address. […]

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Writing always seemed to be the one thing I have excelled at through college, which many of you already know. I absolutely love helping each and every one of you in the PCAT Study Group with your essays!

Over time, I have received a few common questions/concerns that I’d like to take the time to address. All of which I guarantee will help you to write the perfect personal statement!

Start off with a bang!

First things first, you must start off your intro with a bang. It has to be something catchy – you want to capture the reader’s attention and reel them in.

I always like to think of some sort of “story” that I can tell. Open with the beginning of said story, flow into the essay, and then close with the conclusion relating back to the story.

Try and think of something that reflects who you are as a person. Some event that changed you or helped you become the student you are today. This doesn’t have to be school related! 🙂

If you have some sort of extenuating circumstance (why you failed a class, a childhood tragedy, why you retook a class, why your GPA is low, etc.), I suggest trying to work this into the story you will tell. You’ll make the essay personable but also easy to read (and you’ll also be addressing something important).

The body of the paper…

There’s no exact order of what you need to talk about, so you can really change up the essay to fit your needs. Make sure each paragraph flows from one thing to the next – avoid starting paragraphs with, “Then…” or “Also…” You only have so many characters so make sure you are clear and concise. Shorten sentences whenever you can! Be sure to include the following topics:

  • Why you chose pharmacy – give personal examples specific to you
  • Short term goals – in school, work, education, extracurriculars, etc.
  • Long term career goals – what you plan to do in pharmacy school, after you graduate, etc.

You don’t have to talk about all of the details in each of those points, but apply them as needed to your essay so that you can personalize it.

Review it 🙂

Lastly, please please please make sure you review your paper! Take a couple days to do this – don’t rush it. If you can, have a friend, family member, professor, etc. review it.

How you think you are saying something may not actually come across the way you want it to. That’s why it’s great to obtain others’ feedback.

I know many of you have asked me to help review your essays – and I absolutely love to! But I also see posts asking other students in the group to edit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I would like to point out a few things:

The pre-pharmacy students in the group are in the same boat as you. Unless you know someone very well, you may want to reconsider having them review it (plagiarism – sad, but it does happen).

Instead, try to reach out to students already in pharmacy school or your school’s writing center if it has one!

In conclusion…

My biggest piece of advice to you is this: write how you feel most comfortable. If you are a planner and you need to take a couple of weeks to perfect a paper, then do it! If that’s how you perform best in your college classes, don’t treat the PCAT essay any differently. In fact, it’s probably more important (shhh!).

If you are someone who writes best when you procrastinate…..(this is actually me)…..it’s okay. Go ahead and procrastinate, but only to a certain extent. Don’t be pushing yourself until the very last minute to get the essay done.

You need to make sure you have time to review it, so only procrastinate the writing process. Do not procrastinate the review process 🙂

Now that you have the key ingredients for writing the perfect personal essay, you’re set to go! So what are you waiting for? 🙂 Get writing!

 

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I got a pharmacy school interview…..now what? http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/got-pharmacy-school-interview-now/ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 16:26:47 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1246 So….you got an interview! Now what? Are you stuck with what to do next?   Well, don’t worry because we’re going to help you with that. You’ll become more confident in no time if you follow these 4 simple steps to prepare for interview day!   1st Step: Research the School Now I know this […]

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So….you got an interview!

Now what?

Are you stuck with what to do next?

 

Well, don’t worry because we’re going to help you with that. You’ll become more confident in no time if you follow these 4 simple steps to prepare for interview day!

 

1st Step: Research the School

Now I know this may seem self-explanatory, and it’s most likely a step you’ve already completed, but this time around, I want you to research the professors.

 

There’s a good chance you will come across your interviewer during your search. If you know a little more about them, think of how impressed he/she will be if you are able to ask a question about his/her specific research or student organization!

 

It’s important for you to know what’s going on in the schools because this should influence your ranking decisions.

 

Doing this will also supply you with a slew of questions to ask – never say that you don’t have any questions for the interviewers! Knowing what’s going on in the school will be helpful in figuring out questions you want to ask!

2nd Step: Practice Interview Questions

Do you know what kinds of questions you will be asked? No? Well, just Google it!

 

There are TONS of sample interview questions out there, and you can even find some specific to pharmacy. Go over as many as you can and answer them in your head, or even out loud to an empty room.

 

Practice what you will say if you are asked a similar question. You don’t want to be sitting in the interview while you search your nervous mind for an answer!

 

I won’t lie…..your first interview will probably not be your most successful (unless you’re really awesome at being social and talking about your accomplishments and experiences!), but the best thing about it is that you will improve.

 

More interviews = more experience = professional interaction improvement. Being in my second year of graduate school, I can assure you that your interactions with patients and other health professionals will only improve over time as you gain more experience in a professional setting. It sucks waiting, but it really is worth it once you look back at how far you’ve come!

 

Check out our Interview Mastery course on the website for some more tips and tricks to rock your interview.

 

3rd Step: Be Physically Prepared

Dress the part. Do your clothes need to be top of the line, brand name? No – these schools know you are students! Just be sure to use an iron (yes, an iron!) and look sharp and presentable.

 

Tip for the ladies: get dress slacks. If you didn’t apply early decision, you will most likely be going on interviews in the winter when it’s cold out! (Depending on your geographical location, of course). If you have cold weather, you will want to wear slacks and not a skirt or dress. Just trust me on this one, ladies!

 

Now… in addition…….you want to make sure you are mentally and physically prepared.

 

Do you get nervous in high stress situations?

Get headaches easily?

Feel like you’re going to pass out?

 

Well, be prepared for these things to happen! Carry some Ibuprofen with you, maybe a candy bar if your sugar gets low, and always have a water bottle (yes, you can have it with you. Trust me, you’ll be talking a lot!).

 

You will be at the school for a few hours, so it’s best to be prepared rather than wishing you never got that pounding headache right before your interview because of how stressed you were…

 

4th Step: Inhale, Exhale

Relax!! Try and think of your interview as a conversation rather than an interview.

 

You want to be able to converse with other health professionals about pharmacy, your goals in life, your qualifications that you have so far, and how you want to provide care to the surrounding community (or things you’ve already done if you’ve had experience with this).

 

What do all of these talking points have in common? YOU. It’s you that the college wants to learn about. Yes, you will be asked about certain situations, how you’ve handled them, or how you would handle them if you were never put in that situation before. Again, it’s about YOU.

 

This is your chance to show the college (in person) why pharmacy is your passion. I completely understand if you hate talking about yourself (I do, too!).

 

Think of the interviewers as your peers (no, not like the ones you hang out with on the weekends!) — they are the peers you will interact professionally with while in pharmacy school (like in group projects)

 

Why?? Well, guess what?

 

When you graduate, these health professionals that are interviewing you will be your peers! Pretty cool when you think about it, right?

 

I know, I know, this last step takes some mental strength in order to change the way you’re thinking about the whole interview process, but I can assure you that once this was previously explained to me, my nerves lightened up massively. It was 100% worth pondering over!

 

Well, that was #4 – we’re done! At this point, guess what the only thing left for you to do is?? …..rock your interview!! ….And I know you will 🙂

 

Kimberly A. Hill, Student Pharmacist Class of 2020

“I am a student pharmacist who is passionate for patient care, an advocate for interprofessional collaboration, an aspiring clinician, a promoter of the legislation to recognize pharmacists as providers, and I will faithfully and passionately serve my community and future generations of pharmacists in all ways possible.”

 

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How to be a US Pharmacist in 3 *Easy* Steps http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/how-to-be-a-us-pharmacist-in-3-easy-steps/ Sat, 10 Jun 2017 23:24:01 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1232 Redda Talhouni is a pharmD graduate from the University of Jordan, making her way through the pharmaceutical world one jargon at a time. When not, she is sharing her muses on thelastsixyears.wordpress.com So you decided to get your US pharmacy license after you graduated from a foreign school, huh? GOOD NEWS: it’s not an impossible […]

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Redda Talhouni is a pharmD graduate from the University of Jordan, making her way through the pharmaceutical world one jargon at a time. When not, she is sharing her muses on thelastsixyears.wordpress.com


So you decided to get your US pharmacy license after you graduated from a foreign school, huh?

GOOD NEWS: it’s not an impossible task!  

GREAT NEWS: continue reading for a step by step plan of how to do so!  

The only bad news: Say goodbye to your region’s cuisine because this process will take a year or two to complete. I don’t know about you but bidding farewell to Arabic hummus was one of my most difficult accomplishments.

I’m Redda, a recent pharmD graduate from the University of Jordan; currently in the process of getting the US pharmaceutical licensure in the state of Virginia.  At the moment, I am an intern at a retail pharmacy and have yet to take the NAPLEX but these are the steps I’ve taken so far, and will work on through.  

Obtaining your license requires completing 3 main steps.

The order of these steps depends on the state you’re in, so always make sure to check your state’s board of pharmacy website.

Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Evaluation Committee Certification (FPGEC):

When you ask fellow foreign licensure hunters, this certification is always hyped up to be the defining step. You’re left thinking, if I pass this, it will all be easy sailing from here. And while that is true to an extent, it is not the hardest step.  That being said, it is the most tedious, time consuming and expensive step (around $2000) you’ll take.  

To get your FPGEC Certification, you need to

  1. Qualify for the FPGEC Certification: Applying for qualification requires a lot of papers to be submitted, applications to fill out and registration fees to be paid. And, for the most part, all of the paperwork is done via snail mail.  One would assume this step would have been more developed in the 21st century, America?!  To make matters worse, once you submit your application, waiting for a response on qualification has no time range.
    Applications are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. In the meantime, you better open those pharmacy books, because now you have to…
  2. Pass the Foreign Pharmacist Graduate Evaluation Exam(FPGEE) and Test Of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) exams: Studying for these can be quite overwhelming.  Luckily, if you head over to Facebook, there are plenty of FPGEE and Toefl iBt support groups that can help you out in every way imaginable.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that, once your qualification papers come through, you will have to reserve a seat at the nearest testing center and, depending on how early/late you sent your registration code, you may have to go out of state for the day.  

To reiterate: Getting the FPGEC Certification is a long process.  Even waiting on the results is approximately another 2 months.  My last piece of advice when it comes to dealing with the FPGEC Certification process is to have patience and be flexible. Once you’re done, it’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

Internship

Personally, this is the hardest step and, quite frankly, another long process.   After your FPGEC Certification is mailed to you, you have to register with your state’s board as a “pharmacy intern”, pay the according fee and then complete a good chunk of hours of pharmaceutical internship. The VA Board requires 1500hrs which, if calculated for 40hrs/week, is exactly 37.5 weeks i.e around 10 months of training.

Anyone who has ever been a student knows how difficult it is to find an internship, let alone a paid one.  In addition, various states don’t even count your hours working as a technician.  

Here are a few pointers I’ve learned that will help you get an internship:

  1. Don’t quit your day job: Just because you have the FPGEC Certification doesn’t mean retail pharmacies are waiting with arms wide open In fact, a lot of them will offer you an unpaid internship. If you run out of options, you can always try and work some internship hours after your day job. Yes, this will take longer to complete, but it’s a step in the right direction.
  2. Work as a technician: Yes, it won’t count as part of your internship, but getting into the healthcare system is a very important step. If you start as a technician, your supervisor may promote you to intern once your certification comes through.  Keep in mind that most states require you to take a technician test to qualify for the position.
  3. Apply, apply, apply and call, call, call: Start by applying online to every opening possible, but don’t forget to follow through with a phone call or even an in-person visit. In pharmacies, things are always changing. A lot of the times, you’ll find a spot has opened up just as you called, or the pharmacists in charge can give you valuable pointers and tips on who to call next.  When you apply, make sure to talk to privately-owned pharmacies first. Chances of them hiring a foreign graduate are higher than chain pharmacies.

This step isn’t based on how well you memorize and recall information. Don’t be hard on yourself if it takes a good while to work out your hours, you’ll get there eventually. And when you do so, it’s time to start planning ahead, for the next and final step is a major key.

NAPLEX/MPJE:

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) are required from foreign and US pharmacy graduates by the boards of pharmacy to assess your pharmaceutical practice competence.  The first reviews your pharmaceutical knowledge with scenario based questions, while the latter tests you on pharmacy law with “questions that are specific to the federal law and state laws of the jurisdictions in which candidates are seeking licensure”.

The NAPLEX/MPJE exams have a similar registration and preparation process to the FPGEE, albeit somewhat simpler and cheaper (around $900).  I haven’t reached this stage yet, so all I know of it is what I’ve read and asked about i.e they’re pharmacy exams.  You’ve come a long way in your pharmaceutical career to be put off by the final two steps, especially when the last step is not a new concept it’s basically studying and answering questions, with almost a year of preparation.

The way I plan on tackling these exams is to find the best source material: ask online groups for tips, and plan a study guide around my day-to-day routine.  Don’t start preparing the minute you find an internship; take a month or two to establish a proper routine and then go at it. Study at your own leisure, only two more exams left and you’ll be a licensed pharmacist!

One issue you may be wondering about is the conditions of getting a work visa and, unfortunately, I won’t be able to help with that but I will repeat my earlier tip:

  • Look for the online support groups. There are plenty, and they answer many of your inquiries!

However, if you want official information, then I would recommend this website, and this.

Overall, on the lucky chance that you manage to work through these steps efficiently with no hitch in your plan, it will probably take a year or two to complete. If takes longer, welcome the delays. Remember to enjoy the unplanned moments in life and move towards your goal with determination and malleability.    

           ******************************

DISCLAIMER: This is based on my own experiences in the state of Virginia.  What I deem difficult/easy might not be the same to you.  Although the essential information of each step is the same for us all, hopefully your journey will pass easier than mine.

 

 

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Endless Opportunities at Pharmacy Conferences http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/endless-opportunities-pharmacy-conferences/ Wed, 17 May 2017 19:40:19 +0000 http://www.pharmacyschoolhq.org/?p=1229 This is a guest post from Kimberly Hill, PharmD Candidate. She shares why every student should go to a pharmacy conference (even if you have an exam!). Enjoy! This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to become the next APhA-Asp Patient Care Vice President at Pitt. What does that even mean?! I interviewed and […]

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This is a guest post from Kimberly Hill, PharmD Candidate. She shares why every student should go to a pharmacy conference (even if you have an exam!). Enjoy!


This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to become the next APhA-Asp Patient Care Vice President at Pitt. What does that even mean?! I interviewed and was chosen for this position from Pitt’s APhA-Asp Electoral Board (E-board). I had absolutely no idea what I had gotten myself into. All I know is that I was thrown into spending $1000 with a few clicks of a button on plane tickets and hotel reservations. What for? The APhA 2017 Annual Conference. Why the $1000? Well, because it was in San Francisco, California. To a person who has never been out west, I had no idea what to expect – especially the prices of everything. THANKFULLY, with this position at my wonderful school, I will be refunded most of what I spent. My duty is to attend the Annual Conference in order to learn, bring back my new knowledge, and better Pitt’s APhA-Asp chapter. I had a reason to be going. I found a new passion within pharmacy for myself, and I now want to run for regional and national positions within APhA-Asp. I NEVER knew I would get this much out of just one conference…

The following is a small excerpt from my reflection at the Annual Conference:

During the Annual Conference, I was required to participate in events for leadership training and the different project organizations that are a part of APhA-Asp. During the Patient Care Vice-President Workshop, I learned that collaboration and communication are extremely important characteristics of this leader, whom I will eventually become. Having these connections to the rest of the E-Board and the healthcare community will ensure that our Patient Care projects are successful.

I have also learned the steps involved in planning and implementing these projects: initiation, planning, communication, evaluations, reporting, and building relationships. Each separate step fits perfectly into the whole process. The first three steps of initiation, planning, and communication are self-explanatory in the sense that every project should involve these steps at the very beginning. In addition, I have learned that it is also important to evaluate each project and how it went: was it cost effective, was it well attended, and most important, what is the opinion of the patients and community members who attended the event. I have learned that my position is not just to watch over the project and organization leaders, but I also need to interact with the patients and community members to determine what they really need and want. Their feedback is the most important! This should have been obvious to me, but I am thankful that it was stressed as much as it was during this presentation. There was also advice given on reporting and building relationships not just with patients, but also health care communities around Allegheny County. It is important for these relationships to continuously be improved and upheld in order to have the greatest success of our projects.

I believe the most important thing I have learned at this Annual Conference is that you should never peak. Once you reach your current goal, and you will, you need to immediately set another one. It does not matter what your current goal was, there will always be room for improvement and to reach even further. Our careers are ever evolving, which leaves so much room for us to innovate and change health care for the better. The one thing I will always remember is that this will never end. Being a leader is not just about improving ourselves, but it also includes improving and mentoring our successors. In order to ensure the wonderful, innovating, and patient-centered future of pharmacy, we must encourage our successors to go above and beyond.

…crazy right?! I got all that and even more from my time in California. Who knew that an opportunity like this would be given to me? Who knew that I would want to run for a national position? Who knew that I would become this passionate about pharmacy at a national level? I sure didn’t. This opportunity would have never arisen if I didn’t make the decision to become a member of APhA-Asp. This opportunity would have never arisen if I didn’t become involved in Pitt’s chapter. This opportunity would have never arisen if I didn’t attend the meetings where I learned about the leadership positions.

My advice to you? GET INVOVLED! Doesn’t matter what it is or if you’re even interested in it – do it ASAP! As soon as you step foot in your new “pharmacy home” for the next 3 to 4 years. Want to know why it doesn’t matter if you’re not interested? ….do you think I was interested in leadership on a national level my first day of pharmacy school? NOPE! Didn’t even cross my mind. I took the leap, and you should, too. Will it matter if I actually make it to be elected for a national leadership position? Not to me! Will I try my absolutely hardest? Of course! But I always try to remember – in pharmacy school, it’s not all about the grades, the internship, the rotations, etc. It’s about what you learn along the way.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read. I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you within APhA-Asp very soon! Or even at my school of pharmacy 🙂

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