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Following two months of intensive preparation, I’ve just returned from a two and a half week stay in Hong Kong, during which I wrote the Hong Kong Pharmacy and Poisons Board pharmacist registration exams.

I’ve been to Hong Kong about a dozen times. This trip was no vacation: my focus was on the three exams, three hours each, held on three separate days.

Foreign trained pharmacists must pass each of the three registration exams to successfully become a registered pharmacist in Hong Kong. If you fail an exam you only have to rewrite the failed test.

Here is my Hong Kong registration exam experience. To keep readers entertained I’ve included previous exam pass rates (see graphic as well) and my predicted result for each exam.

Exam #1: Pharmacy Legislation in Hong Kong, December 13, 2016

At 5:00 I was anxiously wide awake and lethargically rolled off my airbed. Then I quickly ate breakfast and got in some last minute review.

A friend of my father in-law picked me up at 8:00. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic and we arrived at the exam location an hour early. There were a few other candidates scattered about the waiting area. They sure looked as stressed as me!

The pharmacy legislation exam consisted of five primary questions, with multiple sub-questions. The first question had about twenty sub-questions focused on drug scheduling in Hong Kong. The remaining questions were essay type questions about the laws governing pharmacy, and drug manufacturing.

Time to complete: 1.5 hours
Predicted result: Pass
Previous passing rates: June 2016 44%; December 2015 45%

Exam #2: Pharmacy Practice, December 15, 2016

That morning I awoke feeling more relaxed than prior to the first exam.

Part 1 of the exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. These questions were similar to my previous pharmacy exams and helped build my confidence as I progressed through the section.

Part 2 consisted of essay questions. My responses came quickly for the essay questions except for the final question, regarding drug solubility. This question was a total fail and left me feeling crushed as a quietly left the exam room.

Time to complete: 2.5 hours
Predicted result: Pass-thanks in large part to the multiple choice section
Previous pass rates: June 2016 34%; December 2015 27%

Exam #3: Pharmacology, December 17, 2016

I incorrectly expected this exam to be the most straightforward thanks in part to my experience working as a clinical pharmacist in hospital practice.

The exam consisted of five questions, with sub-questions. Based on the past practice exams I reviewed, there was always a toxicology question. That was one area I had spent a lot of time prepping but it didn’t show up on this exam.

The majority of the questions related to very specialized topics, that I would not expect most pharmacists to be intimately familiar with. However, I applied my work experience and some recently acquired knowledge from conferences I’d attended in Alberta.

Time to complete: 2 hours
Predicted result: I wager that I scored just north of 50%, but I have no sense of what score is sufficient to pass the exam
Previous pass rates: June 2016 37%; December 2015 20%

These three tests were the most challenging and stressful exams I’ve ever written. The day after completing the third and final exam, I could sense the physical, emotional, and mental relief (at least until the test results are available).

Check-in with me at the end of February 2017 to see my results!