I sit in for the TOEFL iBT last May 30, 2008 in Ontario, CA. This is my first attempt for the test and I was very anxious since the requirement for the National Pharmacy Board is too high in some areas for instance in a scale of 30 we need 26 for the speaking which is around 89%. This has been the waterloo of most pharmacist intern. Thankfully, I was able to meet all the requirements and I will be able to start to work as an intern already. There are several materials that I used for this exam. I wouldn’t personally recommend it for everybody because that is just how I react when I am stressed. Books are my security blanket. To mention some of what I have are Barrons 12 ed. TOEFL iBT this is helpful as a practice test, Princeton’s TOEFL iBT is more of techniques which I will highly recommend, another is the ets official guide since it is from the test takers themselves this is good view of what is to be expected for the test, and Longmans speaking guide focused more on the speaking section. Although I have this books, I never had a chance to read everything. Well not because of time constraints, it was more of I am lazy to do so. I had two months to prepare for the test but in most days I would only put 2-4 hours a day, I think 3 weeks of 8 hours study would be enough to prepare for this test. The reason why I had two months is because that was the only date available in our location. There are a lot of people taking the test so depending on the area one should schedule the test months ahead. Also, I studied how to type faster since in our country in the Philippines we didn’t have this subject to improve our skill. It is important to learn this since for the writing section the time is limited, it is already hard enough to compose an essay that is why it would be an advantage to learn how to type faster. I underestimated the reading section, that is why after my exam that is the area that I was worried the most. During the practice test, I would often get a high score and I would even have spare time after each passage. This was totally different during the actual test. In the reading section, since this was the first area of test there were a lot of distraction since some of the test takers are just being seated and they are making noise as they test their microphone. This should be taken into consideration since I would often practice in a quiet environment. Listening part is the easiest and the dreaded Speaking part is easy if you did practice a lot by recording your answer so you can keep playing it back and improving your response. For all those taking this test, just practice a lot and put a lot prayers cause that always makes a difference and it has always been the key for me.
Hey Everyone! I have shared my story when I passed the test back in Jan this yr.
I noticed that in most forums they really discouraged forming a group base on race, as reasonable as it is, sometimes we would still want to talk specifically to somebody who we can relate to. I am dedicating this page for those who will be taking their Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam who are Filipino and who would want to share their experience or perhaps for those who may have some inquiries. Feel free to help anybody or blog about your experience. My goal here is not to discriminate rather than to support those who are having difficulty getting information. Hopefully I can help in my own little way as well as those who will be blogging and visiting this site.
I have shared my experience to this site since I myself took the FPGEE too last Dec 2007. We have a group in LA (all Filipino) that help each other to make the review easier. Its not a formal review with a guideline of what to discuss per week but nevertheless it has been most helpful. There are some who made a comment already after I posted my experience back in January, but really the reason why I had that post is chiefly to share how I am feeling at that time I got the result. But now, I am opening this to help our kababayans who will be on the same process. I am studying now for my TOEFL, hopefully everything will turn out good so I can start my internship already here in CA.
Some Books I suggest you read before taking the test: 1. Comprehensive Pharmacy Review by Leon Shargel- this is a great book but I think it is not enough to use alone for the FPGEE, as the title says this is a review so there may be some topic in which you have to browse to the basics again. But if everything is still fresh on your mind then it would be easier to study this. In my case, I graduated 10 years ago so, there are things that I forgot already that didn’t stop me from my goal of being a pharmacist. So I supplemented other materials for the test. 2. Manan Shroff- I bought the whole set 5 books and cds. I will say that it is a good supplement but start with other material first since there is quite a number of errors in this book. Thus, if you have prepared well already you will be familiar with those irregularities. Generally, there is still a lot you can learn from this book. I know somebody who passed the test, she took a risk and just used this material. The main purpose of her taking the test is just to familiarize herself. Risky but she made it. I wouldn’t suggest it though. It is still better to be prepared in a battle. The Pharmacy Management and Pharmacoeconomics are really important as well for the afternoon part of the test. 3. Dr Dutta Pharmacy review I have never used this, but I have heard good reviews about this because it follows the FPGEE blueprint. So if anybody has used this please share what you think of the book.
I am a person who use book as my security blanket, thats why if I feel what I know is not sufficient enough I borrow books from the library. 10 years of not dealing with the basic pharmacy subjects is a long time, although I am a doctor our study is more on diagnosis and management, in contrast to making a drug work to be used for the diagnosis and treatment. I borrowed several books from the library like Easy Way books of different subject matters, Organic Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, and I also got an Immunology book. I bought a separate book for General Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Calculations. I am not saying this step is the right step to partake to be successful in the exam since everyone of us has a different study pattern and habits. I just want everyone to know that even if I am a doctor I still went through the same process as most of the test taker has gone through, back from scratch since I was not expose to the work field of a pharmacist. More or less if you are able to answer the 1000 question and answer from Manan Shroff(80%), it gives you an idea on how far you have gone to your study. Just don’t take the basic subjects for granted cause even if it doesn’t have the same bearing as the major subject has like those of the Phar Cal or Phar Chemistry, everything counts since we don’t know which questions are just being used for evaluation for the next exam.
Good Luck to Everyone who is Taking the test this June 28th!