Exam Day: What to Expect

Admission Documents

The candidate must present a valid government-issued photo identification with signature along with a printout of his/her testing appointment confirmation email. Candidates will be required to sign in and will be instructed where to store personal items and where to keep identification. The candidate’s identity will be verified every time he/she enters or leaves the testing room.

Candidates will not be permitted to enter the exam room unless proper identification as described above is presented. The candidate’s name as it appears on the confirmation email must match the candidate’s name as it appears on government issued photo identification.

Examination Formatpic_07

There are 175 questions on each BPS specialty certification examination. The multiple-choice format is used exclusively. Four possible answers are provided for each question, with only ONE designated as the correct or best choice. Each question is carefully written, referenced, and validated to determine its accuracy and applicability. New regulations, drugs, and therapies are incorporated annually into the examinations. All BPS specialty certification examinations reflect current, best practices, at the time they are constructed – practice guidelines used for the Spring examination are those that are current as of January 1 of the testing year and practice guidelines for the Fall examination are those that are current as of July 1 of the testing year. Official United States Adopted Name (USAN) generic names are used on all BPS examinations for all drug products, when possible.

The examination will be administered via computer-based format with the exception of those candidates testing in Egypt and Saudi Arabia where a paper-based examination will be offered.

To view a tutorial on testing process and take sample tests that demonstrate the Castle computer-based testing environment click on the following link:


To take a BPS practice test you can go to the following link:


Please note that the practice test provides sample questions for each specialty and is not designed to duplicate the computer-based testing environment.

Administration of the Examination

For initial certification candidates the schedule remains unchanged from previous years and is as follows:

Examination Part 1 (100 multiple-choice items): 2 hour, 30 minute testing period in the morning
Optional break: up to 45 minutes
Examination Part 2 (75 multiple-choice items): 1 hour, 52.5 minute testing period in the afternoon

The recertification examinations are 100 questions in length administered over a 2 hour, 30 minute testing period.

Once the candidate has been checked-in, he/she will be escorted by testing staff to a workstation. The candidate must remain at the workstation unless authorized to leave by test site staff. Candidates may not leave the room without test site staff permission. If the candidate leaves the testing room without permission prior to completing his/her examination, he/she will forfeit the testing appointment and there will be no refund of testing fees.

Test site staff will provide the candidate with an erasable note board and pen, which may be replaced as needed during the test. The candidate may not remove the note boards or pens, and candidates are not allowed to use their own scratch paper or writing tools.

Use of Calculators

Candidates taking the computer-based examination will be provided with a calculator available on their computer screen for use during the examination. Outside calculators are not permitted.***pic_06

In order for candidates to become familiar with the look and feel of the online scientific calculator that will be used during the pharmacy specialty examinations, BPS has prepared 4 short sample questions that you can access through the link below. Before you begin, we recommend using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to view the sample test. If you are using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox on Windows 8, then you must first switch to desktop mode.


These questions are not necessarily specialty specific and are only meant to provide an opportunity to use the online calculator. You can also use the calculator to work through other calculation problems on your own.

Please note: You will not receive a score on the sample test. The purpose of this sample test is to demonstrate the online examination delivery tool and scientific calculator. You may access this sample test as many times as you like. The sample test is not a study guide.

Before you take your examination, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with Castle’s online examination delivery tool by viewing their Testing Instructions and taking their free Sample Test. Before you view the sample test, make sure to check your computer’s system set-up using Castle’s System Requirements.

***Those candidates testing in countries offering the paper-based examination must provide their own calculators. Candidates may only bring one calculator to the testing site; therefore, check the power before arriving to the test site. Calculators may not be shared with other candidates. Calculators must meet the following criteria:

  • Hand-held
  • Silent
  • Non-printing
  • Non-communicative
  • Non-programmable
  • Battery or solar-powered
  • Standard or scientific
  • No external wires (including power cords)
  • May NOT contain the full alphabet on the keypad (QWERTY-order nor ABC-order)
  • May NOT accept external memory items (disk, USB drive, SD card, etc.)