APEC Exam Syllabus

To become a licensed pharmacist in Australia or New Zealand, all candidates taking the Stream A pathway must take an English Proficiency test before proceeding to the exam. Stream B is the shorter pathway, which if failed twice, candidates must take Stream A.

The APEC exam for both Stream A & Stream B includes:

Pharmaceutical Chemistry 

  • Organic Chemistry: nomenclature, drug class recognition, reaction types, functional group reactivity, drug stability, acid base reactions, chelation agents.
  • Stereochemistry: nomenclature, optical activity, geometric isomerism, conformation.
  • Physical Chemistry: kinetics, acid base reactions, phase equilibria, radio chemistry.
  • Analytical Chemistry: spectroscopy, redox reactions, assay techniques, diagnostic agents.
  • Biochemistry: nomenclature, structures, biochemical classes, thermodynamics, biochemical pathways.
  • Medicinal chemistry: structure-activity relationships, drug presentation and delivery, drug formulation and stability, drug metabolism, mechanism of drug action, modern drug development, and absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs.

Pharmacology and Physiology 

  • Pharmacology: principles of drug action, drug interactions, receptor pharmacology, autonomic transmission, endocrine pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics, antibiotics, diuretics, local and general anaesthetics, vitamins, drugs affecting nutritional and metabolic function, drugs affecting the central nervous system.
  • Chemotherapy: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anthelmintic and anticancer drugs.
  • Toxicology: common side effects and signs of toxicity.
  • Pathophysiology: alteration of physiological processes by drugs or disease states.
  • General Physiology: central nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, urinary, endocrine and reproductive systems and their integration; blood and other body fluids.


  • Physical pharmacy: solvents, types of preparation, solutions, suspensions, emulsions.
  • Biopharmaceutics: dissolution, drug absorption, bioavailability and bioequivalence, drug interactions with a biopharmaceutical basis.
  • Pharmacokinetics: biological half-life, elimination rate constants, apparent volume of distribution, clearance, steady-state considerations, drug-protein binding, relevant calculations.
  • Pharmaceutical microbiology: preservation, antimicrobial agents, sterilisation technology.
  • Formulation: formulation of drugs for various routes of administration, parenteral dose forms, controlled release preparations, evaluation of particular dose forms.


  • Calculations: dilutions, percentages, densities, the sensitivity of balance, proportions, isotonicity, milliequivalents/milliosmoles, buffers, dose calculations from body weight or surface area, stability.
  • Posology: appropriate dosages and dosage regimens of common medications.
  • Prescriptions: adverse reactions, common contra-indications and indications, drug interactions, patient counselling and advice. Surgical dressings, appliances and drug delivery systems.
  • Over-the-counter(OTC) medications: non-prescription prescribing, diagnosis of minor illness, rational OTC product selection, OTC drug information.
  • Clinical pharmacy and therapeutics: problem-solving, drug management of disease states, the clinical relevance of biochemical parameters.