The APEC Exam, also known as the APC Exam is the assessment in Australia which allows pharmacists to practice in Australia. Essentially, the APEC is the Australian Pharmacy Council written exam.


Any pharmacist wishing to work in Australia requires a work permit or visa before obtaining employment. The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship provides details on migration and visa requirements. The Australian government has recently revised the skilled occupations list for migrants, which is effectively a "wanted list” of occupations needed in the country. Unfortunately, pharmacists are no longer on it, meaning it is now a bit harder to obtain a work permit.

Pharmacists may still work in Australia if they have an employer who is willing to nominate them -- this falls under the employer nomination scheme occupation list (ENSOL). As a tip, a visa can be obtained through family members, too.

Another key requirement is the APC initial assessment process, which involves a detailed look at the pharmacist's documents, work experience and qualifications to determine whether he or she can apply for registration through the stream A or stream B process, where the CAOP exam may be required (see below). There is a fee for this, which varies, but you can apply via the APEC Website. Once these requirements have been fulfilled the pharmacist can proceed to take the exam.

Exam Format

The Written Examination, delivered by computer, is of three hours duration and comprises 125 questions covering Functional Areas 1,3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Competency Standards for Pharmacists in Australia 2003. The examination is held in capital cities in all Australian states and territories.

Candidates may attempt the written examination after completing 50% of their required supervised practice hours and must successfully complete the written examination before attempting the oral examination. The written examination will be offered six times per year.


Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists is an exam which assesses foreign pharmacist as to whether they are sufficiently competent to practice in Australia. The exam consists of 105 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) based upon:

  • Pharmaceutical calculations - such as molarity, concentrations etc
  • Clinical questions - covering practical based pharmacy topics
  • Short answer question - this is to test your writing and fluency ability
  • The key, clinical attributes being tested in this part include:
  • Communication, supervision, collaboration and self-management
  • Review and supply prescribed medicines 
  • Prepare sterile and non-sterile pharmaceutical products
  • Deliver primary and preventative healthcare
  • Promote and contribute to optimal use of medicines

For more information see, CAOP Exam.

KAPS Exam - Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Assessment of Knowledge of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) formerly known as Stage 1 Exam of APC (Australian Pharmacy Council). The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions.

For more information see, KAPS Exam.