The KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) exam tests your knowledge and understanding of pharmaceutical sciences. Passing it confirms that you know enough to practise safely and effectively in an Australian setting.

You'll have 2 hours to complete each paper, with a 60-minute scheduled break between papers 1 and 2.

Our guide to the KAPS exam outlines the subject areas we assess, and will help you to prepare for the exam.

The KAPS exam lets you demonstrate your ability to practise pharmacy safely and effectively by analysing and evaluating practice-based material and problems.

You'll need to assess your own knowledge level, then evaluate that knowledge as much you can against the exam material.

We base our exams on the latest information, which you can find in relevant:

  • journals
  • publications
  • textbooks

It's up to you to find this information. We do not endorse any external reference sources.

KAPS is a closed-book exam. This means you cannot bring any printed or handwritten reference materials into the exam with you.

Content areas for the KAPS exam

The KAPS exam consists of 2 papers:

  • Paper 1: Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology
  • Paper 2: Pharmaceutics and therapeutics

Paper 1: Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology

For the pharmaceutical chemistry topic of Paper 1, you'll need to show you understand, and have suitable knowledge in:

1. Organic chemistry
  • Nomenclature
  • Drug class recognition
  • Reaction types
  • Functional group reactivity
  • Drug stability
  • Acid-base reactions
2. Stereochemistry
  • Nomenclature
  • Optical activity
  • Geometric isomerism
  • Conformation
3. Physical and inorganic chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Acid-base reactions
  • Phase equilibria
4. Analytical chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Redox reactions
  • Assay techniques
  • Diagnostic agents
5. Biochemistry
  • Nomenclature
  • Structures
  • Biochemical classes
  • Thermodynamics
  • Biochemical pathways
6. Structure-activity relationships
  • Relationship between a chemical or 3D structure and its biological activity
7. Medicinal chemistry
  • Structure-activity relationships
  • Drug presentation and delivery
  • Drug formulation and stability
  • Drug metabolism
  • Mechanism of drug action
  • Modern drug development
  • Absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs
8. Drug metabolism
  • Breakdown and conversion of medicines through regularly occurring bodily process, leading to active ingredients and by-products of the original medicine

For the pharmacology and physiology topics of Paper 1, you'll need to show you understand, and have suitable knowledge in:

1.  Biochemical 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
2. Systemic pharmacology
  • The mechanism of drug action as it relates to specific organs and disease states
3. Chemotherapy
  • Antibacterial drugs
  • Antiviral drugs
  • Antifungal drugs
  • Antiprotozoal drugs
  • Anthelmintic drugs
  • Anticancer drugs
4. Toxicology
  • Common side effects
  • Signs of toxicity
  • Mechanism of toxicity
5. Pathophysiology
  • Alteration of physiological processes by drugs or disease states
6. General physiology
  • Normal bodily functions including but not limited to the central nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, urinary, endocrine and reproductive systems and their integration
  • Blood and other body fluids

Paper 2: Pharmaceutics and therapeutics

For the pharmaceutics topic of Paper 2, you'll need to show you understand, and have suitable knowledge in:

1. Physical pharmacy
  • Solvents
  • Types of preparation
  • Solutions
  • Suspensions
  • Emulsions
2. Biopharmaceutics
  • Dissolution
  • Drug absorption
  • Bioavailability and bioequivalence
  • Drug interactions with a biopharmaceutical basis
3. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • Biological half-life
  • Elimination rate constants
  • Apparent volume of distribution
  • Clearance
  • Steady state considerations
  • Drug protein binding
  • Drug metabolism
  • Drug interactions
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Relevant calculations
4. Pharmaceutical microbiology
  • Preservation
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Sterilisation technology
5. Formulation
  • Formulation of drugs for various routes of administration
  • Parenteral dose forms
  • Controlled release preparations
  • Evaluation of particular dose forms
6. Dose forms, including extemporaneous preparation
  • Drug products
  • Constituent drug substances
  • Combination compounded products for use via various routes of administration

For the therapeutics topic of Paper 2, you'll need to show you understand, and have suitable knowledge in:

1. Calculations
  • Dilutions
  • Percentages
  • Densities
  • Sensitivity of balance
  • Proportions
  • Isotonicity
  • Milliequivalents and milliosmoles
  • Buffers
  • Dose calculations from body weight or surface area
  • Stability
2. Posology and dose determinations
  • Appropriate dosages of common medications
  • Dosage regimens of common medications
3. Medicine choice
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the clinical processes used for choosing the most appropriate drug for the presenting patient and their condition
4. Surgical dressings, applications and associated drug delivery systems
  • Drug choices for surgical dressings
  • The use of and choices for surgical dressings
5. Adverse reactions to drugs
  • Adverse reactions for drugs
  • Relevant patient counselling and advice
6. Drug interactions
  • Drug interactions
  • Relevant patient counselling and advice
6. Drug information
  • Using information sources to find drug and health information relevant to conditions and disease states
6. Managing minor ailments
  • Non-prescription prescribing
  • Diagnosing minor illness
  • Rational over-the-counter product selection
  • Over-the-counter drug information

KAPS exam paper samples

To help you sit the KAPS exam, we provide 4 official sample papers:

These each contain older questions to help you practise. These questions are no longer used, but they'll help you understand:

  • the types of content covered in each paper of the exam
  • how questions might be presented

If you want to practise the sample papers under exam conditions, you'll need to answer all 100 questions in each paper in 2 hours.

The real KAPS exam is delivered online at an approved test centre. Our exam provider, Pearson Vue, provides an online sample test.

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