FILIPINO FPGEE TEST TAKERS SHARING EXPERIENCE on embassy interview for visa

I decided that I have to make a post since a lot of people has been asking regarding the embassy interview to be able to go here to seat in for the test.

I did not have a first hand experience on this but last weekend I was able to have lunch with an old friend/dorm mate and this topic came up. She told me how she was able to get a visa. The first time she tried she was denied. All that was ask was what the purpose of the visit and she did not hesitate to answer to seat in for the FPGEE test since this is the truth. A few months later, she tried again but this time she opened another pharmacy making it 2 under her name plus she has a regular 8 hour job. Upon questioning she just told the consul outright that she has to go on this trip cause otherwise her FPGEE application will be forfeited since she rescheduled it after being denied during the first interview. They just look at her ties meaning financial capability like how can she afford the trip and so she showed her bank account and other assets that would prove that she has enough ties to come back. She was given 10 years multiple entry. This experience was true for her and a friend who went for the interview at the same time and got denied the first time then approved on the 2nd. To give a background of her friend she was working for the military as a Pharmacist, no other business just savings.

I hope this will be of help. And I must just say what they have gone through is not a guarantee to get a visa. I am just sharing their experience since I have been asked a lot of times on what to say to the consul for their interview. I came here in USA with a green card after I was petitioned by my spouse so I was so happy to hear my friends ordeal cause I know this will be of valuable help to others. Good luck on your journey in becoming a USA Pharmacist.

Please feel free to share your experience to all Kabayans out there so we can help those who would want to try FPGEE.

TOEFL FOR FOREIGN GRADUATE PHARMACIST

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.

PHILIPPINE FPGEE SHARING INFORMATION AND COMMENTS

Hey Everyone! I have shared my story when I passed the test back in Jan this yr.
https://abbyandwin.net/blog/2008/01/20/wooohooo-i-passed-the-fpgee/

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!

Wooohooo! I passed the FPGEE

After 7 weeks wait, my Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination(FPGEE) result was received yesterday and I am still in awe. I was waiting for it the whole week and it was only yesterday that I went out to buy some things for our church wedding when it finally came. First, before I share my experience I would like tothank God for making things happen for the best as always. Secondly, my family that has been very supportive of me in my dreams and aspiration, who prays for my good health and well-being. And of course most especially to my hubby who has been there with me all the way (waking up early to drop me off the library, giving up his weekend for my review…) and for never loosing faith in me that I am gonna do very good in my test. It gave me a pressure and encouragement at the same time:)Thanks baby, whatever sacrifices that we gave it has been all worth it for God has answered our prayer.

As I posted in Dec, FPGEE got me busy after I had a miscarriage. It was August when I started to study for the exam. At that time I had a hard time since I was at the same being hospitalized often due to arrhythmia. It has been very hard to focus so I was praying really hard that God guide me through all this since I am giving my best to achieve my dream. I think it was about 3-4 hospitalization with monthly check-up and after an ablation for pvc, my heart beat finally has been normal again. Anyways with so many things happening in my life, with my illness and while I am still adjusting to my new home and environment, I know there is no excuse not to pass the test. But surely, I gave my best.

My day of studying, just like when I was in medicine is a routine. Everyday I would go at Rancho Cucamonga Library at 8am and I will be finish studying by 8pm. On weekends, we have like a group study in LA. My husband would really complain since initially my plan is no books on weekends but then I would end up asking him to spend time with me studying at Starbucks. But despite that effort, I would still feel that I need to study more. Since I didnt get my degree here in America and with little knowledge of the practice of pharmacy here, its hard to gain that confidence. And not to forget the fact that my exposure for quite a while is being a doctor of radiology in which the responsibility and role is different from a pharmacist.

Anyways for those who will take the test, there is no specific book that the FPGEE recommends. But what has been helpful for me basically is Leon Shargel “Comprehensive Pharmacy Review”, but that wouldn’t be enough. I read Shargel twice and its hard, since only in August that I started, thats why in studying you should have a time table and should be strict in complying with it. After reading Shargel, its time to dig in the basics of chemistry(organic,inorganic and general) in which I used Schaum’s outline. The key here is if you don’t understand something…research and try to figure things out yourself. There are different books available in amazon where I buy them. But before I do, I search online which books others recommend and at the same time I borrowed more than 20 reference book from the library. This includes Easy Way and Dummies for anatomy, for physiology, for organic chemistry, and several other books. I also searched the internet most of the time, I am happy to find out that there are many students here in America shares their lecture notes which when coupled with the reference books helps me refreshens my memory. Since I took these basic subjects more than 10 yrs ago, it made me easier to recall the basic subjects specially the chemistry part. Another book that I used is my set of Manan Shroff which I ordered from pharmaexam.com, I know there are some who used just either Shargel or Shroff for the test but to be sure study both, they are very good and works hand in hand together. I put more time in the areas which are my weaknesses and this will be Pharmaceutical Calculation(since we didnt have the same calculation in Med School) and of course Chemistry subjects.

Whatever your techniques are or method of studying is, as long as this is how you learn easily then go with it. What works for me might not work for others. I am just sharing my experience in the process of achieving my goal. My weapon ever since I would want to attain something especially with my studies and career has always been PRAYERS and HARD WORK. These for me is a powerful combination that leads to the road of fulfilling my dreams. I was praying to St. Jude, Divine Mercy, San Buenaventura, our Lady of Perpetual Help, its like everyday I have different novena prayers.They say that when you pray to God be specific in what you ask for, so when I was starting to study I would pray to God to help me get a score of 97 scaled score(score ranges from 1-150 with 75 as a passing score) and I would be very happy. As the days goes by as it approaches the exam day…I was praying Lord “75 please” just let me pass, I am now being realistic since now I don’t know if I covered everything for the test. After the test was done, I keep telling my husband that I really had a hard time with the test and all I can think of is my mistakes in the test which I am very certain that its wrong. Despite that fact, I still continued praying and wishing that things will turn out as I wanted it to be. And with Gods blessing, I still can’t believe it up to now that not only did I pass but I went over my goal and reach over 100.

To all test takers in the future… study hard and best of luck to everyone.

FPGEE got me busy

It’s been a while since I post a blog. I have been busy studying for the foreign pharmacy equivalency exam. At last I’m done studying for now, and on to the stage of anxiously waiting for the result. Hopefully me, Dra. Helene, Karen, and Loveline will pass the test and the rest in our group.

There are so many Filipinos who took the test and it was a surprised to see one of my classmate from college who was there to take the exam. I mean I havent seen here for more than 10 yrs and for all those times that now we havent seen each other……so many things had happen and weight gained…ha ha ha ha.

Well, we went early in San Jose, two days before the actual test. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel. Most of my friends just like me didn’t appreciate our stay there. Maybe personally speaking, I am comparing it to the service that I am used to back in Manila. I am expecting more from that hotel….and it didnt even meet the standard expectation. I have stayed from a 5-star hotel to a 3-star hotel in Philippines, Hongkong and China…and the experience was more pleasurable. I don’t know what the rating of Hilton is, but since we got there on our first day we were faced with a problem at once. Imagine booking a hotel 6 weeks in advance asking for a king-size bed and when you get there a twin bed was set. Not only that it was hard arguing with the receptionist and we insisted that we get the room that we reserved weeks ago. By the way he sounded he was trying to make it sound that we were at fault?!? After my husbands speech ( he gave him a good deserving complain and unacceptable remarks)…. he gave us the room we wanted. It was a first time for me to experience too, to ask for the toiletries like toothbrush and toothpaste and some other toiletries since it was noted in the room that although complementary they only give these when asked?!?! Aren’t those things paid for in the first place? Why not provide everything that the customer will be needing, I mean they do clean the room everyday and if they still have the supplies then don’t replace it rather than arriving there without the toiletries and slippers and robe. Especially when it takes them two hours before they can deliver those things you asked for. Anyways, we enjoyed our stayed in San Jose, nevertheless that bad experience with the hotel, it did not stop us from making the most out of that trip. We were able to see the parade that Sunday, and we went to the infamous SanFo Golden Gate bridge. I also met my husbands relatives from there, we ate lunch together and they are funny and accommodating. Well my husbands uncle was a friend of my mom back in their teenage yrs.

I have so many things to keep me pre-occupied while I wait for my test result. Our wedding in the church will be next year so I need to finalize everything ASAP. I also have to study for TOEFL-ibt and the driving exam test. Not only that I would really like to learn how to bake. So many plans like my husband would say and I don’t even know where to begin;)