The BCPS Study Group started as a local effort at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. For three years (2005-2007) there was a coordinated study group available for any pharmacist at the Minneapolis VA to participate in. For 2008 and 2009 exam cycles the Study Group was moved online within the VA intranet and was offered to any pharmacist within the VA system. For the 2010 test cycle (and hopefully beyond) it will be offered to any pharmacist through this website. Participation is free and voluntary - the goal is simply to expand certification within pharmacy.
The BCPS Study Group is based primarily on the Pharmacotherapy Prep Course. This is largely considered to be the most effective way to study for the BCPS exam. The study group offers a framework more than content - without the Prep Course. I realize that the annual prep course does not come out until early May - we start with the previous year's Prep Course until the new one comes out. For example, for the 2010 cycle we'll start in February with the 2009 Pharmacotherapy Prep Course until the 2010 Prep Course comes out (presumably in May 2010). When the new one comes out some pharmacists will purchase it - others will not. The year of publication of the study course makes no difference to what topics are covered.
This study group is intended for all audiences and assumes that it has been a long time since a pharmacist has reviewed pharmacotherapy in detail. In Minneapolis pharmacists with long histories working in management or retail have successfully passed the BCPS exam. More recent graduates with recent residencies may not require the same amount of studying, but it never hurts.
Duration of Study Group
The BCPS Study Group spans nine months. There are several reasons for this. Rote memorization works well over time and the provided curriculum guidance provides that. Also, summertime tends to get much busier for everybody. A number of residents have spoken to me about the plan to start in early spring/summer only to realize (too late) that their residency project is coming due, they are applying for jobs, and are moving. Stuff happens - especially in the summer. It's best to study through the duration of the course because things will come up. Surveys and feedback has been collected from over 200 pharmacists that have participated in the this study group within the VA. The feedback has been that the current structure is useful.
Study group coordinator/webmaster
My name is Anders Westanmo. I'm a pharmacists at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis. This site is not in any way affiliated with the VA, ACCP, BPS, or any other organization. I receive no compensation of any type for providing this or for promoting things such as ACCP's Pharmacotherapy Prep Course. I believe in advancing knowledge through education and certification. In my view, the profession of pharmacy moves forward with each additional pharmacist that becomes certified. Please note that I am not and never have been involved in development of any BPS or ACCP material. The methods and advice given within this site is only my opinion based on my experiences.