KAPS Exam Syllabus

The KAPS exam consists of 200 questions delivered over two 2-hour sessions (a total of 4 hours of assessment) with a 60-minute scheduled break in between.

Major Content Area with Approximate Distribution per Content Area

The KAPS exam consists of 2 papers:

Paper 1

  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry (30%)
  • Physiology and Pharmacology (70%)

Paper 2

  • Pharmaceutics (30%)
  • Therapeutics (70%)

Note: To pass the exam, you need a mark of at least 50% in all subsections of the exam.

Paper 1: Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and physiology
Organic chemistry

  • Nomenclature
  • Drug class recognition
  • Reaction types
  • Functional group reactivity
  • Drug stability
  • Acid-base reactions


  • Nomenclature
  • Optical activity
  • Geometric isomerism
  • Conformation

Physical and inorganic chemistry

  • Kinetics
  • Acid-base reactions
  • Phase equilibria

Analytical chemistry

  • Spectroscopy
  • Redox reactions
  • Assay techniques
  • Diagnostic agents


  • Nomenclature
  • Structures
  • Biochemical classes
  • Thermodynamics
  • Biochemical pathways

Structure-activity relationships

  • Relationship between a chemical or 3D structure and its biological activity

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

Drug metabolism

  • Breakdown and conversion of medicines through regularly occurring bodily process, leading to active ingredients and by-products of the original medicine

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

Systemic pharmacology

  • The mechanism of drug action as it relates to specific organs and disease states


  • Antibacterial drugs
  • Antiviral drugs
  • Antifungal drugs
  • Antiprotozoal drugs
  • Anthelmintic drugs
  • Anticancer drugs


  • Common side effects
  • Signs of toxicity
  • Mechanism of toxicity


  • Alteration of physiological processes by drugs or disease states

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
Physical pharmacy

  • Solvents
  • Types of preparation
  • Solutions
  • Suspensions
  • Emulsions


  • Dissolution
  • Drug absorption
  • Bioavailability and bioequivalence
  • Drug interactions with a biopharmaceutical basis

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

Pharmaceutical microbiology

  • Preservation
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Sterilization technology


  • Formulation of drugs for various routes of administration
  • Parenteral dose forms
  • Controlled release preparations
  • Evaluation of particular dose forms

Dose forms, including extemporaneous preparation

  • Drug products
  • Constituent drug substances
  • Combination compounded products for use via various routes of administration


  • Dilutions
  • Percentages
  • Densities
  • Sensitivity of balance
  • Proportions
  • Isotonicity
  • Milliequivalents and milliosmoles
  • Buffers
  • Dose calculations from body weight or surface area
  • Stability

Posology and dose determinations

  • Appropriate dosages of common medications
  • Dosage regimens of common medications

Medicine choice

  • Demonstrating an understanding of the clinical processes used for choosing the most appropriate drug for the presenting patient and their condition

Surgical dressings, applications and associated drug delivery systems

  • Drug choices for surgical dressings
  • The use of and choices for surgical dressings

Adverse reactions to drugs

  • Adverse reactions for drugs
  • Relevant patient counselling and advice

Drug interactions

  • Drug interactions
  • Relevant patient counselling and advice

Drug information

  • Using information sources to find drug and health information relevant to conditions and disease states

Managing minor ailments

  • Non-prescription prescribing
  • Diagnosing minor illness
  • Rational over-the-counter product selection
  • Over-the-counter drug information

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