ACVCP Diplomate Exams


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The specialty of veterinary clinical pharmacology requires an advanced knowledge of the factors that complicate rational drug use for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in animals. This examination will evaluate the depth and breadth of the candidate's knowledge and comprehension of the specialty.

Notification of intent

  1. Eligible candidates must notify the ACVCP of their intent to take Phase II of the examination before February 1st of the year of the examination. Make a reservation for a seat at the next Phase II exam by returning to your application. The "Submission" menu includes a link to "Make (a) Phase II Reservation." This link will open a form by which you can send an email to the appropriate ACVCP officers.
  2. Candidates for the Diplomate Certification Examination shall pay to the College an examination of $300 (for Phase II) before sitting the Phase II exam. This fee is non-refundable whether or not the applicant takes the exam and must be received by the ACVCP Treasurer no later than February 1st of a given exam year. Access information concerning submission of the Phase II examination fee by selecting "Fees" through the online Phase II application menu.
  3. A candidate who is deemed ineligible, or if eligible, who declines to take Phase II of the Examination after notification of intent has been submitted shall be required to pay an additional prescribed fee of $300 when notification of intent is made again to take Phase II.
  4. A candidate who does not pass the Phase II Examination shall be required to complete a notification of intent and to pay an additional prescribed fee of $300 for subsequent reexamination of that failed Phase II.


Candidates must have passed the Phase I examination to be eligible for the Phase II Examination. Candidates may take both the Phase I Examination and the Phase II Examination in the same year. If a candidate so desires, he/she must apply for both phases of the exam by the February 1 deadline. The Examinations will be given on consecutive days. The Phase II Examination is a written and "select the answer" examination consisting of ten question groups.
You must notify the Examination Committee Chairperson if you have a medical problem, impairment, or disability that requires any special assistance or accommodation for the examination. This notification is needed 30 days prior to the examination date.


The Phase II Examination is intended to evaluate the candidate's performance in specific areas that define clinical pharmacology. The candidate is expected to be able to apply his/her basic knowledge of the major drug groups and basic principles of clinical pharmacology to problems in veterinary clinical medicine. The Diplomate is expected to understand the basic mechanisms and pathophysiological features of a wide variety of diseases occurring in animals. The candidate should understand the role of drugs in modifying the disease process, and the potential complications caused by the drugs administered. In addition, the candidate should have an understanding of the analytical and statistical methods used to investigate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs in clinical patients and experimental animals. The candidate should be familiar with recent advances in chemotherapy and therapeutics of serious illness. The candidate should understand the drug regulations in the United States including the drug approval process used for new animal drugs.


  1. The exam will be delivered using the computer-based testing system called Examsoft.
  2. Candidates will be required to bring their own laptops to the testing location.
  3. Candidates will need install the testing app, Examplify, on their laptops ahead of time. It is available for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms. The makers of Examplify provide an Exam-Taker Help Site that includes a "Get Started Guide", How-To Articles and Troublshooting Tips.
  4. Candidates must have administrator privileges to their laptop. If using a university/work laptop, failure to have proper privileges may cause issues with software functionality.
  5. A practice exam will be released several weeks before the actual exam. Candidates will complete this at home. During this practice period, questions should be directed to the Examination Committee Chair using this: (link). Completion of the practice exam will allow for troubleshooting of technical issues and gives the candidates an opportunity to explore the software and see how the questions are structured.
  6. A second practice exam will be conducted the before the Phase I exam. During that session, candidates will be shown some Examplify tips and tricks. The schedules and process for the exam days will also be reviewed.
  7. Candidates need to download the encrypted exam files to their laptops ahead of time. They will only be able to open the exams once the proctor announces the passwords.
  8. During the exam, candidate laptops are locked down and are unable to access the internet, computer files, or any applications other than Examplify.
  9. At the end of the exam, candidate laptops are automatically unlocked, internet access is re-enabled, and exam responses are uploaded to the Examsoft servers.


  1. The Phase II written examination is divided in two sessions (morning and afternoon). Each session will contain 5 question groups. Each question group is worth 10 points. The question groups will be made up combinations of essay, multiple choice, matching, and extended matching questions. The question groups shall each represent information from one of 4 Subject Categories; (i) Therapeutics, (ii) Pharmacokinetics and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, (iii) Experimental Design, Statistics and Analytical Methods and (iv) Regulatory Pharmacology. Subject Categories are described in detail below.
  2. Each candidate will be identified on his or her examination with a number known only to the candidate and the Exam Committee Chairperson (or his/her delegate who administers the examination). When grading questions, Exam Committee members (referred to as examiners from here on) will be blinded as to the identity of the candidate, and the scores assigned by other examiners.
  3. Ordinarily the examination will take place from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm (local time for test taker).
  4. No more than six and no fewer than five examiners will score each essay question. The score for each essay question of each candidate is the mean score awarded among the (five or six) examiners for that question.
  5. Multiple choice, matching, and extended matching question are graded by the exam software.
  6. A candidate's score for the Phase II Examination is the sum of the means from the essay questions plus the computer assigned scores for the non-essay questions. A score greater than or equal to 70.0% is required for passing.
  7. Candidates will be notified of the results within 60 days of the test date.

Results and Appeals

Examination results will be sent to all candidates on the same day and within 60 days after completion of the examination. Candidates are not allowed to review their examinations and will not be notified of their total scores; they will be informed of whether their performance was a pass or a failure.
Candidates failing to pass the Diplomate Certification Examination may appeal this decision within 30 calendar days of the postmarked date of notification. The request for appeal must be made in writing to the Secretary-Treasurer and shall include a statement of the grounds for reconsideration and appropriate documentation.

Examination Content

Exam Blueprint

Study Guide

Recommended references
Regulatory references