jeehp Search


J Educ Eval Health Prof > Volume 4; 2007 > Article
Lim, Hong, Lee, and Jeon: Revised Subjects of the Current Korean Oriental Pharmacists’ Licensing Examination


This study is designed to draw out new integrated subjects of the Korean Oriental Pharmacists’ Licensing Examination (KOPLE). In 2004, for the revision of subjects, we have analyzed the curriculums of the Oriental Pharmacy department, the oriental pharmacist’s (OP’s) job description book, and the elementary items of KOPLE. We also examined the system of the Chinese Herb Pharmacists’ Examination and other health personnel licensing examinations and studied the data of items and compared them with KOPLE. We heard the public opinion on the present KOPLE. We developed a subfield of 18 subjects, a middle category of 188 items, and a small category of 1,026 items. We proposed a new KOPLE that consists of three subjects: basic oriental pharmacy, applied oriental pharmacy, and laws and regulations.


This study is to draw out the new unified subjects of the Korean Oriental Pharmacists’ Licensing Examination (KOPLE) by examining the items of the KOPLE, and the curriculum and job description of oriental pharmacists (OPs). This work may help OP students have a capacity of synthetic thinking, which is required in the clinical situation. Also, we tried to determine the integrated subjects of the KOPLE for a future-oriented KOPLE. Finally, we arranged it into large, middle, and small categories.


We analyzed the curriculums of oriental pharmacy departments [1-3], the oriental pharmacist’s (OP’s) job descriptions book [4], the elementary items of the KOPLE, the system of the Chinese Herb Pharmacists’ Examination, and other similar health personnel licensing examinations. We also heard the opinions of oriental pharmacy professors, OPs, and would-be OPs. After that, we proposed integrated subjects for the KOPLE.


The results showed that every Oriental Pharmacy department in Korea has been offering all subjects focused on the KOPLE, obviously implying that the KOPLE has been an absolute influence on the curriculums of the Oriental Pharmacy (Table 1). According to the results of an analysis of the data of the OP’s job descriptions book, there are quite a lot of differences between the importance of the book and the proportion of KOPLE items, so that the book doesn’t contain an equal proportion of KOPLE items. Therefore, it can be said that the current method of the KOPLE has mainly been set on knowledge-focused items regarding the evaluation of OP capability, as many as about 68. From the analysis of the passing rates on KOPLE for the past 3 years, there is no problem on the level of examination difficulty, the discrimination rate, and the passing rate. The system of the Chinese Herb Pharmacists’ Examination has shown that the number of items is 400, which is 1.6 times as many as the ones in KOPLE (250), and the linking subjects integrated into 4 subjects have been administered, which is an upgraded system over the one in Korea (Table 2). On examination, in some similar health personnel licensing examinations, the number of KOPLE items approaches 45.5% compared with 550 (538 points), which is the number of medical licensing examination items, and is 50-80 less than the items set in pharmacists’, nurses’, and nutritionists’ licensing examinations (Table 2). Based on Bloom’s theory, research of the items among oriental pharmacy professors and OPs on the validity of the current KOPLE surveyed in 5 points that measure method has been carried out. The result has brought out that the overall validity rate of KOPLE, the degree that KOPLE reflects the curriculum of the oriental pharmacy, and the view on the measurement of the lowest capability for OPs by KOPLE shows over 3 points that signify positive meaning, but the view on the measurement of the OP’s problem-solving capacity shows less than 3 points, which is negative. The reason that the KOPLE should be integrated into 3 subjects is that the KOPLE is reciprocally related to one or the other subjects. A survey on the number of items in KOPLE has shown that the professors have an absolute preference for 350 items because it is necessary for the items to be increased for adequate evaluation through the KOPLE. Through a study of the data of items and a public hearing for the present KOPLE, it has been arranged that the KOPLE subjects are ‘LAWS AND REGULATIONS’, ‘BASIC ORIENTAL PHARMACY’, and ‘APPLIED ORIENTAL PHARMACY’. The contents of subject ‘LAWS AND REGULATIONS’ are ‘The Law of Pharmaceuticals and Narcotics’, ‘Korean Pharmacopoeia’, ‘Korean Herbal Pharmacopoeia’ and ‘The Law for Marketing of Herbal Medicine (HM)’. Contents of subject ‘BASIC ORIENTAL PHARMACY’ are ‘Pharmaceutical Analysis’, ‘Pharmaceutical Botany’, ‘Pharmacognosy’, ‘Natural Products Chemistry’, ‘Herbalogy’, ‘Hygienic Chemistry’ and ‘Pharmaceutical Biochemistry’. The contents of subject ‘APPLIED ORIENTAL PHARMACY’ are ‘Basics of Oriental Pharmacy’, ‘Processing of HM’, ‘Preparation of HM’, ‘Pharmacology of HM’, ‘Oriental Pharmaceutics’, ‘Marketing and Storing of HM’ and ‘Pharmacology’. Number of items of each subject is 50 for ‘LAWS AND REGULATIONS’ and 150 each for ‘BASIC ORIENTAL PHARMACY’ and ‘APPLIED ORIENTAL PHARMACY’ (Table 3, Fig. 1). Through collecting the extensive opinions and suggestions from the concerned professors and other professors on the KOPLE, we have arranged the KOPLE into large, middle, and small categories. There are 3 large categories, and 18 subjects as the subfield, 188 items as the middle category, and 1,026 small category items (Table 4).


This study was desgned to propose the new integrated subjects of KOPLE, Three subjects are proposed like other health personnel licensing examination. Recently, the trends of the subjects of health personnel licensing examination is the integration and the emphasis of the practical skills. In this trends, subjects of KOPLE was revised. This is the first stage of the progress for KOPLE. Furthermore, the other performance test such as practical skill test, should be considered to be applied to KOPLE.


This research was supported by the National Health Personnel Licensing Examination Board.


This article is available from:


1. Kyunghee University. Handbook of Kyunghee university. Seoul (KR): Kyunghee University; 2003. Korean.
2. Wongkwang University. Handbook of Wongkwang university. Iksan (KR): Wongkwang University; 2003. Korean.
3. Woosuk University. Handbook of Woosuk university. Chonju (KR): Woosuk University; 2003. Korean.
4. Hong SP. The oriental pharmacists’ job descriptions book. Seoul (KR): National Health Personnel Licensing Examination Board; 2000. Korean.

Fig. 1.
The unified KOPLE. Unit: points.
Table 1.
The task elements and proportion in the Korean Oriental Pharmacists’ Licensing Examination listed in the oriental pharmacist’s (OP’s) job descriptions book
Classification Main field subjects The task elements Licensing Examination
Frequency Rate (%) Number of items Setting items rate(%)
Knowledge Skill Attitude Total
1 Production and manufacturing of HM 54 56 0 110 10.6 40 16
2 Pharmaceutics of HM 358 149 2 509 49.0 110 44
3 Authentication of HM 83 49 0 132 12.7 35 14
4 Storing and marketing of HM 90 19 2 111 10.7 20 8
5 Basics of HM 49 16 0 65 6.3 45 18
The others 66 45 0 111 10.7 0 0
Total 700 334 4 1,038 100.0 250 100

HM: Herbal Medicine.

Table 2.
Chinese herb pharmacists’ examination
Subjects Number of items Examination time (min.) Remarks
Laws 100 150
Chinese pharmacy expert knowledge (I) 100 150 Carried out for 4 days in October understand (60%) know well (30%) comprehension (10%)
Chinese pharmacy expert knowledge (II) 100 150
Chinese pharmacy general knowledge and function 100 150
Table 3.
The unified KOPLE (draft)
KOPLE subjects No. of items Distribution of points Detail subjects Remarks
Related subjects Points
Laws and regulations 50 50 The law of pharmaceuticals and narcotics 20 Gathered various laws and regulations
Korean pharmacopoeia 10
Korean herb pharmacopoeia 10
Marketing regulations of herb medicine 10
Basic oriental pharmacy 150 150 Pharmaceutical analysis 20 *1Main contents is toxicology
Pharmaceutical botany 15 *2Basic theory added
Pharmacognosy 20
Natural products chemistry 25
Herbalogy 35
Hygienic pharmacy*1 15
Pharmaceutical biochemistry*2 20
Applied oriental pharmacy 150 150 The theory of basic HM*1 15 *1Various theory in different books made into one
Processing of HM 20
Preparation of HM 35 *2Essential in fields
Pharmacology of HM 25
Oriental pharmaceutics 25
Marketing and storing of HM 15
Pharmacology*2 15
Total 350 350 18 350
Table 4.
The number of developed items in the KOPLE
Large categories (KOPLE) Detail subjects No. of developed items
Middle categories Small categories
Laws and regulations The law of pharmaceutical and narcotics 8 18
Korean pharmacopoeia 3 91
Korean herbal pharmacopoeia 2 184
Law of marketing of HM 2 7
Total 15 300
Basic oriental pharmacy Pharmaceutical analysis 2 16
Pharmaceutical botany 15 133
Pharmacognsy (Experimental) 7 45
Natural products chemistry 2 12
Herbalogy 20 45
Hygienic pharmacy 1 8
Pharmaceutical biochemistry 11 38
Total 58 297
Applied oriental pharmacy The theory of basic HM 5 18
Processing of HM 6 33
Preparation of HM 66 195
Pharmacology of HM 10 54
Oriental pharmaceutics 13 65
Marketing and storing of HM 6 24
Pharmacology 9 40
Total 115 429
Total 18 subjects 188 1,026
Share :
Facebook Twitter Linked In Google+
METRICS Graph View
  • 0 Crossref
  • 24,892 View
  • 125 Download
We recommend
Related articles in JEEHP

Attitudes to proposed assessment of pharmacy skills in Korean pharmacist licensure examination2017 ;14

Relevance of the test content of the Korean Nursing Licensing Examination to nursing job2016 ;13

Exploration of examinees’ traits that affect the score of Korean Medical Licensing Examination2015 ;12

Revision of subjects of the Korean Optometrist Licensing Examination suggested by optometrists2012 ;9

Failed Examinees' Legal Challenge over the Clinical Skill Test in the Korean Medical Licensing Examination2010 ;7

MeSH terms
Job Description
Pharmaceutical Services
Public Opinion

Editorial Office
Institute of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Hallym Unversity, Hallymdaehak-gil 1, Chuncheon 24252, Korea
TEL: +82-33-248-2652   

Copyright © 2020 by Korea Health Personnel Licensing Examination Institute. All rights reserved.

Developed in M2community

Close layer
prev next