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Mock exam mania

Stress levels were high as pre-regs prepared for the registration assessment, says Noma Al-Ahmad

In the run-up the June registration assessment on Thursday (June 25), pre-registration pharmacists across the country were putting in those last crucial hours of study to make sure they were fully prepared. I’m sure many will agree that the best practice for undertaking any challenge is to simulate the challenge and subsequently build upon performance until faced with the real thing.

 

This is what makes mock assessment papers such a vital learning resource in testing and improving a trainee’s knowledge and exam technique. But these are hard to come by. With the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) only releasing short sample papers, trainees do not get the full picture of what attempting the entire assessment feels like or the pressure of sitting two full papers in one day.

 

It is no wonder, then, that it is usually high on any trainee’s agenda to seek out full and up-to-date mock assessments. With numerous training providers advertising a simulated mock assessment experience at a high price, only to then remove the papers from trainees at the end of the day, the market for these papers has become even more lucrative.

 

The question is who produces the best mock exams? And are training providers following the rules set by the GPhC for its own exam that the removal of questions from an assessment hall constitutes serious misconduct? Do trainees really need to be threatened in this way?

 

Desperate for practice

Some trainees are so desperate for practice that they are prepared to take the risk and infringe copyright by copying and distributing content from those papers to support their own revision and assist their peers. I’m sure any pre-registration trainee reading this blog will be familiar with this scenario.

 

As the director of a company that delivers pre-registration training nationally, I have seen how – every year – large numbers of trainees contact our office asking to purchase our mock papers because they have found out that we disclose them to our trainees. So we took the decision to write up full mock papers for all trainees to share and make use of - along with extensive coverage of the whole syllabus and detailed feedback. We have passed these materials onto trainees already using our training and informed them that they are welcome to share the materials with their friends.

 

I would never have imagined that news of sharing our mock papers would go viral in the pharmacy student community - it has resulted in 2,000 downloads since the release of the papers on Friday and has received much appreciation from trainees nationwide.

 

I believe releasing mock papers and answers is in their best interest of trainees. So perhaps those who are not doing this already could reflect on the potential and benefits of doing so to aid their trainees’ development.

 

Noma Al-Ahmad is the managing director of ProPharmace

 


Are pre-reg students sufficiently prepared for exams?

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Pharmacy Manager
Guernsey
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