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Northern Ireland: Pre-reg exam pass rate high at 98% despite COVID-19

The pre-registration exam pass rate in Northern Ireland was 98% this year, despite the impact of COVID-19, the Pharmaceutical Society Northern Ireland (PSNI) has announced.

Of the 135 pre-registration trainees who sat the registration exam on August 11, 132 passed, PSNI said last week (September 1).

This year's pass rate is on par with the 97% pass rate for June 2018, when 156 trainees sat the exam, and a four percentage-point increase on the 94% pass rate for June 2019, when 139 pre-regs took the exam.

“The figures are comparable with previous years [and] we and the external examiner are content with the standard and the process for this year”, a PSNI spokesperson told C+D last week (September 4).

PSNI acknowledges that “it has been a difficult time for all during the COVID-19 pandemic”, the spokesperson said.

In the announcement last week, the regulator said it welcomed all those who, “subject to being signed off by their pre-registration tutor”, will now register with PSNI.

PSNI president Dr Jim Livingstone congratulated the students on passing the registration exam.

“As you begin your career, take time to reflect on how much you have achieved so far through many years of study and preparation,” he said.

“You can be confident that you have already experienced some exceptional circumstances for healthcare in Northern Ireland and you should look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” Dr Livingstone added.

The General Pharmaceutical Council said in May that provisionally registered pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales will need to sit an online registration exam “at the first opportunity if they are fit to do so”.

However, PSNI announced in July that its registration assessment would not be moved online but would take place across three venues, in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.

Were you surprised to see such high pre-reg exam pass rates during COVID-19?

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