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BPSA unsurprised by registration exam six-year low

President Lottie Bain was prepared for the low pass rate after receiving a "much higher volume than normal" of feedback about the exam


The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) was braced for the "significant drop" in the June registration exam pass rate due to concerned feedback from candidates, it has told C+D.

The BPSA was unsurprised by the June exam's low pass rate of 74% after receiving a "much higher than normal" amount of feedback and concern - culminating in 479 emails from candidates and pre-registration tutors - president Lottie Bain told C+D on Tuesday (July 28).

The 74% pass rate was the lowest since the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) took responsibility for the exam in 2010, the regulator announced last week (July 24). Last year, there was an 85% pass rate - and Ms Bain branded this year's results a "significant drop".

The results are “more in line” with average pass rates for the September exams, which usually have a higher proportion of candidates sitting the assessment for the second or third time, she stressed.

Ms Bain said the GPhC should "relook" at the syllabus to ensure candidates know what is expected of them in the exam. But the low pass rate also highlights a "larger issue" of disparity between training provision and the regulator's expectations, she stressed.

The regulator had "committed" to addressing the BPSA's report on these issues, and the student organisation expects a response to be published "within the next few weeks", Ms Bain added.

Pre-registration tutor Altaf Vaiya said students who sat June's exam were not given enough time to "read, digest and answer the question", as indicated by over 900 responses to a report he had compiled. The regulator should "give more support to students and tutors on how they will be assessed in the exam", Mr Vaiya posted on the C+D website.

The GPhC told C+D on Monday (July 27) that its board of assessors had "benchmarked" the exam against previous years to make sure that outcomes were "fair and consistent". 


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