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GPhC investigating low pre-reg exam pass rate

EXCLUSIVE

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is investigating why only 61 per cent of students passed September's registration exam, C+D has learned.


The low pass rate, an 8 percentage point fall on the previous year, was "at a level where questions need to be asked", chief executive Duncan Rudkin told C+D in an exclusive interview last week (November 14). 


A failure rate of 39 per cent was a "relatively high proportion of people" and the GPhC felt "a sense of responsibility" to the 274 students who failed, he said. "A number of individuals have gone through a five-year process and then not been able to get into the profession of their choice at the end of it," said Mr Rudkin. 


The regulator was currently at factors that could have influenced the pass rate, including the academic history of students "who, in hindsight, perhaps may have been better choosing a different career", Mr Rudkin said.


Mr Rudkin stressed there were "checks and balances in place" to ensure that all students taking the exam had successfully completed their pre-reg training, and the GPhC was keen to understand why some exam candidates had not "been able to make it through the whole process".



The GPhC continually reviewed its registration exams to ensure they were consistent and "kept pace with the demands placed upon the profession", Mr Rudkin said. He stressed that the September exam generally had a lower pass rate than the exam in June because it had a higher proportion of students who were sitting it for the second or third time. This year, 93 per cent of June candidates were sitting the exam for the first time, compared to 48 per cent in September.


Papers released ahead of the GPhC's latest council meeting last week (November 13) revealed that an analysis by its independent Board of Assessors had concluded that the exam was harder to pass than previous years. As a result, the pass mark had been lowered from 70 per cent to 68 per cent, the papers showed.


This year's September pass rate of 61 per cent was lower than 2013's 69 per cent but higher than September 2012's 58 per cent. This June, 85 per cent of candidates passed.


How can the GPhC improve registration exam pass rates? 

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