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GPhC and PSNI announce pass rate of 61% for first common registration exam

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have announced a pass rate of 61% for the first common registration assessment held in November – an eight percentage point drop on the 2019 autumn exam.

This is the third registration exam the GPhC has held online and the first time all four UK countries have sat the assessment at the same time.

The pass rate announced by the GPhC and PSNI this morning (December 17) for the November sitting is 60.9%, an eight percentage point drop on the pass rate recorded for the 2019 autumn assessment and four percentage point drop on the 2018 autumn exam results.

However, it is a 20 percentage point hike on the record-low 2016 autumn assessment result.

A total of 959 candidates sat the exam on November 16, with 584 of those successfully passing. Of those candidates, 43% sat for the first time, 45% for the second time and 12% for the third time, the regulators wrote in their announcement.

A total of 283 provisionally registered pharmacists across Great Britain sat the November exam, recording a pass rate of 62.2%.


First common assessment

Commenting on the first jointly held registration assessment, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “We have worked closely with the PSNI to hold the first joint common registration assessment for trainee pharmacists in all four countries of the UK.

“Each assessment had to be carried out simultaneously across the UK to ensure a fair and robust process,” he added.

PSNI chief executive and interim registrar Trevor Patterson said: “We are delighted that the four-country common registration assessment, held jointly with the GPhC, has been successfully and safely delivered during the ongoing pandemic and we are grateful to colleagues in the GPhC for their support and assistance in Northern Ireland.”

The GPhC held three registration sittings throughout this year, after postponing all exams in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Candidates participating in the first two assessments of 2021 – in March and July – did so online.

A record pass rate of 88.2% was achieved for the first-ever online exam in March, while 81.6% of candidates passed the July exam.

Candidates once again sat exams in person at Pearson Vue test centres throughout the UK this November, though the GPhC allowed a “limited number” of them to request to sit the assessment remotely.

The regulator emphasised the “potential challenges” candidates could face if they chose to sit remotely on its website, stating that a “significant number of remote sitters encounter problems with maintaining suitable testing conditions which are quiet and without interruptions” and might have interruptions to their internet connection or have to take the exam at “unsociable hours”.

The GPhC admitted in July that up to four candidates could not sit the second paper “due to a system failure in one test centre”.

How did you get on in this year's registration exam? Find support and advice on your next steps in the pre-reg room on the C+D Community

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