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Top tips for pharmacy students ranking their Oriel preferences

Going through the Oriel process can feel like a daunting task for pharmacy students. But it doesn't have to be, says C+D Community expert Zhyar Said

With a lot of uncertainty flowing around ranking Oriel preferences, wherever you choose, the vital element is your attitude and enthusiasm throughout the year. Take it from someone who did their trainee year during the COVID-19 pandemic, where any sort of training programmes went out the window. Yet, I still got 95% in the registration exam. Your placement provider is not the only thing that will help you qualify.

Sure, it will help, and obviously doing your best to select the right placement before it starts will help enable an enjoyable trainee year.

Nothing can guarantee a trainee year to go as smoothly as you’d hope. However, there are some things you may want to consider that could make a big impact.


Study hours


Most placements now give their trainees a set amount of time per day or week to study – I used to get one hour a day. Some will be paid, some won’t. Make sure to get the best option out of this. Study hours make a difference – especially if you spend it going through reliable revision materials.


Extra costs


Some trainee providers may take extra costs out of your salary. Most commonly, this comes in the form of a training course that you are put on with an external provider. A lot of employers cover this cost themselves, but some will take it out of your salary – with costs usually over £1,000. Make sure this is clarified before accepting your placement – you don’t want any unexpected costs!


Personal expenses


For most of you, this will be your first job. For some of you, you'll need to manage all your expenses yourself. Some of you may have dependants, and some may be paying rent, which may take up a large chunk of your salary, especially for those wanting to live in London.


Daily travel


Your workday may be long and tiring – but you don’t want that to extend into your commute as well. Make sure you consider the time, cost, and easiness of your commute. If you’re driving, make sure parking is accessible, and ideally free or reimbursed.




This is probably going to be quite hard to predict, but you can ask the pharmacy how many items they do a month and how many members of staff they have managing the workload. The last thing you want to be is just an extra pair of hands filling in a staffing deficit.


Your own personal needs


I’ve saved the most important tip until last. While the above points can shape your trainee year, they are only general tips. What’s important to one person may be different for somebody else. If there is anything else that would be important to you to have throughout your trainee year, don’t be afraid to ask the employer.

Good luck with your Oriel process!


Zhyar Said is one of C+D's Community experts and the owner of a trainee pharmacist educational platform on Instagram called @Revise_Pharma


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