The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will revamp its registration exam in 2016 to allow candidates to better demonstrate their clinical abilities, it has announced.
The independent board of assessors responsible for overseeing the exam had agreed that “significant changes” were needed to ensure the assessment reflected “current best practice” in education, the GPhC said today (December 16).
All open book sources for the exam, including the BNF, would be replaced with materials pharmacists would come into contact with during clinical practice, such as patient information leaflets, the GPhC said.
Students would also be allowed to use calculators in one of the papers, the regulator said, and there would be new questions that tested a candidate's decision-making through different variations of the same scenario.
The assessment syllabus would be reformatted to align with the GPhC’s standards for training pharmacists, published in 2011, it said. The launch of the new exam would coincide with the first cohort of students who had trained under these revised standards sitting the assessment and not affect those sitting the exam next year, the GPhC stressed.
GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the “scope of pharmacy and its role in healthcare” had changed “significantly” since the registration exam was introduced in 1993, and the amendments would allow candidates to “demonstrate their ability as more clinically competent pharmacists”. The candidates due to sit the exam in 2016 and those training them would be given “plenty of notice” of the changes, he added.
The GPhC had invited key stakeholders to attend one of two briefing meetings in February and March, where they would be given more details of what the revised exam would look like, the regulator said.
The GPhC changed the assessment last year to include more scenario-based questions and "fewer factual recall questions". The pass rate for the 2013 June registration exam dropped to 78 per cent from the previous year's rate of 95 per cent.