In an email update sent earlier this month (February 2) to 69 provisionally registered and pre-registration pharmacists currently residing in countries with more than six hours’ time difference to the UK, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said “it is now no longer feasible” for them to sit the March registration assessment outside of the UK.
C+D received a flurry of messages from overseas students following the communication, who joined forces to send out a common message of “disappointment” and “despair” at the GPhC’s email and offer suggestions as to how they might be able to sit the March exam.
In an update posted on its website today (February 15), the GPhC said it was aware its announcement “caused significant frustration and disappointment for candidates”. As a result, it has now made available a “limited” number of remote slots for candidates in countries with a time difference of two hours or more to sit the March exam at home.
These remote sittings are “subject to availability” and would mean “candidates would sit the assessment concurrently with UK candidates…during unsociable hours in their country”, the GPhC warned.
“We would highlight that we cannot guarantee that every candidate will be able to book a place for a remote sitting,” it added and “overseas candidates sitting remotely could also face challenges due to the potential difficulties of home environments, suitable technology and internet connections”.
“We would therefore encourage candidates to think carefully about whether they do want to apply to sit in March or if they want to wait until a later sitting, when it may possibly be more feasible for them to travel to the UK Great Britain and sit in a test centre,” the regulator advised.
C+D has asked how many remote sitting slots are available.
Not feasible to sit exam in test centres
In their messages, overseas candidates said they would be “willing to bear extra costs” to sit the exam in a Pearson VUE test centre in their residing country.
However, the GPhC said today that it is “still unable to find a feasible way for candidates in countries with a time difference of two hours or more to sit in test centres in these countries”.
“Unfortunately, due to the time difference between the UK and some countries where potential candidates are currently living, it is not possible for them to attend a local test centre during opening hours and sit the assessment concurrently with UK candidates,” the GPhC said.
“Pearson VUE has also confirmed again that it is not possible for the test centres they use in these countries to open late to accommodate candidates sitting concurrently with UK candidates,” it added.
The GPhC is contacting candidates directly with further details.