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University records first-attempt pre-reg pass rate in September of 22%

The GPhC only published the September pass rates of three universities
The GPhC only published the September pass rates of three universities

The University of Brighton recorded a first-attempt pass rate of 21.7% in the September pre-reg exam, the GPhC has revealed.

Only five of the 23 candidates from the university sitting the assessment for the first time passed, according to figures shared by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in its latest council papers published last week.

This marks a drop on the 40% first-attempt pass rate at the university in September 2018, and the 51.6% pass rate for June 2019.

A spokesperson for the University of Brighton said its efforts to “widen participation” through a “very diverse graduating cohort”, as well as a “greater proportion of our graduates” choosing placements in community pharmacy settings could be potential factors.

They stressed that its students do not suffer from the pass-rate gap for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students “seen elsewhere in the sector”.

However, this “significant BAME achievement gap, and lower performance from graduates who undertake community, rather than hospital-based placements”, revealed by GPhC data for pharmacy schools across the UK, “may be impacting the overall success rates” of its own students, they said.

The university continues to improve its MPharm course, including expanding its offer with “additional numeracy preparation, and targeted study support based on early diagnostic testing, as well as a programme of employability preparation focused on the pre-registration year and registration examinations”.

Speaking exclusively to C+D last month, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said universities choosing to “widen access” to their pharmacy courses may be one of “multiple factors” behind low pre-reg exam pass rates, and the regulator is meeting with the five universities who reported the lowest June pass rates to “make sure they are interrogating their data intelligently”.

Other September pass rates

The GPhC only reports the September pass rate data for universities with at least 20 students taking the exam for the first time. In 2019 this was also the University of Central Lancashire – with 53.6% – and the University of Sunderland, which reported the highest pass rate of the three at 65.4%.

The University of Central Lancashire registered a 46.7% pass rate in the June exam and told C+D yesterday (December 9) that “while recent exam results have been disappointing”, it continues to make “significant investments” to its pharmacy course.

Its course has been “completely redesigned to reflect the increasing clinical components and wider career opportunities for graduates of the programme”.

“In addition, we are now undertaking considerable work to support students from the point of graduation on to the point of taking the registration exam a year later, including online resources, practice tests and, most recently, the development and rollout of an app [that] students have found really helpful,” faculty of clinical and biomedical sciences executive dean Professor Cathy Jackson said.

Dr Adrian Moore, head of the University of Sunderland’s school of pharmacy said: “While this year’s pass rate for the September pre-registration exam is showing a slight dip compared to previous results for this sitting, at 65.4% for ‘first attempt’ MPharm students, our graduate performance remains above the national average (61.0%).”

11 Comments
Question: 
How did you find the September registration exam?

Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

If the exam is as relevant and useful as the GPhC's CPD and revalidation then it's not surprising so many are failing. 

C A, Community pharmacist

"They stressed that its students do not suffer from the pass-rate gap for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students “seen elsewhere in the sector”."

 

Damn that's some election level spin for "all our students did equally terribly" 

Hannah Darling, Community pharmacist

Maybe schools of pharmacy with consistently poor pass rates should be sanctioned? Or closed?

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'Maybe schools of pharmacy with consistently poor pass rates should be sanctioned? Or closed?'

A degree is now a commodity to be sold on the open market. You would be denying the customer their consumer rights.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Is it just me that thinks getting a degree and a professional qualification should have some degree of uphill struggle?

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

That was once the case. But Boots can't be expected to pay a reasonable salary to such professionals. Better to let anyone and everyone through and pay peanuts. What about patient safety I hear you cry - Don't worry ! The GPhC will protect the public.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

well spoken!

C A, Community pharmacist

Your comment feels a bit like saying - "look at this bomb, oh don't worry it's perfectly safe, we painted it yellow. That thin layer of paint will protect everybody. No it's not chipped. Stop looking at it... "

R A, Community pharmacist

I think this quote sums up the broken UK education system:

“widen participation” through a “very diverse graduating cohort”

Instead of being meritocratic and allowing the best students to succeed, society and politicians insist on leveling the playing field allowing the mediocre student to compete. At the same time failing to accept that its unlikely to yield the desired effect.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Exactly right. Most of the summer students we get now are ' not of the calibre of our day and wouldn't have got on the course '; said a colleague to me earlier this year, and I'm afraid I have to agree.  Back then there were 15 schools of pharmacy and it was competitive like Medicine. We were told for everyone of us sitting there, Dr.B. the admissions tutor, had rejected 6 or 7 others. Now it is recruitment not selection. It must be bad when you have Russell Group Unis in Clearing for Pharmacy, when back in the day, 30 yrs ago, you were lucky to get Leicester poly or Sunderland poly in Clearing. 

 

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'Instead of being meritocratic and allowing the best students to succeed, society and politicians insist on leveling the playing field allowing the mediocre student to compete'

Everybody must be allowed to feel like they are climbing the socioeconomic ladder, regardless of whether they actually are and regardless of how much the illusion costs.

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