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GPhC: June pre-reg exam pass rate up to 79%

Pre-registration examination candidates received their results from the GPhC today (July 27).
Pre-registration examination candidates received their results from the GPhC today (July 27).

The pass rate for this June's registration exam has increased by one percentage point compared to last year, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said.

This year’s pass rate of 79% “compares with 78.2% for the June 2017 assessment”, the regulator announced today (July 27).

A total of 2,942 candidates sat the assessment in June 2018, and 2,318 trainees passed.

To view the pass list for the June 2018 exam click here.

How have June pass rates varied since 2011?

However, the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association said it received “little or no positive feedback” from students on paper two of the assessment.

A petition protesting the June pre-registration exam has garnered over 1,600 signatures.

How did you do in the exam? Listen to C+D’s podcasts to learn what you should do next.

If you passed, this article explains how to prepare for life as a pharmacist.

If you were unsuccessful, this article describes how you can come back from a setback.

14 Comments
Question: 
How did you find the registration exam?

Sharon Povey, Community pharmacist

As a tutor I get feedback in the aftermath each year, and the worry seems to be there before the results come out, even with the most able of students. But there do seem to be some common themes raised each year. Noise in the exam hall is one issue (at Exel). This year one candidate had to ask the invigilators to stop talking. That’s just not on. 

The other common complaint is the speed at which questions must be answered. In real life none of us rush to dispense a Rx, so I’ve never quite understood why the exam should have to rely so much on speed reading. It does not reflect the standards that I expect in the workplace where speed must be balanced against safety. I wonder how different the student feedback would be each year if there was an extra 30 mins per paper to allow a calmer approach to each question. 

Sharon Povey, Community pharmacist

 

I think I need to clarify !! Of course we all dispense and check at break neck speed, I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t!! But I wouldn’t rush a calculation for a dose for a baby, and would always check the Dr’s dose against the BNF using the child’s weight before final checking. These Rxs we all take a bit of extra time on. I think the exam allows 90 seconds per question (I may be wrong). Apparently some questions take longer than that to read!! The exam is to check knowledge, not dispensing speed and ability to multitask  that’s what the tutors do through the year with the 13 week assessments. I getvthem up to speed by week 39, and I wouldn’t let them sit the exam if they weren’t up to scratch. I’m just commenting on what they all say every year. I’ve only had one prereg fail. They missed the pass mark by 1% and had run out of time on the paper - one of the best students I’ve had and has had an amazing career since. 

 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Hi Sharon, I applaude your efforts in preparing students for a life in pharmacy but must take you to task. I understand that noise in an exam is distracting but look at the noise levels in most pharmacies - patients talking, phones ringing etc - so you could argue that the exam reflects reality. Also, (and has been mentioned by others) while we balance speed & safety, you need to be able to process things quickly AND accurately ("either/or" is not an option in the real world). It's not realistic to suggest patients should give us more time "to allow a calmer approach", however much we might wish it

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Sharon, what you suggest panders to the low ability candidates, especially now with all the talk of de-stressing those who are unable to handle more than a few scripts at a time. I say given the manpower situation in pharmacy, the admit and pass anyone universities, the quality of the candidates (we now draw on about 50% of school leavers), the exam needs to be harder and pass only those who can handle it or psychometric out the unsuitable personality types. 

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

I cannot agree that there is not a time pressure in Pharmacy. When you really reflect on your practice, you do not think that there is a time pressure, but you are making multiple decisions very quickly because you have learned over time what the answers are to those problems. When you know the easy stuff, then you can spend some time making decisions on the tricky stuff. 

While we have a situation where on day one a pharmacist has the same professional standing as someone who has been qualified for 10, 20, 30 years there has to be some element of real life decision making which is quick. 

There are few professions where you walk out on day one and thats it, that may be the real issue! 

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Really, did you notice Sharon said ‘in real life none of us rush to dispense a Rx’? Lol.  

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

Lol indeed! As I said before, if you cannot make the simple decisions quickly, then how the hell do you even make it as far as the difficult ones??? When you have two or three 15 item scripts waiting with missing items so one of the staff is on the phone to the surgery while you are checking some small ones, then your staff member and the secretary at the surgery cannot even pronounce the name of the drug half the time, so you end up having to speak to them too... while there is a child with a rash waiting to see you, another person with 'conjuctivits' (it rarely is) and some vaccines that were booked in......maybe a morning after pill too...  thats real life..... and if you are not doing that then you are definitely not working for me.. and your pharmacy is probably going to go bust.... Welcome to Reality people :-) 

79% seems quite a high pass rate. I did my exam in 2002 and this seems very odd to me - the student body compiling a report telling off the examiner for making their questions too hard? I expect the vast majority of those 1600 signatories came from the ‘did not pass’ section, and this speaks volumes. Naughty GPhC, did you go about making these students lives unfairly stressful? What’s next in this mad world, BPSA vs. GPhC for obstructing a students’ right to a cushy ride?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I wonder how many of those who signed the petition passed the exam? Furthermore, I wonder how many of those who passed and signed the petition will refuse their registration as a matter of principle because they say the exam was not appropriate and therefore, by their own argument, means they are not competent to be a pharmacist.

New Pharmacist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

See what you are saying, but does the exam even assess a pre regs competency? Im glad I passed and I didnt sign the petition (thought it was hard but fair), but I believe the exam should be scrapped and instead we should have more frequent appraisals?

 

I just think theres no way an MCQ test can tell us whether someone is fit to practise as a pharmacist or not

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

I think its a complete joke to have a petition on the exam being inappropriate before even the results are out. Shows the general level of intelligence that is now infiltrating the pharmacy world (I purposely did not use the word profession). 

This belief that they have a right to pass is sickening and is something that is not seen anywhere else, as far as I am aware. 

Its been the case for many Royal College exams that pass rates for doctors sitting for the first time are on average 50%, and much lower in some specialities. 

I deplore the fact that we seem to turning out these entitled graduates who are already trying to blame someone else even before they know the results. 

How does that fit in with the duty of candour?

New Pharmacist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I agree. Hands up how many pharmacists find pharmacy a difficult profession? Exactly. So the exam should be reflective of that, which basically means no student should expect the exam to be a walk in the park, no matter how much they may think they have revised

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I just had a look at that list, so many of them started their careers as moaners and whingers! They'll go far.

Mr Sainsbury, not just the exam, much in pharmacy besides exams are not appropriate.

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

Somehow, I knew this was coming as a way to gloss over the fact that the exam was not appropriate.

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