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Which university scored the highest March registration exam pass rate?

The overall pass rate for the March exam was 88.2%
The overall pass rate for the March exam was 88.2%

The University of Nottingham has recorded the highest first-attempt pass rate in the March registration exam sitting, the GPhC's first ever online assessment.

The pass rate for the first-ever online General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment was 88.2%, it was announced in April.

The University of Nottingham registered a first-attempt pass rate of 99.4% – the highest of all schools of pharmacies whose candidates sat the exam in March, according to GPhC council papers published ahead of its meeting this week (June 10).

The University College London reported the second-highest first-attempt pass rate at 98.1%.

Meanwhile, the University of Central Lancashire and Kingston University reported first-attempt pass rates lower than 80%. The University of Central Lancashire’s pass rate was the lowest at 52% – which is, however, 5.3 percentage points higher than its June 2019 exam results – while Kingston University’s pass rate was 79.8%.

What did the universities with the highest and lowest first-attempt pass rate have to say?

No comparisons with previous years

The GPhC said in its council papers that “comparisons with previous pass rates cannot be made” as the March sitting was “atypical due to the pandemic”.

“Alongside resitting candidates, some candidates have been pre-registration trainees for six to eight months longer than usual and others have been working as provisional registrants,” the GPhC wrote. “There is no objective way of quantifying the impact of either condition on the pass rate.”

Lowest pass rates

There were 277 candidates who had selected their ethnicity as “Black or Black British: African” and attempted the registration assessment for the first time, according to GPhC data.

Candidates that identified as this ethnicity were found to have the lowest pass rate, at 80.51%. The pass rate was slightly higher for the 149 candidates who identified as "Asian or Asian British: Other", at 80,54%. Meanwhile, the pass rate for the 559 candidates who said their background was “White: British” was 96.6%.

Candidates who completed their pre-registration training in a community pharmacy or were working in the same sector as provisionally registered pharmacists were reported to have the lowest pass rate at 85.8%, while the pass rate among those completing a hospital/GP training programme hit 100%.



“An enormously challenging year”

Commenting on the high pass rate of the University of Nottingham MPharm graduates, head of school of pharmacy Clive Roberts told C+D today (June 8) that “it’s been an enormously challenging year for all graduates working in healthcare”.

“We are of course very proud of our graduates achieving such a high pass rate of 99.43% and wish them comparable success in their future pharmacy careers,” Professor Roberts said.

“We are particularly thankful in this assessment achievement to our dedicated expert staff team led by Mr Gautam Paul, who supports student preparation for foundation and provides continued support beyond graduation,” Professor Roberts added.

University of Central Lancashire: Last cohort from old course

Colin Davidson, head of the University of Central Lancashire’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, told C+D today that the university is disappointed in the latest results, “although the average mark and pass rate have increased on the previous assessment”.

He said that this was the last cohort of sitters from the old MPharm course, “which was accredited in 2010”.

The graduates who enrolled on the MPharm course accredited in 2016 will sit the next assessment in July, said Professor Davidson, who added that the university expects “an improved performance in future registration assessments”.

“The new MPharm programme is substantially different to the 2010 programme, reflecting the changing nature of the pharmacy profession. [It] provides more experiential learning through patient [and] public engagement and interprofessional education,” Professor Davidson added.

Full breakdown by pharmacy school:

Pharmacy school
First-attempt pass rate
Aston University
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bradford (four-year degree)
University of Bradford (five-year degree)
University of Brighton
Cardiff University
University of Central Lancashire
De Montfort University
University of East Anglia
University of Hertfordshire
University of Huddersfield
Keele University
King's College London
Kingston University
University of Lincoln
Liverpool John Moores University
University of Manchester
Medway School of Pharmacy
University of Newcastle
University of Nottingham
University of Portsmouth
University of Reading
Robert Gordon University
University of Strathclyde
University of Sunderland
University of Sunderland (OSPAP)
University College London
University of Wolverhampton

Source: GPhC council meeting papers, June 2021

*This article was updated on June 9 to include the pass rates for candidates of Asian or Asian British: Other background

How did your university fared at the March 2021 registration exam?

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

Would have been more helpful if it was sorted into highest to lowest pass rate instead of being alphabetical.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Basically old universities pre 2000 did ok pretty much. Universities accredited after 2000 not so good with the occasional exception like Medway.

The problem is pharmacy schools are now recruiting. They are not selecting, like medical and dental schools do.

On our first day in the late 80s we were told for everyone of us sitting there, Dr B. the admission's tutor had rejected 7 or 8 other candidates. This was when there were 15 schools of pharmacy in the UK.

The reason the newer schools have lower pass rates is they take candidates that wouldn't have got on the course in the 80s and 90s. I hate to sound like an academic snob, but you would only need to ask for the A level grades.
Nottingham and Bath and Cardiff, etc would have AAB candidates. The newer courses at the old polys, trying to widen access will take CCC.
Therein lies your problem. Since universities were turned into a business by Tony Blair, and let run the same under Cameron, they now want that 9.25k a year. And they will push you through the degree as best they can, then you're on your own. Plus with pre-registration these days, you're an extra pair of hands, there is little to no study time during the day and must all be done in your own time after working a 40/45 hour week.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

You should see some of the newly qualified dross that work as locums. Poor command of English, urban English etc etc


This is what happens when you open up the degree to sundry and all

P M, Community pharmacist


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