Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Registration assessment

Almost 600 student pharmacists complain about registration assessment

Candidates were concerned about the questions used in the exam they sat in June 2017, as well as the noisy assessment centre and the confusing instructions they received.

classroom exam room


Nearly all the candidates who wrote in with feedback were critical of the assessment process

Almost 600 student pharmacists have complained about the length, complexity and relevance of questions in their General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment, which they sat this June.

The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) said that by 8 July 2017, it had received 582 emails to an email address it set up specifically to receive feedback from candidates who sat this exam, with almost all of them critical of the process.

Candidates also complained about a noisy exam centre, cramped desk space and confusing instructions.

The vast majority of complaints were about paper 2 in the assessment. Of the 582 candidates who contacted the BPSA, “574 candidates had little to no positive feedback regarding the assessment”, according to the BPSA.

More than 500 students complained that the assessment was not a true or accurate reflection of real practice, and many said it did not reflect the practice of newly qualified pharmacists.

Others complained of the “unrealistic time constraints” of the assessment.

Ambiguity of some questions was also a cause for concern, and 147 candidates wrote to say that a number of questions were unclear in their wording and so could have been interpreted in different ways.

One question about counselling provided to a patient with oral thrush was highlighted by a number of students, who said there were two equally viable answers to the scenario.

Candidates also complained that the structure of extended matching questions (EMQs) in paper 2 bore no resemblance to sample EMQs in the mock assessments. They said they were expected to survey summary of product characteristics (SPCs) and other resources, which left them short of time.

The BPSA pointed out that of the 10 sample EMQs provided by the GPhC in the preregistration manual, only one of them required resources.

The BPSA has previously made recommendations to the GPhC in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 on the registration assessment following feedback from members. All of the proposed changes were accepted by the GPhC, and Beenish Zafar Chaudhry, graduate officer at the BPSA, said this had led to “improvements in the assessment experience for trainees”.

The GPhC meets with the BPSA after every sitting of the registration assessment to discuss feedback, and a report on this June’s exam will be submitted to the GPhC’s September council meeting.

This article was updated on 28 July 2017 to include information on the GPhC’s response.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203292

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions features over 400 closed book and calculation questions. With the registration exam having gone through a complete transformation in 2016, this volume has been developed around the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) guidelines.

    £32.00Buy now
  • Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice

    Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice

    Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice contains 600 practice-oriented pharmacy exam questions. Includes both open- and closed-book sections.

    £29.00Buy now
  • Community Pharmacy Handbook

    Community Pharmacy Handbook

    Community Pharmacy Handbook is a survival guide for community pharmacists and students, answering your practical questions. Includes case studies.

    £32.00Buy now
  • Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Explains the methodology and requirements of pre-clinical safety assessments of new medicines. Includes registration requirements and pharmacovigilance.

    £39.00Buy now
  • Hospital Pre-registration Pharmacist Training

    Hospital Pre-registration Pharmacist Training

    A practical explanation for undergraduates and pre-registration trainees. Shows what to expect from a hospital pre-registration pharmacist training programme.

    £24.00Buy now
  • International Research in Healthcare

    International Research in Healthcare

    Guidance for students or researchers undertaking a multi-centre research project in health services, medicines use and professional practice.

    £37.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • classroom-exam-room-15

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.