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

The preregistration interview

Competition for preregistration trainee positions is currently at itspeak. This is due mainly to an increase in the number of pharmacy graduatesand a stagnation in the number of posts available for preregistrationtrainees. So it is paramount to have a competitive edge to single one’sself out from the rest of the crowd

For the preregistration year, students can apply for trainee positionsin any of the three main sectors in pharmacy: hospital, community andindustry. Over 90 per cent of students apply for hospital or communitypharmacy. Industrial preregistration placements are limited. Not allcompanies participate in the programme, so it is worth contacting thedrug companies that interest you to find out whether they offer a placementor not. Companies that do offer a placement usually combine it with timespent in either the hospital or community sector.

It is advisable that students do not limit themselves by merely applyingto one particular sector. The aim of the game is to have a preregistrationplacement, so it is best to apply to all sectors in order to increaseyour chances of success. Once you have passed the qualifying examination,you can then specialise in the sector you feel best suits you.

The preregistration interview is one of the most daunting experiencesfor undergraduate students to face. In order to understand the ideas,concerns and expectations of students with regards to the interview process,fourth-year students at the School of Pharmacy, University of London,have been interviewed. No doubt, the sentiments they expressed will besimilar to other students and below are some of their views.

“Saying the right thing on the day and establishing agood relationship with the interviewers was a concern for me. Iwas worriedabout getting clinical questions right.”

“The questions worried me the most. I was not sure ifI was answering the questions the way they wanted me to.”

What worried you most about the interview?

“Saying the right thing on the day and establishing a good relationshipwith the interviewers was a concern for me. I was worried about gettingclinical questions right.”

“The questions worried me the most. I was not sure if I was answeringthe questions the way they wanted me to.”

Is there anything that would have helped you prepare better?

“Having a mock interview would have beenuseful as well as sample interview questions.”

“Having a mock interview would have been useful as well as sampleinterview questions.”

“I wish I had done a hospital placement. It would have saved metime reading up on issues such as ‘how do hospital pharmacistswork’, etc. I had to learn it all from scratch.”

Was the interview experience as you expected? How?

“Yes. I had prepared well and done the research. The structurewas similar to what I had prepared.”

“Not really. I expected it to be more difficult and intense.”

“They did not ask as many clinical questions as I anticipated.”

“No. I thought you had to ask lots of questions but it was medoing most of the answering.”

“No. I thought the interview would be knowledge based. They askedquestions on different areas of the undergraduate course, but there weremore clinical questions. My community interview was more competenciesbased.”

As you can gather, perceptions of the interview process vary from personto person. This can depend on where you are applying. Before attendinginterviews, try to talk to preregistration trainees who work at the hospitalor company to which you have applied. This will prepare you better forthe big day and also remove the “fear of the unknown” factor,by giving you a brief insight on what to expect.

Below are some real questions which have been asked at hospital, communityand industry interviews:


  1. What is TDM and what is it used for? Can you give some examples ofdrugs that are monitored in this way?
  2. What counselling points would you give to a patient on antibiotics?
  3. What is the difference between salbutamol and beclometasone inhalers?
  4. How would you counsel someone on metronidazole?

Work place

  1. What would you say to a colleague, also a pharmacist, who was complainingthat a technician was taking over your roles?
  2. Can you give us a situation during your community placement wherea customer was dissatisfied? How did you deal with it? How did you manageto turn the situation around?


  1. Which do you prefer: lab work or ward work? Why?
  2. What is customer service? How do you give good customer service? Tellus about one time you had to provide good customer service.
  3. You lived in the same place from primary school until university,so how can you demonstrate that you can be a responsible and an independentperson?

More questions, including those on teamwork, academia, motivation,ethics, professional development, policies and protocols, and the NHScan befound in the Pharmaceutical Press publication ‘The pre-registrationinterview: preparation for the application process’ which willbe available from May 2007. This book also contains further informationon summer placements, where and how to apply for preregistration positions,the process of application, what employers are looking for, how to conductyourself on the day of the interview and what to do if it all goes wrong.

This book is intended to examine students’ ideas, concerns andexpectations of the entire interview process. By addressing these, itis hoped that students will be more knowledgeable about the applicationprocess.

To purchase a copy of ‘The pre-registration interview’:
• Order online at
• By e-mail: UK and worldwide (excluding the Americas)
• By telephone: 01767 604971
• By Fax: 01767 601640

Pharmaceutical Press is an imprint of RPS Publishing, the publishingorganisation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. RPS Publishing is aleading international provider of books, textbooks, major reference works,journals and digital products. To find out more about RPS Publishing,go to To go directly to the Pharmaceutical Presswebsite visit

The Pre-registrationInterview: preparation for the application process’ by Nadia Bukhari. Price: £15.95. London: PharmaceuticalPress; 2007.
ISBN: 0 85369 698 5

Nadia Bukhari is the preregistration co-ordinator at the Schoolof Pharmacy, University of London, and has recently been assignedthe role of programme manager for the Master’s of Pharmacycourse


Citation: Tomorrow's Pharmacist URI: 10003271

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

  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 1 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £138.50Buy now
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 2 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £262.50Buy now
  • Pharmaceutical Statistics

    Pharmaceutical Statistics

    This book on basic statistics has been specifically written for pharmacy students.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations Workbook

    Pharmaceutical Calculations Workbook

    Pharmaceutical Calculations Workbook contains practice calculations and answers, similar to those in pharmacy exams and in practice.

    £27.00Buy 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.

    £30.00Buy 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

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

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