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Education and training

Delayed preregistration exam must be sat in person, pharmacy regulator says

The General Pharmaceutical Council confirmed that the delayed summer 2020 preregistration assessment will take place at test centres on 17 and 18 March 2021.

pre reg exam


Candidates for the delayed preregistration assessment will have to travel to a test centre run by Pearson VUE

Candidates sitting the heavily delayed summer 2020 preregistration assessment will have to travel to an examination centre to sit the papers in person, the pharmacy regulator has said.

In a letter to candidates, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said the assessment would take place over two days — 17 and 18 March 2021 — with different papers set on each day.

Candidates will have to travel to a test centre run by Pearson VUE, the company overseeing the assessment for the GPhC this year.

The regulator announced in March 2020 that the summer assessment would be delayed, and then said in June 2020 that it would be held online.

In the letter to candidates, Mark Voce, director of education and standards at the GPhc, wrote: “I appreciate it has taken us longer than we would have liked to finalise the arrangements. We have worked through a number of issues relating to the overall security of the assessment and practical considerations to ensure the assessment is fair for candidates.

“In particular, we have listened carefully to the concerns that some candidates have had about sitting the online registration assessment at their home due to issues such as internet connections, available technology and suitable home environments.”

The letter said that candidates could request a “reasonable adjustment” if they believe there is a reason they could be disadvantaged when sitting the exam, but that adjustments granted for the previously arranged June 2020 exam would not be carried over. Candidates hoping not to have to travel to an exam centre to sit the assessment should use this mechanism, the letter said.

It also said that, while the way candidates sit the exam will be different this year, the types of questions used and the standard needed to pass will not change.

Gail Fleming, director for education at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “We’re glad that the delayed assessment date has finally been confirmed. We welcome the use of Pearson VUE centres — this is a model that trainees in England and Wales will be familiar with when applying for preregistration posts.

“Trainees will be concerned about reasonable adjustments, especially when there may be a last-minute change, such as a requirement to self-isolate at short notice. We’re now urging GPhC to act quickly to publish the further details they have committed to providing. These are urgently needed to alleviate the ongoing concerns of those due to sit the assessment.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208611

Readers' comments (2)

  • I understand there were problems they had to solve before releasing the date, but it has taken far too long and this has affected many provisional pharmacists! There were no regular updates which meant many provisional pharmacists were wandering in the dark with very little information on how COVID-19 will impacts their future careers! The RPS has rightfully described this delay as 'very disappointing'.

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  • It would be good to hear an update from GPhC NOW in relation to planned dates in March. Can they realistically take place whilst participants are in tier 4 (with associated travel restrictions), hospitals in crisis, staff shortages due to illness, extra shifts, and 9 months already working as a Pharmacist.

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