Candidates who sat June’s pre-registration exam felt the assessment did not reflect pharmacists’ day-to-day practice, a student body has told the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Students told the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) that paper two of last month’s pre-registration assessment was ‘not a true nor accurate reflection of real life practice of the day-to day practice of a newly pharmacist’.

The BPSA said that some candidates felt the multiple-choice questions gave limited clinical options where others may have been more appropriate.


Setting out response


A GPhC spokesperson told The Pharmacist: ‘We have recently met with the BPSA to discuss their feedback, and we will be producing a report for the September 2018 council meeting setting out our responses to the concerns raised.’

The regulator said it meets with the BPSA after every sitting of the registration assessment to discuss candidates’ feedback.

The BPSA feedback follows an anonymous petition – which had received over 1,600 signatures at the time of writing – describing the GPhC examination papers as ‘not suited for aspiring pharmacists’.

The GPhC met BPSA president Junel Ahmed and graduate officer Abdallah Alkhalf last Monday (16 July) to discuss the recommendations made by the BPSA.


Not accurate picture


The registration assessment, which comprises two separate papers, is part of the overall criteria for students to register as pharmacists.

According to the BPSA, 45% of the 266 students who sent their feedback believed the second paper of the assessment was ‘not a true nor accurate reflection of the day to day practice of a newly qualified pharmacist’.


Wordy, unclear and complex


Some candidates also found that the paper was too long and some questions were ‘excessively worded’ and ambiguous, with 77% saying there were too ‘many complex calculation' questions.

‘Candidates have expressed disappointment that after five years of hard work and positive progress, it comes down to passing a paper which isn’t a true representation of the registration assessment framework and day-to-day practice to become a registered pharmacist’, the BPSA reported.

The GPhC will consider the BPSA’s recommendations in its September meeting, it said.