Almost one in seven candidates passed September’s pharmacy registration exam, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced today (25 October).

Of 1,057 candidates who sat the exam last month, 69% (731) achieved a pass mark, compared with a pass rate of 65% for last year’s September sitting of the exam.

In July, it was revealed that the pass rate for the June registration assessment had plummeted to its lowest level since the GPhC took responsibility for the exam in 2011, at 72%.

The June exam attracted controversy, with a student body reporting that some candidates felt the assessment was skewed towards hospital pharmacy.

Meanwhile, The Pharmacist reported earlier this month that lower pass rates for community placements are linked to the ‘quality’ of pre-reg tuition and students within the sector, according to the GPhC.

Today, GPhC chief Duncan Rudkin congratulated all trainees who passed the September assessment, adding that he looks forward to them joining the regulator’s register.


Placement before re-sits axed


This week (21 October), the GPhC updated its pre-registration manual to say that from 2020 it will remove the requirement for students who wish to re-sit the registration assessment to complete a mandatory six-month placement.

A spokesperson for the regulator said that this was to allow trainees to ‘reflect’ on their performance in the exam and ‘form [their] own plan to address the issues [they] identify’.

They added: ‘Although there is no longer a formal requirement to complete any further pharmacy work experience, you may still want to continue with a current placement or to arrange work experience before your next assessment sitting, if you feel that this would help you prepare to sit the assessment again.’

The majority of September’s candidates were re-sitting the assessment, with 59% (627) taking the exam for the second time and 8% (84) for the third time.

Those re-sitting the exam for the second time achieved the highest results, with a pass rate of 76%, compared with 61% for first attempts and 51% for third attempts.

Trainee pharmacists are permitted three attempts at the registration assessment.

The full analysis of the assessment will be discussed by the GPhC council in December, the GPhC added.