Sitting the registration assessment in March 2021

All you need to know to apply for and to sit the registration assessment in March 2021

Sitting details

Eligibility to sit

Applying to sit the assessment

Sitting locations

Requesting a reasonable adjustment

Fit to sit

Preparing for the assessment

On the day guidance

Results and registration

Sitting dates

The sitting will take place on:

  • Wednesday 17 March 2021
  • Thursday 18 March 2021

Sitting details

The registration assessment regulations [PDF 291 KB] set out key information and rules that cover this sitting of the assessment. The appendix to the regulations [PDF 213 KB] applies to remote sittings.

The registration assessment specification [PDF 239 KB] sets out how the assessment will be run and will help you decide if you need to request a reasonable adjustment.

The registration assessment framework [PDF 209 KB] sets out the outcomes that will be tested and gives an idea of some of the topics this sitting of the assessment may cover.

Eligibility to sit

To sit the March 2021 assessment, we must have received a record of either your:

a)    week 39 progress report completed as satisfactory, or
b)    successful application to join the provisional register 

Applying to sit the assessment

If you meet the criteria above, the deadline to submit your application to sit through my GPhC was 5.00 pm on Tuesday 26 January 2021.

Shortly after this deadline, if you are eligible to sit, we confirmed this by email.

Important: This confirmation letter you receive from us does not mean that you will automatically be entered to sit the assessment, even if you are eligible to do so. If you intend to sit, you must book a place through Pearson VUE.

You will receive an email shortly with information to set up your Pearson VUE account. You will need to book your assessment sitting using this account.

See the Overview of the registration process webinar presentation, which sets out the next steps you will need to take to sit the assessment, after receiving confirmation that you are approved to sit.

Sitting locations

You will sit the assessment at a Pearson Vue test centre, using the Pearson online system. There are over 200 centres across the UK.

As there is a limited capacity at each test centre, we recommend that you consider a range of centres in case your first choice is not available, and that you choose and book a test centre as soon as possible. You will be able to choose from slots on both days, subject to availability.

If you believe you are not able to sit the assessment at a test centre due to a particular health condition, for example, you can request to sit remotely as a reasonable adjustment.

Requesting a reasonable adjustment

If you have a specific need which you feel could disadvantage you when sitting the registration assessment, you can request a ‘reasonable adjustment’. You will need to identify your condition, provide evidence of your diagnosis from a suitably qualified professional, and tell us what adjustment you consider would mitigate your disadvantage.

The deadline for requesting a reasonable adjustment was 12.00 midday on Monday 11 January 2021. There is no process for dealing with late adjustment requests for this sitting.

As the way the assessment will take place has changed, we will not be carrying over any requests previously granted- you will need to apply again, although you may be able to use your medical evidence again. Please read the guidance for more information.

See the reasonable adjustments guidance and application form for more information

If you receive the outcome of your adjustment request and want to appeal the decision that has been made, you can do this by completing and submitting an appeal form. You must return the form to us by Friday 26 February 2021.

Download the reasonable adjustment appeal form  [Word 1 MB] 

Are you fit to sit?

It is very important that you only sit the registration assessment if you are fit to do so. Being ‘fit to sit’ means that you do not know of any reason why your performance would be adversely affected on the day of the assessment.

If you are aware of anything that might affect your performance on the day, you should not sit the assessment – even if it is a difficult decision to make. You are eligible to withdraw from a sitting at any time up until the assessment begins.

If you decide to withdraw, you must use the withdrawal form to notify us. If you do not, this could lead to you forfeiting one of your attempts at the registration assessment. You can send us your withdrawal form up until five days after the sitting.

Download the withdrawal form [Word 1 MB]

If your withdrawal is confirmed, you will receive a refund of your assessment application fee after the sitting has taken place.

Preparing to sit the assessment

Take a look at the tutorial and example questions for part 1 and part 2 in the Pearson online familiarisation tool:

Part 1 example questions 

Part 2 example questions

Answers to the March 2021 registration assessment example questions  [PDF 179 KB]

You can also find resources about the questions types, content of the exam and feedback from past sittings in section five of the pre-registration manual.

See the presentation from our recent webinar about the assessment [PDF 1.4 MB], including information on how the online assessment system will look, and work.


You will be able to use calculators in part one of the registration assessment. You will need to bring your own calculator to the assessment. You must bring one of these models:

  • Casio MX-8S-WE (This model is still permitted in the assessment although it is now discontinued)
  • Casio MX 8B-WE / MX-8B
  • Aurora HC133
  • Aurora DT210

On the day

Read the guidance on what will happen on the day:

Sitting the Spring 2021 registration assessment at a test centre [PDF 357 KB]

Sitting the Spring 2021 registration assessment remotely [PDF 356 KB] 

If you are travelling to a test centre, see our standard letter for you to use if you need to show that your travel is for an essential and necessary purpose. [PDF 188 KB] 

If you are sitting remotely, make sure you have read the Pearson VUE online proctor policies [PDF 100 KB] before your sitting.

See our quick guide to managing issues before, during and after the asessment [PDF 134.05 KB], using the withdrawal, nullification and appeal processes

If you start the assessment and then have problems during the sitting which significantly affect your performance, you can request that your attempt is ‘nullified’.

Download the nullification request form

You will also receive information about what will happen on th day from Pearson VUE, and you may find the information on the Helpful resources for test-takers page of the Pearson website useful. This includes videos of what to expect at a test centre on the day of your assessment. 

Results and registration

You will receive your results via your myGPhC account on Thursday 29 April. 

If you are successful, once you have submitted your application to join the register and it has been approved, your application status will change to ‘pending first year fee’. We will notify you through myGPhC and you will need to pay your first-year registration fee of £257. Once you have made this payment, you will join the register on the next available registration date. Your registration will start on either the first or the fifteenth day of the month.

The earliest date you can join the register is 1 May 2021, provided you have met the criteria for registration. We must receive your completed and correct online application and hard copy supporting documents by 1 April 2021 for it to be possible for you to join the register on 1 May 2021. You will need to pay your first year fee promptly after you receive your results.

While we will do our best to process applications promptly, especially under the current circumstances, we can’t guarantee that you will be able to join the register on a given date.

If you are currently provisionally registered, you will still need to submit an application to join the main register. You will remain on the provisional register until your entry is added to the main register – so there will not be a gap in your registration when your status changes, provided you complete the application process before the provisional register closes in January 2022.

Read the application guidance to find out more about applying to register as a pharmacist [Word 1 MB] The document will automatically download on click

If you are unsuccessful at this attempt, you will need to wait to attempt to sit the assessment again, if you are eligible to do so.

If you are currently provisionally registered, you will leave the provisional register after you receive your results.

You can find out more about the options available to you and sources of help and support in our Guidance for unsuccessful candidates in the March 2021 registration assessment  [PDF 247 KB]

If you want to appeal your fail result, you an do so using the Appealing a fail result in the March 2021 registration assessment [Word 1.1 MB] form. Make sure you read the guidance at the start of the form so that you understand the grounds under which we will consider an appeal, are able to fill in the form accurately, and provide relevant evidence.

If you would like to know more about how assessment papers are created and marked, see the Assuring the registration assessment webpage

Some frequently asked questions 

Have a look at these questions and answers if you haven’t found the information you were looking for above.

I’m currently shielding. Do I have to sit the assessment in a test centre?

Anyone who is shielding, or who has concerns about sitting the assessment in a test centre for any other reasons relating to their health or the health of the people they live with, was able to apply for a reasonable adjustment to sit the online assessment remotely. Now the reasonable adjustment deadline has passed, if you are required to shield, contact us. We will investigate whether you are able to sit the assessment remotely. Places to sit remotely are very limited, so this may not be possible. In this case you would need to withdraw from the sitting and wait for the next one.

Will the assessments be the same on both days?

No. As each day is a separate sitting, the papers will be different on each day, just as they would be usually with June and September sittings.

Will I get a chance to see what the online assessment system looks like?

Yes. See the presentation from our recent webinar about the assessment [PDF 1.4 MB], including information on how the online assessment system will look, and work. You will also be able to use the online familiarisation tool which which simulates the assessment program, when you create you Pearson VUE account.

What happens if I need to self-isolate on the day of the assessment?

If you need to self-isolate on the day of the assessment, you will not be able to sit the assessment in a test centre. You should contact us to discuss your options.We will investigate whether you are able to sit the assessment remotely. Places to sit remotely are very limited, so this may not be possible. In this case you would need to withdraw from the sitting and wait for the next one.

Why can't I use paper to make notes on at the Pearson Vue test centre?

The assessment specification [PDF 239 KB] and assessment regulations [PDF 291 KB] explain that standard pens/pencils and paper are not permitted during the assessment.  At the Pearson VUE test centre each candidate will be provided with a wipeable notepad and non-permanent pen for their own notes and workings out; a separate wipeable notepad will be provided for part 1 and part 2. The wipeable notepad will be large enough for you to write a number of calculations or notes at any one time. These items must be left in the test centre at the end of each part of the assessment.

The use of an erasable notepad is for secure invigilation during the assessment and it is standard practice across all Pearson Vue test centres. The notepad is wiped down at the end of the assessment so that the candidate cannot take this material away with them.

What happens if I need a drink during the assessment, and am sitting at a test centre?

You can take a drink with you to the test centre. It must be in a clear bottle, which has your name written clearly on it.  You will be directed to put the bottle on a table just outside of the test room. If you want to have a drink during the assessment sitting, you must raise your hand. A Test Administrator (TA) will then lock your computer terminal and you will be permitted to walk to the table, collect your bottle and have a drink. You will be monitored at all times both in person and via CCTV to make sure nothing happens which could affect the integrity of the assessment. When you have finished taking a drink, you can return to your computer terminal, which will be unlocked by the TA. The clock remains running throughout your drink break. 

If you need a drink but have not brought your own bottle, you must raise your hand.   A TA will then lock your computer terminal and you will be permitted to leave test room. Once outside, you will need ask the TA for a drink, who will arrange a cup of water for you.

Do I have to wear a face mask if I am sitting in a test centre?

Yes, all candidates must wear a mask- there are no exemptions. This is a PearsonVUE policy to make sure the test centres are COVID secure. 

Are there any questions about practising as provisional registrant, or about COVID-19?

There are no question about these topics. The registration assessment framework [PDF 209 KB] sets out the outcomes that will be tested and gives an idea of some of the topics this sitting of the assessment may cover.

What if I experience technical difficulties with the system on the day?

Pearson Vue invigilators will be on hand to assist candidates should there be any technical issues that arise during the assessment. If a disconnection occurs, the exam timer stops and you will resume from the question or moment you left the exam.

If you are sitting remotely, you will need to contact the proctor by phone if there are technical problems. You will receive more info on this once your session is booked.  

Will the assessments go ahead?

As it currently stands, Pearson VUE have confirmed to us that their test centres will remain open during the pandemic for health regulation examinations, including under national lockdowns. Pearson VUE test centres have remained open for these key assessments throughout the pandemic including during the first lockdown in March 2020. We continue to keep the situation under active review, so please check back regularly.

When will we receive our results?

You will receive your results on the morning of Thursday 29 April. Your result letter will be issued via myGPhC, and you will receive a notification to check your myGPhC account via
the communication preference you selected when you signed up to myGPhC. We will not issue any hard copy results by posted letter, and will not give or confirm results by phone or email under any circumstances for information security reasons.

Why does it take so long to receive our results?

The process the Board of Assessors follows for analysing candidates’ answer data and deciding on the pass mark for each paper is the same as previous years. This year, because there are two papers, this process will take slightly longer. Until this process is carried out, we do not know what the pass mark for the paper is, and how many candidates have passed or failed.

It involves several steps, including considering nullification requests and removing nullified candidates’ answer data, checking the performance of the questions, and considering an anonymised report of all the candidate data to finalise pass marks and individual candidate results. For the March sitting, this process must be carried out across the two separate papers which means that it is a more complex task and will take longer than usual. Once marks for individual candidates are finalised, results letters are produced and checked more than once, to make sure they are accurate. This provides a high level of assurance, but does take time.