Pre-registration Manual

5. The registration assessment

5.1  The registration assessment explained

The registration assessment is one of the ways we test whether you can demonstrate that you understand how to apply knowledge appropriately and in a timely way, to make professional judgements in pharmacy practice. It also tests your number sense and that you are able to perform the calculations needed to practise as a pharmacist.

The assessment makes sure that all trainees have reached the same minimum standard of ability, no matter where they have trained in Great Britain. Passing the assessment is part of the overall criteria for registration as a pharmacist.

The registration assessment regulations set out key information and rules that cover the assessment. They are updated every year and issued before the first sitting of the year.

The registration assessment specification 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 sets out the outcomes that will be tested and gives an idea of some of the topics this may cover.

The registration assessment is set and moderated by an independent board of assessors.

5.2  Qualifying for the registration assessment

You can only be considered for entry to the registration assessment once you have achieved a week-39 progress report that is marked as satisfactory. If you are marked as unsatisfactory at the week-39 point, you may need to take the assessment at a later date. You should develop an action plan – including SMART objectives – to help you deal with your shortfalls against the performance standards.

You will be judged against the same principles in your week-39 review as in the previous reviews. This judgement will be based on the quality of your evidence and performance, and must not be made more lenient so that you can enter the registration assessment.

You will need to submit an application form to sit the assessment through your myGPhC account by the deadline given and show that you meet the eligibility criteria to sit the assessment.

Visit the main GPhC website to find out about applying for the registration assessment, including the full eligibility criteria.

5.3 Structure of the registration assessment

The topics covered by the assessment are set out in the registration assessment framework.

The standard a pre-registration trainee must achieve to pass the registration assessment remains the same across each sitting. The pass mark for each paper varies from sitting to sitting depending on the combined difficulty of the questions.This is to make sure that the assessment is fair and that the standard is maintained. Candidates must achieve the pass mark or above for each paper in order to demonstrate that they have achieved the required standard for safe and effective practice.

The pass mark for the assessment is arrived at using evidence-based standard setting processes - recognised methods used by examination bodies to derive pass marks for papers in order to apply a set standard across sittings. When preparing assessment papers, a standard-setting panel of pharmacists assesses the standard of each question in each of the papers. The standard setting panel reviews each question in relation to difficulty and this process produces a provisional pass mark for each paper.

Before agreeing pass marks for each paper, the Board of Assessors undertakes a full review of the performance of the questions, and the papers as a whole. This includes statistical analysis of the relative level of difficulty.

Reference sources

You won’t need to bring reference sources to the assessment. You will use only the reference sources provided.

Examples of possible reference sources include:

  • extracts from a British National Formulary (BNF)
  • a Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC)
  • diagrams and photographs
  • a medication chart

Part one paper

Part one of the assessment is amde up of 40 calculation questions. You will have two hours to complete these, and you will be able to use a calculator.

An example of a calculation question is below:

Example of a calculation question. A 6-year-old is taking Gaviscon Original Aniseed Relief suspension 10 ml. four times a day. Gaviscon Original Aniseed Relief suspension contains 3.1. mmol Na */5 mL. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of salt for a 6 year-old child is 3 g (equivalent to 1.2 g sodium) per day. The relative atomic mass of sodium is 23. What percentage of this child's recommended daily salt allowance is contained in the total daily dose of Gaviscon Original Aniseed Relief suspension? Give your answer to the nearest whole number. (percentage)

Part two paper

Part two of the assessment is made up of 120 questions: 90 'single-best-answer' questions, and 30 'extended-matching' questions. You will have 2.5 hours to complete these, and you will not be able to use a calculator. 

Single best answer questions

Here is an example of a single best answer (SBA) question:

 Aspirin 75mg once daily. Atorvastatin 40 mg once daily. Ramipril 10 mg once daily. Co-codamol 30/500 mg - 2 tables up to 4 times a day as required. No known drug allergies. Which of the following is the most suitable drug treatment for his current condition? Allopurinol. Colchicine. Diclofenac sodium. Etoricoxib. Febuxostat

An SBA question has three parts: a scenario, a question and five answer options.

For this type of question, select the single best answer from the five options. Each question has one best answer, but there may be other answers that are plausible but are not the best answer – these are, therefore, incorrect.

Extended matching questions

Here is an example of an extended matching question (EMQ):

 Theme - Drug interactions. The next 4 questions are based on the same list of options, but different scenarios. Each option may be used once, more than once, or not at all. A 49-year-old woman has bipolar disorder and has taken lithium carbonate 800mg (Camcolit) daily for five years. She has been newly prescribed ramipril 2.5 mg daily for hypertension. Select the most likely possible consequence of the drug interaction from the list. Bleeding risk increased. bradycardia. diarrhea. hypertensive crisis. myopathy. QT interval prolongation. reduced eGFR. thrombosis

An EMQ has four parts: a theme, a list of answer options, an instruction and a number of scenarios.

For this type of question, choose the best option from the list provided. Each option may be used once, more than once or not at all.