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 an evidence-based standard setting process - a recognised method 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. Panel members all have first-hand experience of working with recently qualified and preregistration trainee pharmacists. Members work in all sectors and are based in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 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

Calculation questions

Part one of the assessment will include calculation questions. You will be able to use calculators to answer calculation questions.

An example of a calculation question is below:

sample part one questionFollow this link for more calculation question examples.

Selected response questions

Part two of the assessment will include selected response questions. For each question, you will need to choose one answer from a list of options.

Single best answer questions

An example of a single best answer question is below:

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

An example of an extended matching question is below:

Extended matching question sample

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

Candidates should choose the best option from the list provided. Each option may be used once, more than once or not at all. This is an example of an extended matching question:

 Follow this link for more part examples of selected response questions.