Many factors affect the pre-registration assessment pass rate

As a part-time teacher at various schools of pharmacy and a past pre-registration tutor, I was intrigued to read the registration assessment results from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) (
The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;294:546
). However, the report raised several important questions:

  1. Why should the schools of pharmacy bear any responsibility at all for the results, good or bad? MPharm graduates should be able to pass the assessment after one year of experience, study and appropriate training. At present, they have no contact with their schools during this fifth year, although that may change with the eventual introduction of the five-year integrated degree.
  2. Are all pre-registration trainees being sent on approved internal or external courses? Trainees at my pharmacy attended courses from the National Pharmacy Association or Chemist & Druggist, which covered topics that could not be covered in my pharmacy and also taught examination technique.
  3. Are all trainees given study leave? My trainees worked a 35-hour week, which included four hours a week to write up their portfolios, attempt mock exam questions and revise. The pre-registration grant for contractors is generous so there is little excuse for this not to occur.
  4. Are all trainees encouraged to become associate members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society? Associate members have access to a variety of valuable resources.
  5. Is pre-registration training and tutoring, and the associated premises, monitored by the GPhC? This has not been the case in my experience.

Rather than analysing and comparing the results of the assessment from the various schools of pharmacy, a more valuable exercise would be to visit the premises in which the unsuccessful trainees undertook their training. Making changes to the processes there may lead to a more successful outcome for the next tranche of graduates.

Barry Shooter

Bushey Heath,


Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 13 June 2015, Vol 294, No 7866;294(7866):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068677

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