The pass rate for the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC’s) June registration assessment has fallen to its lowest level since the regulator began running the exam in 2011.
A statement on the GPhC website showed that just 72% of 2,942 pharmacy students who took the exam in June 2019 passed.
This is 7 percentage points lower than in 2018, when the same number of students sat the exam, and 23 percentage points lower than in 2016, when 95% of the 2,804 students sitting the exam passed.
Some 75% of the candidates sitting the exam for the first time in 2019 passed, while those sitting for the second time or third time had pass rates of 39% and 46% respectively.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said: “Each assessment is carefully set so that only the candidates who demonstrate the required knowledge and understanding can pass and be eligible to join the register”.
“By only registering those who pass this challenging assessment, we can provide assurance to patients and the public that the pharmacists on our register can practise safely and effectively.”
In order to pass the exam, candidates must answer 26 out of 40 questions (65%) correctly on part one and 85 out of 119 (71%) correctly on part two.
In 2017, when the pass rate fell from 95% to 78%, hundreds of students complained to the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association about the length and complexity of questions in the exam, particularly in part 2.