The overall pass rate for the July 2021 registration assessment exam was 82%, data from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have shown.
The overall pass rate is 10 percentage points higher than that of June 2019 — the most recent summer assessment — when 72% of candidates passed the exam.
There was no summer assessment held in June 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was instead postponed to March 2021, with an overall pass rate of 88%.
The GPhC announced in March 2021 that the 2021 assessments would be moved from their usual dates in June and September to July and November, which were “the earliest available where Pearson VUE test centres can accommodate the predicted number of candidates under the current social distancing guidelines”.
The exam in July 2021 was held online at Pearson Vue assessment centres over three days, on 27, 28 and 29 July.
According to a statement from the GPhC on 9 September 2021, candidates sitting on 27 and 28 July saw an overall pass rate of 85% for each day. The final day, 29 July, had an overall pass rate of 75%.
Of the 2,907 candidates who sat the exam, 2,371 passed. The exam also included 259 provisional registrants, of whom 177 (66%) passed.
Since 2011, pass rates for the June sitting have ranged from 72–95%.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said the regulator “would like to congratulate the successful candidates who have demonstrated they have the knowledge and skills needed to practise safely and effectively”.
“This is a significant achievement, particularly given the challenges with completing their training during the pandemic.”
Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), also congratulated candidates on passing the assessment. “Achieving a pass rate of 82% — the second highest since 2016 — is testament to the hard work of preregistration candidates through adversity. As well as having to sit an online exam for the first time, candidates had the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with,” she said.
“We understand that failing an assessment can be disheartening and so we are also able to support those who may have not passed on this occasion. RPS can help them think through their next steps and prepare for a future assessment or other career options.”
Three candidates for the July assessment — all of whom were booked to sit the exams on 29 July 2021 at the Pearson Vue assessment centre in Redditch, Worcestershire — were unable to complete the assessment because of a technical problem. The affected candidates have been told that they will have to wait until November 2021 before they can sit the examination again.
In August 2021, the GPhC revealed that it intends to provide its registration assessment online until 2024 after it tendered a contract for a supplier to provide the exams.