The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has written to candidates to confirm that they will be holding two separate sittings of the online registration assessment on 17th and 18th March 2021, respectively.
The GPhC has said that while candidates will sit the assessment in a different way to before, the types of questions used and the standard required to pass, will remain the same.
In an email sent directly to students GPhC Director of Education and Standards Mark Voce commented:
“I am pleased to confirm that we will hold two separate sittings of the online registration assessment one on 17th March 2021 and one the following day, on 18th March 2021.
“I’d like to thank you for your patience while we have been working to put in place the arrangements necessary to confirm these dates. I hope that having the dates confirmed will make it easier to prepare and manage your work commitments.
“I appreciate it has taken us longer than we would have liked to finalise the arrangements. We have worked through a number of issues relating to the overall security of the assessment and practical considerations to ensure the assessment is fair for candidates.
“In particular, we have listened carefully to the concerns that some candidates have had about sitting the online registration assessment at their home due to issues such as internet connections, available technology and suitable home environments. We have therefore arranged with Pearson VUE that candidates will sit the online registration assessment at a Pearson VUE test centre.
“The test centres have been made Covid-secure. Due to this, the number of candidates who can sit on each day has been limited. As a result, there will now be two sittings (each with different papers) and candidates will sit the two papers which make up the assessment at a Pearson VUE test centre on one day, either Wednesday 17th March, or Thursday 18th March 2021.
“You will need to apply to sit the assessment through your myGPhC account. We will email you to confirm that you are eligible to sit the assessment, when the application form opens in January.
“If you have a specific need which you feel could disadvantage you when sitting the registration assessment, you can request a ‘reasonable adjustment’, using the form and information about the assessment which will be available in the coming weeks.
“If you previously requested a reasonable adjustment for the sitting in June, you will need to consider whether you need to request an adjustment for this sitting. We will not be carrying over any requests previously granted.
“If you believe you are not able to sit the assessment at a test centre due to a particular health condition, for example, you should request a reasonable adjustment and we will provide you with further details about how you can sit the assessment and whether it is open to you to sit at an alternative location other than a test centre.
“While we expect people to sit the registration assessment at the earliest opportunity, we also recognise that many of you have experienced significant pressures and demands over recent months as you have helped to deliver vital services to patients and the public or have otherwise had to deal with the impact of the pandemic.
“As such, it is important that you only sit the registration assessment if you are fit to do so. If you are concerned that you may not be fit to do so in March, I would like to reassure you that the next assessment will take place in the summer and planning is already underway for that.
“We are putting in place answers to the questions most frequently asked and will be confirming more of the practical details about the assessment and the application process, including for overseas candidates, in the coming weeks.
“We will add this information to a new assessment web page on the main GPhC website. We will contact you again when this is live to make sure you have the opportunity to read through all the information about the assessment, before the application process opens.
“We will also be hosting a webinar to ensure you have the opportunity to raise any particular questions and we will confirm the date of this shortly.
“In the meantime, we would emphasise that although the way in which you sit the assessment will be different, the types of questions used and the standard required to pass are not changing.
“Thank you again for your continued patience as we work to make sure that the registration assessment continues to be a robust and fair test of your ability to apply your skills and knowledge.
“I would like to wish you the best of luck for the assessment.”
The news comes as the GPhC had previously confirmed that it will be working with an international assessment company to deliver the online registration assessment. It confirmed that Pearson VUE, a company that specialises in computer-based testing, will hold the registration assessment sittings online for the first time from 2021.
Jasraj Matharu, Pharmacist Defence Association Union Executive Member for Students, Pre-reg and Prov-Reg Members commented:
“News of the actual registration dates will enable candidates to plan their preparations for study and revision which will restore their motivation and give them a tangible goal to work towards.
“Throughout this unprecedented period, the PDA have been continually supporting the cohort and the PDA Education programmes have been a welcome resource.
“I would recommend any pre-reg, prov-reg or pharmacist to join the PDA for the support and representation they provide when we need it most”
RPS Director for Education Gail Fleming, said:
“We’re glad that the delayed assessment date has finally been confirmed. We welcome the use of Pearson Vue centres – this is a model that trainees in England and Wales will be familiar with when applying for pre-registration posts. Trainees will be concerned about reasonable adjustments especially when there may be a last minute change such as a requirement to self-isolate at short notice.
“We’re now urging GPhC to act quickly to publish the further details they have committed to providing. These are urgently needed to alleviate the ongoing concerns of those due to sit the assessment.
“We know how stressful it’s been for trainees waiting for details of the exam, whilst working hard to support patients and the public during these difficult times.
“In a letter to our provisionally registered members, we have committed to continue to provide them with support and help to prepare for the registration exam, and all of the benefits of RPS Pre-Reg membership will remain available for as long as required. Members will have access to our dedicated resources and guidance, and we’ll be running further webinars in the new year – including a full online mock exam which will be free for all RPS members.”