GPhC announce registration assessment results

The GPhC has announced a pass rate of 82% for those sitting the July 2021 registration assessment.

A total of 2907 candidates sat the registration assessment across three sittings on 27, 28 and 29 July 2021, with 2371 candidates passing the assessment; an overall pass rate of 82%. Since 2011, pass rates for the registration assessment have ranged from 72% to 95%.

July 2021 summary statistics

CandidatesNumber% of total
Total number of candidates2907100%
Number of first-time sitters262590%
(of which were provisionally registered)(259)(9%)
Number of second time sitters2248%
Number of third time sitters582%
Candidate performance – pass rates   
First sitting candidates – pass218975%
(of which were provisionally registered – pass)(172)(6%)
Second time sitters – pass1435%
Third time sitters – pass391%
Individual sitting performance  
27 July – pass85685%
28 July – pass88385%
29 July – pass63274%
Overall pass 237182%
Overall fail53618%

Registration assessment results: March 2021

Total sittingTotal passingPass rate
March 20212666235288%

Registration assessment results 2011-2019 (June sittings)

Pass rates are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Registration yearTotal sittingTotal passingPass rate

The registration assessment papers were developed by experienced pharmacists and assessment experts. Questions were written by practising pharmacists, then the standard of each question is set by standards setters, all of whom are practising pharmacists with current knowledge of pre-registration trainees and/or recently registered pharmacists.

Papers were then set by an appointed body of pharmacists and assessment experts, the Board of Assessors. All questions and papers were mapped on to the GPhC’s registration assessment framework to ensure they reflect the practice of a day one pharmacist.

After a sitting, the performance of all questions and papers as a whole in that particular sitting were analysed and, using statistical methods applied across health professional examinations, the pass mark for each paper was then confirmed and candidates were awarded passes or fails. Candidates who passed both papers passed overall.

The Board of Assessors set the passing standard, not the percentage of candidates who pass the assessment. This means that candidates were not being measured against each other or selected to pass or fail according to where they sit in the cohort of all candidates. 

The sittings on 27th, 28th and 29th July were reviewed and marked separately from each other. The pass marks and pass rates for the registration assessments held on each day were not compared against each other and then adjusted. Separate sets of candidates sat each of these assessments. While pass rates might vary between the cohorts through differing individual performances, the standard to pass remains the same for both cohorts.

Director of the Pharmacist Defence Assoication commented:

“The PDA congratulate all those who have passed the exam, welcome new pharmacists to the profession, and we look forward to supporting our members as they settle into their careers. We appreciate the hard work of supervisors and others who have supported exam candidates, and we will always remember that this year’s cohort undertook their entire pre-reg year during a pandemic.

“In addition to continuing to work with those who passed and have become Newly Qualified pharmacists, the PDA also offers a free “Potential Pharmacist” membership for those who will be resitting the exam at a future date.

“Some exam candidates were already practicing on a provisional basis, and any from that group who did not pass will now cease to be provisional pharmacists.  We encourage their employers to do all they can to keep these MPharm qualified individuals employed in alternate roles until they hopefully pass at their second attempt.

“The PDA Education Hub online revision programmes have received positive feedback from pre-reg and prov-reg members in helping them to prepare for their assessment sittings. Our final revision programme of the year commences on Wednesday 15th September and we look forward to welcoming PDA members to the course online and helping them to prepare for November 2021 exams.”

Claire Anderson, RPS President, said:

“RPS would like to congratulate candidates passing the registration assessment today. Achieving a pass rate of 82% –  the second highest since 2016 – is testament to the hard work of pre-registration 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.

“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.”

Further information on how papers are created and marked can be found on the registration assessment pages of our website.

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