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GPhC Exam: Overview of Feedback 2019-2021

GPhC Pre-Reg Exam Preparation Specialists

The GPhC has provided relatively detailed feedback on candidates’ performance for exams from 2019 through to 2021. Here, we have taken the feedback and pulled out the most important parts, so that you can understand where others have made mistakes – and avoid those same mistakes yourself.

July 2021 GPhC Feedback

– Some candidates failed to check that their answer was realistic or practical. This might involve providing one tube of ointment for a two year period, for example.

– Some candidates failed to round at the appropriate points while performing calculations. In some questions, the rounding should occur at the end of the calculation, whilst in other questions it should occur earlier at an earlier point. The example provided is that when calculating the total amount of a given medicine to supply, the rounding ought to occur for individual doses, before calculating the final amount.

– Some candidates failed to differentiate between red flag symptoms and symptoms that show a disease can likely be managed with advice or medication from the pharmacy. The example given is that of a child with symptoms suggestive of sepsis – they ought to be referred on urgently. In contrast, a child with symptoms suggestive of chickenpox can be offered symptomatic relief.

– Non prescription medicines should not be recommended unless there is sufficient evidence to support their use

– Candidates must know which types of contraception are most effective

– Candidates should understand the difference between adverse drug reactions and allergies

– Candidates should be aware that breastfeeding is an important public health issue and be able to advise on the use of medicines while breastfeeding, as well as be aware of mastitis

– Candidates should be aware of safety concerns around sodium valproate in women and girls of childbearing age

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March 2021 GPhC Feedback

– Candidates should consider the form of the dosage when calculating dose, e.g. you can’t use part of an capsule, or use an ampoule multiple times

– Once again, candidates failed to accurately differentiate between red flag symptoms and symptoms indicative of something less severe which could be treated by the pharmacist alone

September 2021 GPhC Feedback

– Candidates struggled with questions involving displacement values

– Candidates again struggled with rounding questions. As above, you should know when to round.

– Some questions involve specific rounding information. The example given is that a dose has to be rounded to the nearest mL for ease of administration. Some students also failed to note that they were told specifically to round up or down.

– Some students failed to realise that questions asked for individual doses, or others asked for the amount needed for an entire course of treatment

– Candidates must read the question to know how many decimal places to provide

– Once again, some answers were not realistic or practical

– Some candidates didn’t show that they understood how to apply the conditions for the supply of pharmacy medicines, including those recently deregulated

– You must know the counselling that should be provided to patients when providing pharmacy medicines

– Candidates must be able to apply the legal framework around cannabis and cannabinoid products

– If several actions are required, candidates must be able to prioritise appropriately. This means focusing on person-centred care and recognising pressing clinical concerns.

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June 2019 GPhC Feedback

– Candidates again failed to round correctly. See the information above for more on this. Remember when to round.

– Candidates again failed to consider the form of the dose when making calculations, as above. This means remembering how different forms of medicines can be used – e.g. an ampoule can only be used once.


– Candidates failed to recognise specific rounding instructions again. As above, you must follow specific instructions – which means reading the question carefully. Failure to do so means losing marks which you ought to have gained, simply through a lack of care!

– Candidates failed to choose the correct option when asked to make the choice of referring on or not. Here, candidates were actually too risk averse, and chose an incorrect option which involved referring patients for advice or treatment from another healthcare professional – when this could have been done by the pharmacist themselves. Ensure that you understand your scope of practice and the simpler concerns that do not require any referral.

– Candidates again failed to show an awareness of the conditions of supply of pharmacy medicines (including those that have been deregulated recently)

– You must understand the rationale behind common prescribing initiatives

– Once again, candidates failed to understand the differences between an adverse drug reaction and an allergy. This is particularly relevant when choosing antibiotics.

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