GPhC Exam: Preparation & Study Tips

GPhC Pre-Reg Exam Preparation Specialists

What are the most effective revision techniques?

Many pre-reg students struggle to get started with their revision and often question what would be the best way for them to study, understand and retain all the information in front and around them.

This article will discuss a few different studying methods and advice which may be of benefit to you. There is not simply one style of studying, nor will your friends’ technique work for you. We are all individuals that learn and absorb information differently. What is more, the GPhC exam comprises a large variety of topics and sets more than one style of question thus, you need to develop a range of skills to be able to solve all of the questions in the assessment papers.

OTC product knowledge

All pre-reg students will not be working in community pharmacy, so it is ideal to obtain a book on OTC products; a useful aid is the Counter Intelligence. You may want to make notes on the different sections you tend to find behind a pharmacy counter, such as: pain killers, digestive system, children’s health, and hay fever. It is crucial to understand the licensing rules of products.

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Organ systems

Usually, students will try to memorise individual drug monographs from the BNF. Instead, you may want to create posters about specific organ systems which will branch off into different diseases associated with it. This can be further broken down into other segments such as: drug mechanism, side effects, contraindications, etc.

Fill in the gaps

An ideal method to reinforce your learning would be to form statements/facts and leave gaps for you to fill in at a later date. This works quite well for drugs that have a narrow therapeutic index. For example, this can look like the following:

Lithium can cause                        by reducing the reabsorption of sodium by the renal tubes.

The plasma concentration of Lithium is                         by ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and NSAIDs.

Q&A with a partner

If you prefer to have a study partner, try to create question and answer cards (in the same format as the GPhC questions). Or you can both create various question cards and take it in turns to search for the for the answers. Try to compare answers until you both get to the same conclusion. You can also try this method as a small study group as opposed to a pair.

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Ask questions

You may feel a little shy to ask questions in your work environment. You may feel that your colleagues will assume you are silly for not knowing the answer to something. You might even think you know more than the counter assistants, dispensers, or technicians. To help you pass the exam, here are a few things to consider in the workplace during your pre-reg year:

  1. Everyone has to start somewhere
  • The pre-reg year allows you to make the transition from pharmacy student to a registered pharmacist. It is the in-between stage. Therefore, nobody (including yourself) should expect you to know absolutely everything.
  • This year allows you to ask questions and directs you to answers. It is a year of learning, development, and discovery.
  1. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • We have all probably heard this statement, but how true is it? If you do not voice that you are struggling to understand or that you do not know something, then how can anybody help you?
  • Having discussions opens up the way for you to obtain more information and for some individuals it helps to retain the knowledge.
  • You may face a question in the GPhC assessment which directly relates to conversations you have had in the pharmacy (department) or with your peers.
  1. Experience is invaluable
  • Pharmacy staff (especially those that have been working for a good few years) are not as unintelligent as some pre-reg students may wrongly assume. Their vast knowledge and practice can be very helpful…you may be surprised, but they can teach you a thing or two.
  • Your pre-reg tutor will not necessarily have a lot of 1:1 time with you. Sometimes, the working day will be extremely busy, and you might not have a chance to raise a question with your tutor. Hence, always use your colleagues around you for questions/support.

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