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GPhC Exam: Top Tips

GPhC Pre-Reg Exam Preparation Specialists

Here are our top tips for success in the GPhC Exam; they’re a mixture of core exam technique and specific advice for this test

Work on your Timing, Answer all the Questions

Ensure that your time management and exam technique allow you to work through systematically and attempt each question. In practice, that will mean missing out some questions that you find difficult and flagging them, so that you can return to them later and have another go at them. Remember, you’ll do better answering ⅘ questions in one section and leaving one to return to later, then you would if you were to spend an extra five minutes on the that one remaining question, and thus damage your timings for the entire paper. Along with this, you should ensure that you practise getting through the paper in good time – ideally you should have a few minutes remaining at the end to go back through the flagged questions and work out the correct answer for each. In general you should allow around two minutes per question for open book questions.

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Read the questions very carefully

This comes up often in the official GPhC feedback from previous years’ papers – which you can see in our ‘Overview of Feedback’ article. Many students fail to notice particular wording, and therefore don’t secure what could be straightforward marks. This is particularly relevant for ‘round up’ vs ‘round down’ and for types of dose or preparation, all of which seem to cause issues for students who fail to read the question properly. 

Be confident in your preparation

Whilst it is a difficult exam, 79% of students will pass – the vast majority. In addition, 95% of well-prepared students will pass on their first attempt. Many students that fail to pass on the first sit had a particular reason for their failure – like personal circumstances or not using the right resources. Therefore, if you’re well prepared, you should feel confident and ensure that you go into the exam in the right frame of mind – this is something that you’re ready to pass.

Follow the process for calculations

Don’t let new or unfamiliar medicines or indications cloud your judgement when following a set process for a calculation. Focus on the core of the process, which will be something that you have done countless times before. Your preparation should be geared towards making calculation questions efficient and close to ‘second nature.’

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Draw on Previous Experience

This will be the latest in a long line of exams – from school through university, and now to this. As such, you should know what kind of revision works for you, and crucially you ought to know what works for you in the exam as well. What particular strengths and weaknesses do you have? How can you harness those strengths, and minimise the weaknesses? You might consider making a list of these at the outset of your preparation, so that you can best use the many exams you’ve sat before to your advantage.

Have Set Approaches for Each Question Type

Calculations:
– Have the correct calculator model
– Always check the number of decimal places required
– Work through the calculation step by step, as you would when practising
– If needed, note some of the calculation steps on the notepad that you are provided with  
If possible, check through each calculation question after you’ve finished to ensure that you get the same answer both times

Single best answer:
– Ensure that you consider all relevant factors. Ensure that you take the specifics of the scenario into account.

– Try to find an answer that draws upon your clinical experience and knowledge, before you look at the options. Then, find the option that matches your decision. If that doesn’t work, then:
– Discard any implausible options at the outset
– If you can’t decide on an answer, then work through each factor in turn and make a sensible decision within the time frame that you’ve decided is appropriate to spend on the question

Extended matching questions:
– Here you can use options once, not at all, or multiple times. You should therefore remain unbiased towards options – i.e. just because you’ve used them doesn’t mean they aren’t correct for a later question.
– As with SBAs, you should look to formulate an answer based on your own experience and knowledge first, then look for that answer in the options.

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