How To Approach Pharmacy Situational Judgement Questions

Advice & Insight From Pre-Registration Recruitment Exam Specialists

1. Read the scenario twice

Consider taking the time to read the scenario twice and don’t rush into making a spontaneous decision or assumption on what you might initially do. It’s very easy to immediately rule out one approach but in most cases of pharmacy practice you have to take into account other factors. Nothing is ever black and white, especially when attempting questions that test your ethical and moral stances and appear to put you a position of dilemma. Reading the scenario twice also ensures that you might pick up on something you may have overlooked or that you might even think of the scenario in another dimension, allowing you to review your options better. When you read it the second time, you could underline or highlight the key points that would influence your decision or any aspects that stand out and make it clearer to understand. 

2. Break down the scenario into bite size chunks

This will enable you to process what is actually going on clearly before jumping into decision making. There could be parts of the scenario that require careful consideration of the consequences you may face if you chose one path of action over the other. Whenever you are faced with a scenario that is testing your clinical knowledge; remember to make note of the facts. Always keep in mind what is correct clinical knowledge as this will help you choose the correct answers over others that may be there to test how certain you are of your clinical knowledge being correct. When faced with a question that may be more challenging in terms of looking at utilising your professional judgement and assessing other ethical factors, it might be helpful to note down the order in which you might respond to this at although it can sometimes be a difference of opinion, the selection of answers are chosen for a reason.

3. Consider answers, pre-options

Remember that of the options available to you, only 3 of them are the most appropriate and these should be chosen in a correct and logical order. The other 5 options are there to throw you off and test your skills in practice. Ideally, you should be able to answer the question on what you would do without looking at the options available. You should note down the 3 steps you would take to approach this scenario and then start to look for these in the available choices. If you start doing this but begin to get confused with some options you are reading and may want to re-consider what your reactions might be, it would then be a good idea to highlight or note what it is about this options you are now reading that have allowed you to think of the scenario differently and therefore react differently. For rank order questions, it would be a good idea to note down what you might initially do first and then see if this is listed as an option, this gives you a good starting point to know you are thinking in the right direction. 

4. Rule out inappropriate options immediately

Once you start to read the options available to you and are finding some that you would not be willing to consider for reasons that make the choices lead to an area of error then these should be crossed off or immediately ruled out. One quick way to narrow these down is to just cross them off on the side. This technique allows you to clearly see what you are willing to consider and then arrange those to choose appropriately. This method can also be applied to the rank order questions by simply working backwards; note down what you wish to immediately rule out and put this last, working backwards from there. 

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5. Read the scenario again

This is a common pitfall; often the options provided will be appropriate actions to take, however less appropriate for the specific scenario. Many candidates will not the appropriates of the action, however ignore the scenario context which would make it less appropriate (eg. seeking advice from a senior pharmacist is generally appropriate, however if the mentioned pharmacist is presently busy with a very important task, it may be more appropriate to consider an alternative source of support in this particular context. Hence, once you have chosen the three most appropriate options or your order of prioritisation, it is often a good idea to re-read the scenario again to ensure that what you are choosing can be applied correctly and is an accurate choice too.

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How To Approach Pharmacy Situational Judgement Questions

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