Is the GPhC Assessment Exam Difficult?

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The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Assessment Exam is a crucial step for pharmacists in the UK to become registered and practice in the field. It is a challenging exam that requires extensive knowledge and preparation. In this article, we will explore the difficulty of the GPhC Assessment Exam and provide information on its format, pass rate, and the most challenging parts of the exam.

How Long is the GPhC Exam?

The exam is divided into two parts, and you must sit both on the same day. Part 1 is a calculation paper, and part 2 is a multiple-choice paper. Part 1 is two hours long, and Part 2 is two and a half hours long, making the total examination time – in just one day – 4.5 hours. During the exam you’ll be provided with reference materials to look at, which will be printed out and given to you as part of a pack, which in turn can make the exam seem longer, as you will have a significant amount of information to digest. You will be required to look through medication charts, SPCs, and BNF extracts, amongst other content. You have to pass both parts of the exam in the same sitting in order to pass.

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What is the Pass Rate for the GPhC Assessment Exam?

The GPhC Assessment Exam has a pass rate of approximately 72%, although this figure can range as high as 95%. The pass rate varies depending on the exam session and the number of candidates. The pass rate for the MCQ paper and the calculation component is calculated separately, and candidates must pass both parts to become registered pharmacists. You will receive scores for both sections and an overall score. As such, it could be argued that the exam is relatively difficult – certainly in some years – but that you should expect to pass with adequate preparation.

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What are the most difficult parts of the GPhC Assessment Exam?

The most challenging parts of the exam include:

  1. Multiple-Choice Paper: The multiple-choice paper (MCQ) is the second part of the GPhC Assessment Exam. It consists of 120 questions that cover a wide range of topics, including pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical pharmacy. The MCQ can be a very time-pressured exam, and candidates have to answer the questions within the allotted time. The questions are designed to test candidates’ knowledge and understanding of core Pharmacy topics (as covered in the official framework) and require critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  2. Numeracy and calculations. This section of the exam, the first component, may be a little less challenging for some students, as assuming you have the requisite ability across the various forms of calculation, then this should be straightforward deployment of skills that you already have, and that you will likely have been utilising from day-to-day on the wards and therefore should be used to.
  3. Time Management: Time management is a crucial factor in the GPhC Assessment Exam, and correct time management can therefore be very challenging. As stated, the exam consists of two parts that require candidates to manage their time effectively. Candidates have a limited amount of time to complete the MCQ paper and the calculation component. Therefore, they must manage their time effectively to ensure that they can complete all the tasks within the allotted time.
  4. The breadth of knowledge: The GPhC Assessment Exam covers a wide range of topics, including pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical pharmacy. As stated by the GPhC, the range of knowledge required is such that you will be unable to revise it all, and it cannot all even be included in the syllabus – as such, ongoing and efficient revision is required. Candidates need to have extensive knowledge and understanding of the topics to pass the exam.

In conclusion, the GPhC Assessment Exam is a challenging exam that requires extensive knowledge and preparation. The most challenging parts of the exam include the multiple-choice paper, the calculation and maths component, time management across 4.5 hours, and extensive knowledge of a range of different topics. You must therefore practise as many past papers as possible, use a question bank, and practise under timed conditions to increase your chances of success.

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