Oriel Pre-Reg Pharmacy Overview: Rank 5 Questions
Advice & Insight From Pre-Registration Recruitment Exam Specialists
There are two question types in the Pre-Reg Pharmacy Situational Judgement Test – these are the multiple choice ‘three of eight’ and the ranking-based ‘Rank 5’ questions. Here, we look at how the Rank 5 questions work, and some tips on how to maximise your performance.
Each ranking question is worth up to a theoretical maximum of 20 marks – in other words, each response is worth 4 marks, assuming you rank it correctly. However, in order to make the system fairer, you’ll receive marks if you rank options near to where they ought to be ranked. For example, if in a hypothetical question you ranked ‘speak to the ward sister’ third, but it ought to have been fourth, you’ll still receive 3 marks. In other words, you can still get a very good score without exactly agreeing with the exam’s mark scheme, or their exact way of doing things. This is good, and realistic, as there will always be some difference of opinion over the optimal way of proceeding in any scenario. As such, allowing for a general way of working to be rewarded, rather than an exact approach, is much fairer. If this still sounds a bit confusing, see the table below taken from Health Education England, which outlines how many marks you would get for ranking a theoretical question.
In this question, the ‘ideal’ ranking was DCEAB. If you were to have put that, you’d have scored 20 marks. However, let’s imagine that you put DECAB instead. In this instance, you’d score 4 marks for D, 2 marks for E, 3 marks for C, and 4 marks for A and B respectively. That would give you a total score of 17 – so you’d have only lost 3 points, despite getting two of the options the wrong way round. You can see that the closer you rank an option to its ideal place, the more marks you will receive.
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Example Question Explained
Here’s an official past paper question, slightly rephrased for brevity:
You are rushing to take a prescription to a ward. On your way, a patient stops you and asks for directions. They seem anxious to get to their appointment. You know where they need to go, but you also need to get the prescription to the ward as soon as possible.
A Give the patient directions to the clinic
B Walk the patient to the clinic yourself
C Suggest that the patient asks for help at the hospital reception desk
D Ask a colleague in the corridor to take the patient to the clinic
E Direct the patient to a map of the hospital on the wall
The optimal answer here is ADECB. Let’s break that down and understand why. In all answers, you should think about what kind of skills and attributes the question might be focusing on, and how you can demonstrate those. Here, your communication skills and empathy are being tested – through the patient who needs help – but primarily this is about your decision making skills, and possibly your core responsibility to avoid any harm coming to patients (as the prescription is needed urgently). Therefore, look for an option that doesn’t ignore the worried patient in front of you, but maintains your core role as a pharmacist too – this is option A. Next, you should look for another option that shows empathy towards the patient, but is time efficient – asking a colleague to take the patient shows that you are willing to treat the patient as an individual and ‘go out of your way’ to help them to some extent, but also takes no more than a few seconds of your time. Now, the options become less optimal – E is next best, as it helps the patient to some extent, although it is impersonal and the patient may well already have used the map and failed. C is worse still as it offers no help at all – they will already be aware of the reception desk, and as such they will feel that you are simply trying to get rid of them and send them elsewhere. You are not treating the patient with respect. However, B is the worst option – you treat the patient with respect, but in doing so completely fail to prioritise your core work. Thus, you could create real issues on your ward, as the prescription fails to arrive on time.
So, to conclude – we would see this principally as a decision making making question, and therefore focus on options which guaranteed patient safety, recognised our role, but also showed empathy and respect to an individual patient.