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What is the GPhC Exam?

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The GPhC Exam is also known as the pre-reg exam. It is a professional examination which allows pharmacists to be registered as professional pharmacists, and work as such within the UK. Per the GPhC (The General Pharmaceutical Council), the exam is designed to test whether you understand how to apply the knowledge that you’ve learnt, whether you can do so in an appropriate amount of time, and whether you can make professional judgements. Additionally, the exam is designed to test your numerical ability, as much of a pharmacist’s role involves calculations.

The General Pharmaceutical Council is the regulatory body for all pharmacists in the UK, and they are responsible for setting the standards and expectations for pharmacists, both pre-reg and as they progress through their careers. As part of the GPhC registration process, you’ll need to undertake 45 weeks of work as a pre-reg before you can take the exam itself.

Where can I find specific information on the GPhC Exam?

We’ve written a range of guides on each part of the exam, so that you can understand it and what you need to do at a glance. You can also find important information on the GPhC website – in particular, they offer information on the overall criteria for registration, a document on the regulations for registration assessment, a specification that details how the assessment is run and what to do if you need to request some form of help or change to the normal process, and a registration framework – this details all the outcomes that are being tested and gives important information on the topics that you will need to know.

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When will I sit the GPhC?

The exam has two sittings, which are aimed at different groups. The Summer sitting will usually take place towards the end of June, and is for those sitting the exam for the first time. In contrast, the Autumn sitting, which usually takes place towards the end of September, is designed for those sitting the exam for the second time. In other words, the Autumn sitting serves as a good re-sit opportunity for those who failed in the summer.

What do I need to know about the GPhC process?

You need to know the following core points about the general process which leads up to the exam.
– You have to be formally assessed by your pre-reg tutor at least four times over the course of the year
– The pre-reg period must consist of at least a year of supervision
– You must complete part of the above requirements before you are able to sit the GPhC Exam
– There are a maximum of three attempts allowed at the GPhC Exam
– There are set limits on the time in which you complete your pre-reg training, set out on the GPhC site

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What should I expect in the GPhC exam?

The exam is divided into two parts. You’ll 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. 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 (i.e. you don’t have the actual books given to you). Expect to find medication charts, SPCs, and BNF extracts. You have to pass both parts of the exam in the same sitting in order to pass.

What is the pass mark for the GPhC Exam? Is it difficult to pass?

The pass mark varies from paper depending on how difficult it is, to ensure that a high standard is maintained, and to ensure that it is fair for candidates. The GPhC uses a panel to set standards, who are responsible for deciding how difficult each question is. This ensures that the paper from one sitting can be compared to another, when the adjusted pass marks are taken into account. This produces a provisional pass mark, which is then altered if needed, depending on how students actually perform. Pass rates range from 72% up to 95%, and in the most recently available data were 88%. Hospital based pharmacists are more likely to pass than community based pharmacists.

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