“Re-sitting the registration assessment for a third time was the most challenging experience of my career.”

In this blog Independent Prescriber, Adam Ali, shares his experience of sitting the registration assessment three times and advice for other trainees.

Hi, I’m Adam an independent prescriber working in a GP surgery.

I undertook an MPharm degree over ten years ago. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work across the spectrum of the pharmaceutical industry, from GP surgeries to primary care.

At present, I’m undertaking a PGCE. I support students who are preparing to re-sit their registration assessment so they don’t undergo the same difficult experience that I went through… sitting the registration assessment three times.

The summer of 2014 was a very tense period and one that I’ll never forget. Re-sitting the registration assessment for a third time was the most stressful, enduring, and challenging experience of my career. I went through a range of emotions and the thought of failure at times could be debilitating.

I remember sitting at my desk and thinking “why me?”. 

After the second failed attempt, I channelled all my energy into focusing on identifying where I was making mistakes. I realised the way I was approaching revision was having a negative impact on my exam technique. So, using the tips outlined below, I started to approach my revision with a new method and mindset. As a result of following this new revision plan, I was successful in my third attempt at sitting the assessment.

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Sitting an exam successfully isn’t about factual recall. It’s about understanding information regarding pharmacy principles, the core drugs, case studies, knowledge application, rationale decision, evidence-based practice, and patient-centred care.

The registration exam draws on the multifaceted experience you gain from placements, complemented by the knowledge acquired on the MPharm course. 

It’s so important to practice the exam questions and if you go wrong, take time to analyse where and why. Revision is about how you can improve your answers and identify what type of questions are being asked of you.

The best advice I can give is remain calm, keep preparing for the exam and keep your knowledge up to date.  

If you are not successful in this year’s assessment and lose your current job, don’t worry, there are a range of opportunities that you can pursue. Covid-19 brought renewed opportunities to the pharmacy profession, from leading vaccine delivery to being at the epicentre of patient care. Your MPharm degree is transferrable and you can still progress in a successful career.

My biggest piece of advice to any trainee pharmacist is to approach your revision and learning in a positive manner.

Remember that patience is the virtue to success. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, for whatever reason, do not hesitate to contact Pharmacist Support. They are there to listen and to help in confidence.

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This page was last reviewed in February 2024.

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