Preparing for the postponed 2020 pre-registration exam

Following on from the GPhC announcement that the delayed 2020 assessment will be held in the first quarter of 2021, here are our top tips on preparing for the exam.

Following on from the GPhC announcement that the delayed 2020 assessment exam will be held in March (candidates will sit the exam on either 17 or 18 March 2021), here are our top tips on preparing for the exam.

Start early

Studying for exams early means that you’ll be able to take your time with revision and avoid last minute cramming or rushing through subjects. By revising from at least one month before the exam, you can take your time and identify the topics you find most difficult. This approach will ensure you are ready and allows extra time to prepare. Starting too late is an easy trap to fall into, and then revision can suddenly seem like an impossible mountain to climb – make sure that’s not you!

Make a revision plan

Sit down and make a sensible revision plan. Do not set yourself unrealistic goals. You will still need time to eat, sleep and socialise. Neglecting your own health and wellbeing will not help you pass the exam. Have a look at our fact sheet on Wellbeing for further tips.

Revision support

Try to take advantage of any free revision support that is on offer. Free resources include the Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP). You can register for this if you are a provisionally registered pharmacist (you do not have to be working), or if you are a pre-registration trainee who has successfully completed 52 weeks of training and are waiting to sit the exam. This will give you access to a library of resources, including OpenAthens, e-Learning for Healthcare, SCRIPT (e-learning for prescribing and therapeutics), and CPPE resources.

For further information on the IFPP, click here.

There are many other organisations offering revision support. If you do decide that you would like to pay for some additional support, do take advantage of any free trial periods to help you to decide which organisation bests suits your learning style.

Study time for provisionally registered pharmacists

All provisionally registered pharmacists are entitled to study time. This is a GPhC requirement. The amount and nature of the study time may vary according to individual needs, but it must be in addition to any study that you undertake independently in your own free time. If you are struggling to organise study time, you could contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) support line that has been set up for provisionally registered pharmacists. You do not have to be a member of the RPS to access this service. Call 0207 572 2737 Mon-Fri, 9-5.

Exam adjustments

If you need to ask for an exam adjustment you should get all of your paperwork ready in advance. Do not leave this until the last minute, as the deadline for requesting exam adjustments is normally set well in advance of the actual exam sit date.

When you request an adjustment, you must tell the GPhC:

  • the nature of your specific need
  • how this specific need would affect your ability to sit the exam
  • what reasonable adjustment you are requesting and how it will support you during the exam

You also need to include evidence to support your request. This evidence must be from a doctor or another appropriately qualified person and must give details of how your specific need would affect you during the exam. The person providing supporting evidence will need to have read and understood the exam specifications.

Booking annual leave in the run-up to the exam

Lots of people like to book some annual leave in advance of the exam to give themselves a chance to prepare. If you are working, you could have a chat with your employer about flexibility around booking some leave.

Fit to Sit

The usual fit to sit rules apply to this delayed exam. Whilst the GPhC does require provisionally registered pharmacists to sit the exam at the earliest possible opportunity, it would not expect you to do so if you are unwell.

All exam candidates should note that if they are not fit to sit, for personal or health reasons, it is best to withdraw and wait for the next sitting.

Look out for GPhC updates

Do keep an eye on the GPhC website for further announcements about the exam. The GPhC has also set up a Q&A webpage for provisionally registered pharmacists and pre-registration trainees.