Over 88 per cent candidates have passed this year’s pharmacy registration assessment which was held online for the first time over two days in March.

This is the second highest pass rate in 10 years, with the best of 95 per cent recorded twice, in 2012 and 2016. A total of 72 per cent candidates had passed the previous registration assessment in June 2019 held face-to-face in the traditional way.

A total of the 2,352 provisionally registered pharmacists, out of 2,666 who took the exams in March, are ready to join the pharmacy workforce.

A total of 1,310 candidates sat the assessment on March 17, recording a pass rate of 90.2 per cent. Another 1,356 students who took the exam the following day had a pass rate of 86.4 per cent.

The registration assessment was postponed from June 2020 and moved online, in response to the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

Congratulating all successful candidates, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said that a number of factors may have contributed to “this relatively high pass rate,” adding it wouldn’t be possible to pinpoint which factors would have contributed to it because the assessment this year had been very different from those held in the past.

Smith added: “We are confident that we have maintained the overall standard required to pass both sittings and that all successful candidates have suitably demonstrated the knowledge, skills and experience needed to practise safely and effectively.”

Addressing those who failed to qualify, he said: “We know that candidates who haven’t passed this sitting will be very disappointed. We hope the guidance we have developed will help them understand their options for next steps and are grateful to all of the organisations and individuals across pharmacy who will also provide them with support and advice.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has promised to support these candidates by extending their RPS membership free of charge so they still have access to all the support the pharmacy body offers for the assessment.

Calling the result an “an outstanding achievement,” RPS president Sandra Gidley said: We’d now like to see more information on the pass rates of those who took the exam remotely and in person in exam centres, as this will continue to be a model for the assessment going forward.”

“Try not to be downhearted. We are here to help and will support you in the best way we can to help you become a fully-qualified pharmacist,” she said, reassuring those that didn’t get the result they were hoping for.

Pharmacy students are allowed to take the registration assessment up to three times.

Sean Brannen, president of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, said: “The BPSA is proud of every candidate that put themselves forward to sit the assessment in March, they did so in the most challenging of circumstances. Each one of these candidates has made an incredible contribution to the profession and we wish them all the very best of luck today.

“We hope that a huge majority will be receiving positive news and for those that don’t receive the news they were hoping for, we will continue to seek opportunities to help them succeed at their next attempt.”

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