The GPhC has confirmed that its first online registration assessment will be held in the middle of March next year, with candidates travelling to Pearson VUE test centres to sit the exam.
In order to make the assessment Covid-secure, candidate numbers must be limited at the venues, meaning there will be two separate sittings – one on March 17 and the other on March 18. There will be a different test paper on each day.
The assessment had been originally scheduled for earlier this year but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The regulator decided early on in the pandemic that it would move to online assessment. However, it has decided against having candidates sit the exam in their homes “due to issues such as internet connection, available technology and suitable home environments”.
However, those who believe they are unable to attend a test centre due to a health condition are invited to contact the GPhC, which will provide further information and advise whether an alternative location is possible.
Candidates can also request a ‘reasonable adjustment’ if they have a specific need which may disadvantage them when sitting the exam using a form which will become available in the coming weeks.
In addition, those who are concerned they will not be fit to sit the assessment in March may take the following assessment in summer 2021.
Candidates must apply to sit the assessment through their my GPhC account once the application form opens in January.
“While we expect people to sit the registration assessment at the earliest opportunity, we also recognise that many of you have experienced significant pressures and demands over recent months as you have helped to deliver vital services to patients and the public or have otherwise had to deal with the impact of the pandemic,” said the GPhC.
Gail Fleming, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director for education, said: “We're glad that the delayed assessment date has finally been confirmed. We welcome the use of Pearson Vue centres – this is a model that trainees in England and Wales will be familiar with when applying for pre-registration posts.
“We’re now urging GPhC to act quickly to publish the further details they have committed to providing. These are urgently needed to alleviate the ongoing concerns of those due to sit the assessment.
The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association said: “We agree with the GPhC that no provisionally registered pharmacists should feel compelled to sit this assessment in March 2021 if they do not feel fit to do so, however we would like the GPhC to explicitly state that by choosing to postpone until the next sitting would not result in removal from the provisional register.
“We would also urge the GPhC to release example questions in an online format that mimics the actual assessment so that provisionally registered pharmacists can begin navigating the questions and resources. “