10 Top Tips for the GPhC Exam
- Relax - although the pass rate is now 74%, on average 95% of well prepared students who take the exam, pass first time. The 5% who fail, usually have really good reasons for not passing ie they did not have the correct resources, they had an adverse event which affected study performance, turned up late etc.
- Its not as hard as you think - we have purposely made PCPA harder than the exam you are taking, to make you just that little bit more prepared. If you have passed all the PCPA questions with a 70% average, should expect 80% on the actual exam.
- Start revising early - start with the BNF around December / January. You will learn stuff on the job but for the exam you need to know the BNF inside out. But to what extent do you need to know the BNF for the GPhC Exam? Very well, for instance for olanzapine you should know it can cause respiratory depression. This is not in the paragraph that precedes the drug but in the drug monograph itself. You should look at both the paragraphs at the start of the chapter and for cautions and warnings in the drug monographs. For the exam your knowledge of chapters 1-6 should be excellent whereas after chapter 6 there are only particular things you need to know from other chapters.
- Use the CPPE OTC and Responding to symptoms books - these are found in most pharmacies (if the pharmacy hasn't got one get your tutor to buy one) in combination both books have everything you need to know and more then sufficient to pass the exam.
- Know your MEP - although you cannot use the MEP in the exam you still need to know it. Learn your MEP properly especially the control drug stuff and stuff about emergency supplies, VET RX, responsible pharmacy, consent. In short know everything.
- Timing - for the actual exam timing is crucial. Open Book is about 2 minutes per question whereas Closed Book is about 1 minute. A good technique is to go through all of the questions answering the ones you know instinctively and leave the ones you doubt till later. If you find you are dwelling on one question too long move to the next and return to it later.
- Use your experience - by now you have probably sat over 50 exams. You know what is best and what works for you, if none of the above points have worked for you in the past leave them all out and do it the way you know best which has given you the best performance. Lastly, good luck, you wont be the 1 in 20. Your tutor also has a wealth of free advice about how to pass the exam, ask them what they did and pick up as many tips as possible.
- Concentrate on calculations - by april you should have read the BNF, MEP and OTC stuff numerous times, this mean you have approximately 8 weeks for pharmaceutical calculations. You should aim to practice them for 3-4 hours a night (5 days a week). This may seem excessive but this will guarantee your success if you are not confident.
- Use as many resources as possible - there are a few pre-regs who seem to have everything on a USB drive (past GPhC exam papers), very useful to find ;) However, more often than not, these files are out of date, the GPhC exam has radically changed in the past decade. 50% of the questions in past paper are now not relevant to the modern GPhC exam so it is better to use an online, updated resources like PharmacyCPA!
- After the exam try not listen to others - you can talk about questions after the exam but try not to fret, students will often talk about the questions they found most difficult which can make other students worry about whether they answered the question correctly. Remember that the GPhC purposefully put in a few very hard questions to try and stump the student, there will be questions you get wrong in the exam, but the majority (which students dont often talk about) you will get right.
Last modified: Tuesday, 22 December 2015, 8:24 AM