Exam changes afoot

The Pharmacy Board has announced that changes to its registration exam for general registration are set to take effect on 1 January 2021

The changes agreed by the Board were informed by the outcomes of the Intern Year Blueprint project, a joint initiative between the Board and the Australian Pharmacy Council that resulted in a new blueprint being implemented. 

The blueprint is the framework used to determine future options for assessing pharmacy interns against the required competencies for pharmacists.

Since 2018, the Board and APC have been working together to determine the most appropriate and effective type of assessment for each competency from the range of choices described in the blueprint, and to identify the organisation with the prime responsibility to develop and administer the assessment.

As a result of this work, the Board is making the following changes to its registration examination for interns, effective as of 1 January 2021:

  • the written examinations and the oral examinations will be held three times a year according to the existing oral examination schedule (to be held in February, June and October)
  • entry to the written examination and the oral examination will be granted to candidates who have completed 75% of the approved supervised practice hours required for general registration by the date of the examinations
  • successful completion of the written examination will no longer be an eligibility requirement for entry into the oral examination, and candidates may sit either or both examinations during the same exam period, and
  • the duration of the written examination will be reduced from three hours to two hours while the oral examination will be reduced from four parts (with a total duration of 45 minutes) to three parts (taking 35 minutes).

Successful completion of the registration examination requires candidates to pass both the oral and written examinations within 18 months.

Information about the written examination is available on the APC website and information about the oral examination is available on the Board’s website including FAQs. 

The Board’s related documents such as the Pharmacy oral examination (practice) candidate guide and other website information will be updated shortly to reflect these changes.

A broad range of competencies will continue to be assessed despite the shorter total assessment duration, but with less duplication. Assessing the competence of interns towards the end of the internship when they have gained more experience means they will be better placed to successfully complete the assessments.

These changes are in line with the Board’s strategic objective of efficient and effective regulatory functions, and the objectives of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

This includes the National Scheme objective of protecting the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered.

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