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Exams



Exam regulations

​​Candidates with special needs should note the ability to apply for special adjustments – see the large text at the end of this d​ocument. 


 
The examination (the “ABPI Exam”) is administered by the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison. 

The ABPI Exam is conducted in line with the requirements of the Joint Council for Qualifications.

 
The accredited examination is awarded by and quality assured by “Industry Qualifications”. 

 
ABPI runs all exam sittings to the IQ standard Quality Management System. The ABPI Exam is created and governed by the ABPI Exam Governance Committee which is an independent committee comprising industry medical and academic representatives. 

 
  • The head Invigilator at any exam will have power to conduct examinations under appropriate conditions and has ultimate decisions on running the exam on the day. They have the power to and may exclude candidates they believe to have been misbehaving during the exam process. 
  • The ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison has investigatory powers under these regulations, and will present their written report to relevant decision makers. The Head of Education & Academic Liaison may also make decisions as to the nature of reasonable adjustments for candidates with special needs.
  • The ABPI Chief Examiner (an independent role) shall undertake first line hearings against examination questions and results based on the clarity or correctness of exam content.
  • The ABPI Chief Executive will rule on investigations by the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison as to misconduct by Candidates and any whistleblowing complaints. 
  • The independent ABPI Exam Appeal Board shall undertake appeals against decisions by the ABPI Chief Examiner and Chief Executive, and will be the final body ruling on investigations by the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison with appeals as to exam results, suspected misconduct by Candidates, any whistleblowing complaints and any decisions as to appropriate reasonable adjustments for candidates with special needs. 

 
1. All Candidates must comply with the Exam Regulations. 

 
2. Examination sittings can be booked by completing the details requested in the secure online application form and will be valid as soon as payment of fees has been processed and a confirmation of registration is emailed to the Candidate.

 
3. There is a closing date approximately four calendar weeks before each sitting after which it will not be possible to register to sit the exam date. After this closing date it will not be possible to defer the exam sitting unless there are medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances. Evidence should be supplied to the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison.

 
4. There is a time limit in the ABPI Code of Practice for successfully completing this qualification. Representatives must take an appropriate examination within their first year of employment as a representative and must pass the ABPI Exam within 2 years of starting such employment. Applications for extensions to these periods of time should be made to the PMCPA Director, at the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (hsimmonds@pmcpa.org.uk). 

 
5. Candidates who do not present themselves at the booked exam venue in good time without good reason will forfeit the fees paid for that exam sitting. Candidates are required to arrive at the exam venue 20 minutes before the start of the exam.

 
6. No Candidate may be admitted to an examination room later than one hour after the beginning of the examination. A Candidate who arrives late will not be given extra time, except in exceptional circumstances outside the Candidate’s control. 

 
7. Candidates are responsible for checking that they have the correct examination papers and materials to complete the exam. 

 
8. Candidates who need to defer the taking of the exam for medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances must present a doctor’s certificate or other such evidence in writing to the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison as soon as possible after the relevant date of sickness or the date of the exam. It will be at the sole discretion of the ABPI acting through the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison, or on appeal the ABPI Exam Appeal Board whether to reschedule a student to sit the exam at a future date without payment of additional fees.

 
9. All Candidates must bring required photo ID to the examination and make such available to the Invigilator to verify the name and identity of the Candidate. Any examination Candidate where it is found that they have arranged for someone else to sit the exam on their behalf will be subject to disciplinary procedures. Any person who attempts to sit an exam on behalf of another person will be subject to disciplinary procedures. Such behaviour constitutes the crime of attempting to obtain a pecuniary advantage by deception and may be reported to your employer or to appropriate national authorities.

 
10. Candidates may not talk to each other from the time of entering the examination room to after the time they leave. A Candidate who needs to attract the attention of the Invigilator is required to raise his/her hand.

 
11. A Candidate who suspects there is an error in an examination paper should consult an Invigilator by putting up his hand. The Invigilator will then investigate and report the question to be considered by the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison who will put the matter before the ABPI Chief Examiner to decide. 

 
12. No Candidate may start writing until the Invigilator announces the start of the examination. 

 
13. At the end of the examination all Candidates must remain seated until all examination scripts have been collected and the Invigilator directs that they may leave. No examination materials may be removed from the examination room by a Candidate. 

 
14. Candidates may leave the room temporarily during the examination but must be accompanied by an Invigilator during their absence from the room.

 
15. In the event of a fire alarm and the need to evacuate the examination room students will continue to be under exam regulations so must leave their bags in the exam room. When it is safe to re-enter the building the Invigilator will decide whether the examination should continue. The Invigilator has a general discretion to take such action during an examination as may be required in the consequence of unforeseen circumstances. As soon as possible afterwards the Invigilator shall make a report to the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison to include the circumstances and what action was taken.

 
16. Candidates who wish to leave early must hand in their examination question paper and answer sheet to the Invigilator, and may only leave the room when the Invigilator has given permission to leave. Failure to obtain permission may cause the Candidate to be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
 
17. During an examination bags should be placed where directed by the Invigilator. Candidates are required to leave personal items such as keys, purses, mobile phones and electronic devices other than permitted calculators in their bags.  Mobile phones must be switched off. Possession of a mobile phone or any other electronic device that allows information to be stored or internet access at an examination desk is strictly prohibited.

 
18. During an examination Candidates must not consult or have access to any unauthorised materials such as books, mobile phones, electronic devices, notes or other aids unless their use is authorised for any particular examination. 

 
19. Candidates must only use models of non-programmable calculators. Candidates are not allowed to store formulae in calculators. Candidates who arrive with other models of calculator which are programmable will not be permitted to use them in the exam.

 
20. Any unauthorised material found in the possession of a Candidate after an examination has begun will be confiscated. The Candidate’s answer paper will be annotated by the Invigilator at that point and the circumstances of the confiscation will be noted in the Invigilators report. Unauthorised material confiscated will be submitted to the lead Invigilator for checking. The normal expectation of unauthorised mobile phone possession is that it should be treated as a possession of unauthorised material in the examination. The phone will be returned to the Candidate at the end of the exam.

 
Exam results 

 
21. Individual Candidates will be sent an email to confirm that the results have been posted to their individual account, accessed through their online profile page. No communication of results will be made directly to the Candidate’s listed employer, it is up to the Candidate to decide whether or not to reveal the exam result to his employer at any time.

 
22. Candidates who do not attain the set pass mark for any unit being attempted will be deemed to have failed the exam unit.

 
23. All successful Candidates who have passed the required units will receive a certificate indicating the qualification awarded.  This will be one of the following:
  • Level 3 Certificate in the promotion of prescription medicines
  • Level 3 Diploma in the promotion of prescription medicines

 
24. Candidates registered on the Diploma exam who have met the distinction criteria will be awarded a certificate of distinction from the ABPI. To achieve distinction a candidate must meet all the following criteria:
  • an average of 80% or more for the morning units and an average of 80% or more for the afternoon units
  • the minimum mark on each individual unit must be at least 70%, apart from Unit 1 Code of Practice and NHS, where the minimum mark must be at least 80%
  • these marks must be achieved at the first attempt.

 
Appeal regarding clarity or correctness of questions in the exam:

 
25. The ABPI will not normally enter into communication regarding individual Candidate performance other than by the methods set out in these regulations.

 
26. The ABPI Chief Examiner is an independent appointment and will consider appeals in relation to questions on which the answer is not correct or clear, or there is something wrong with the questions put in the exam, or facts recorded in the learning manuals. 

 
27. It is important that Candidates tell the Invigilator of the exam or contact the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison as soon as possible afterwards to raise concerns about exam questions.  ABPI encourages openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken. The ABPI will treat all disclosures seriously and will investigate as appropriate, where possible with confidentiality respected. 

 
28. The ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison will carry out an initial assessment to determine the scope of the investigation. They will communicate with all affected parties to give an indication of how ABPI proposes to deal with the matter. You may be required to attend additional meetings to provide further information about the complaint circumstances.  

 
29. The Head of Education & Academic Liaison will present such reasons in a report to the ABPI Chief Examiner who will decide how to rule.  Candidates who need to appeal on the basis of medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances should follow the procedure set out at point 8 above.

 
30. Having received the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison’s report, the ABPI Chief Examiner  might decide to prescribe any or all the following sanctions:
  • No further action
  • No case to answer
  • Exclusion of the question leading to the question not contributing to the marking of that paper for the entire cohort of candidates taking that exam paper
  • Remarking the exam scripts by all students at that exam sitting.

 
31. Appeals from this decision by the ABPI Chief Examiner to the ABPI Exam Appeal Board will only be considered on the basis set out below under the sub-heading “Second-line Appeal”. 

 
Disciplinary action for poor conduct during exams:

 
32. After first warning a Candidate, the Invigilator may exclude them from the examination room where their conduct is in the opinion of the Invigilator either continuing or likely to disturb other Candidates. Any exclusion shall be reported to the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison. 

 
33. It is important that Candidates tell the Invigilator of the exam or contact the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison as soon as possible to raise concerns about any suspicion of poor conduct or malpractice.  ABPI encourages openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken. The ABPI will treat all disclosures seriously and will investigate as appropriate, where possible with confidentiality respected. 

 
34. On receipt of the investigatory report by the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison, the ABPI Chief Executive will consider all appeals in relation to issues of conduct in exams or issues brought to the ABPI’s attention through whistleblowing. 

 
35. Candidates will be liable to disciplinary hearings as laid down in these regulations for irregular conduct relating to an exam including but not limited to - 
  • attempts to cheat at the ABPI examination, or suspecting this might happen 
  • cheating by reviewing an unauthorised copy of exam paper or exam paper answers before taking the exam
  • cheating by attempting to copy or otherwise view or steal someone else’s exam responses, or suspecting this might happen 
  • accepting or receiving a bribe related to taking the examination, or suspecting this might happen in future 
  • being asked to give a bribe related to taking the examination, or suspecting this might happen in future
  • misrepresenting your identity when taking the ABPI examination, or suspecting this might happen 
  • taking the examination on behalf of another person, or suspecting this might happen 
  • bringing a mobile handheld device or unauthorised document to look up answers during the examination or suspecting this might happen
  • attempts to steal exam papers, or suspecting this might happen 
  • criminal activity such as fraud, dishonesty or deception
  • behaviour during an exam which disrupts the ability of other Candidates to take the exam in peaceful conditions 
  • failure to follow the directions of the exam Invigilator.
  • leaving the examination room at any time unless authorised to do so by the Invigilator.
  • behaviour which assists another Candidate in a unauthorised manner 
  • failure to use the answer sheet provided
  • communicating with other people in the examination room other than with the Invigilator
  • serious incapacity whilst taking exams caused by alcohol or illegal drugs 
  • use of words or behaviour which is threatening abusive or insulting to other Candidates, the Invigilator or any staff member of ABPI

 
36. If you wish to report a Candidate to the Invigilator for irregular conduct but are unsure whether a particular act constitutes something to be reported to the ABPI, or you have any queries you should contact the Invigilator as soon as possible during the exam, who will report to the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison as soon as possible.  Candidates should also refer to the Exam Whistleblowing policy for guidance on making concerns known to the ABPI.

 
37. Once a Candidate or the Invigilator has raised a concern, ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison will carry out an initial assessment to determine the scope of any investigation and will communicate with all affected parties to give an indication of how we propose to deal with the matter. You may be required to attend additional meetings to provide further information about the complaint circumstances. 

 
38. The investigator’s report will then be put by the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison to the ABPI Chief Executive who will decide the outcome of the assessment. This result will be sent where appropriate to: (a) you; and (b) all other affected individual(s). 

 
39. The Director of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority is the only person who can consider appeals for a Candidate to be given extra calendar time beyond the one year allowed by the Code of Practice to take the exam and the two years given to Candidates to pass the exam. Neither the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison, ABPI Chief Executive, the ABPI Chief Examiner nor The ABPI Exam Appeal Board has any role in this process. 

 
40. Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to disqualification or other sanctions. Having received an investigating officer’s report, the ABPI Chief Executive  might decide to prescribe any or all the following sanctions:
  • No further action
  • No case to answer
  • Award a mark of zero for the exam paper/unit concerned 
  • Ask a Candidate to retake or undertake further examination papers/units under conditions approved by the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison 
  • Refer the matter to the employer of the relevant person(s) or to the appropriate national authorities

 
Second-Line Appeal from decisions of the Chief Examiner or Chief Executive:

 
41. Only the following grounds of appeal are applicable for the second line appeal process:

 
a. New evidence which could not reasonably have been made available at the original hearing or
b. A procedural irregularity occurred which had a detrimental impact on the outcome of any hearing, or
c. The penalty imposed was disproportionate given the nature of the alleged offence.

 
42. A Candidate may appeal on these grounds against any decision made by the ABPI Chief Executive or the ABPI Chief Examiner by writing within 14 days of notification of the result to the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison who will refer the matter to the independent ABPI Exam Appeal Board to make a final decision. The Appeal must set out the relevant grounds and further information on which the appeal is being made. 

 
43. The appeal may uphold, remove or amend any terms of the Candidate under investigation’s outcome. The ABPI Exam Appeal Board’s decision is final. Having received the investigating officer’s report, and notice of the decision by the ABPI Chief Executive or Chief Examiner the ABPI Exam Appeal Board might decide to prescribe any or all the following sanctions:
  • No further action
  • No case to answer
  • Award a mark of zero for the exam paper/unit concerned 
  • Ask a Candidate to retake or undertake further examination papers/units under conditions approved by the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison 
  • Refer the matter to the employer of the relevant person(s) or to the appropriate national authorities
Privacy of data 

 
44. In general ABPI will not pass on to any third party (including the Candidate’s employer or a potential employer) details regarding a Candidates exam taking schedule or results without first obtaining the consent of the Candidate indicated during the online registration process or separately in writing. Only in cases of findings by the ABPI Chief Executive or the ABPI Exam Appeal Board of misconduct will ABPI seek to contact a Candidate’s employer or the police to pass on the details under investigation. 

 
45. The ABPI may collect and process the following data about you:
  • Information that you provide by filling in forms on the exams website. This includes information provided at the time of registering to use the website or requesting further exam sittings.
  • If you contact the ABPI, we may keep a record of that correspondence.
  • To enable the ABPI to process any order for purchases requiring payment by you from the ABPI Exams website. Where possible the ABPI uses a secure online payment facility which is enabled to process payments using debit/credit card details. This facility is run by a third party organisation 'Secure Trading Ltd' of www.securetrading.com (or such alternative provider as the ABPI might choose at any time) and so other than during the short time it takes to process the transaction the ABPI will not be collecting or storing your payment card details on our IT systems.

 
46. The ABPI uses this information in the following ways:
  • To ensure that content on the exam website is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer
  • To provide you with information, products or services that you request from the ABPI or which we feel may interest you about the ABPI and our work where you have consented to be contacted for such purposes 
  • To carry out obligations arising from any contracts entered into between you and the ABPI
  • To allow you to participate in interactive features of ABPI service, when you choose to do so
  • To notify you about changes to our services.

 
47. The ABPI may disclose your personal data to a third party if it is under a legal duty to disclose or share your personal data with law enforcement agencies. 

 
The ABPI Exam whistleblowing policy can be found here.​
 

Candidates with special needs who require reasonable adjustments to the exam papers or answer sheets, or who require extra time to complete an exam sitting should contact the Head of Education and Academic Liaison to make their application directly after indicating that they have special needs on their online registration form.  The Head of Education and Academic Liaison will review written evidence submitted from an accredited professional source such as the Candidate’s doctor or educational psychologist to assess what reasonable needs can be accommodated for the Candidate. The Candidate needs to show evidence in writing to the ABPI before the closing date for any sitting. 


The ABPI promotes inclusion for all, regardless of disability, capability or technology. The exams web site and the examination process have been designed to be highly accessible and usable in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG v2.0) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Should you have difficulty accessing information please contact us outlining your requirements. We will endeavour to supply the information to you.


For Candidates with dyslexia, or who are partially sighted or have any other disability affecting the ability to undertake a written examination without making reasonable adjustments, the ABPI may provide any of the following adjustments at the discretion of the ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison: 

  • up to 25% extra time to complete the exam questions; or, 

  • a large print copy of the exam regulations, questions, and answer paper; or 

  • the assistance of a person to read the exam questions out loud.  

​Appeals against decisions of the ABPI Head of Education and Academic Liaison as to the nature of appropriate reasonable adjustments should be addressed to the ABPI Exam Appeal Board. 



 

​Contacts

 
ABPI Head of Education & Academic Liaison
Sarah Jones 
0207 747 1429 
exams@abpi.org.uk
ABPI Chief Examiner
Gary Skinner 
0207 930 3477​ 
exams@abpi.org.uk 

 
ABPI Chief Executive
Mike Thompson 
0207 930 3477
getintouch@abpi.org.uk

ABPI Exam Appeal Board 
- Independent lawyer chair 
- Chair of ABPI Exam Governance Committee 
- Representative of Medical Expert Network 

 
Contact in writing via ABPI exams@abpi.org.uk 
Southside 7th Floor, 105 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QT ​

 

© ABPI 2016