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Are you fit to sit for the November 2023 assessment?

The PDA is offering advice to those eligible to sit the November 2023 assessment as they enter their final weeks of preparation.

Thu 28th September 2023 The PDA

Fit to Sit

Only sit the assessment if you feel fit to do so.

That means you declare that you do not know of any reason why you cannot sit the assessment and perform to your best.

You may decide that you are not ‘fit to sit’ and choose to withdraw if:

  • You do not feel prepared to sit
  • You have been unwell in the lead-up to the assessment
  • You have experienced other circumstances in the lead-up to the assessment that has impacted on your preparation for the exams e.g., a bereavement.

You can withdraw between now and at any point before you sign the non-disclosure agreement at the workstation and declare yourself ‘fit to sit’.

The PDA would advise that you consider your decision and make the best choice for you at each stage of the process.

There are some issues that may arise nearer to the time of the assessment or on the day of the assessment itself and you have options to withdraw or nullify depending on the circumstances.


Here are some examples of situations in which you may decide to withdraw from the assessment:

  • Your mental or physical health declines prior to the exam
  • You feel you haven’t had adequate time to revise
  • You do not feel mentally prepared to sit your assessment
  • You do not feel physically well which may impact on your performance
  • Transport issues which mean you do not arrive at the test centre on time
  • You do not have the correct ID
  • You do not have the correct equipment.

When considering how you feel, try to recall how you have felt in ‘normal’ exam circumstances and whether your worries and anxiety are different to this. Many people experience ‘exam nerves’.

Remember that you can withdraw right up until the start of the exam if you do not sit the assessment and leave before completing the fit to sit declarations.

If you choose to withdraw you must do so by submitting a GPhC Notification of withdrawal form within the timeframe.

*See the GPhC’s guidance for information regarding testing positive for Covid-19.


Here are some examples of situations in which you may decide to nullify your assessment, you must indicate to the invigilator/member of staff during or at the time:

  • Your calculator breaks
  • You have technology issues
  • You are suddenly taken ill during the exam
  • You cannot complete the exam online due to other issues such as a fire alarm
  • There is a problem or incident which impacts on your performance during either of the exams.

The invigilator/member of staff will issue a report to the GPhC, and you will receive a complaint number.

Remember that whatever problems or incidents you have, you must make your invigilator aware during the assessment and submit a nullification request within five working days after the assessment.

What you will need to sit at the test centre

You can find a list of the items required and permitted on the GPhC website here.

They include:

  • A calculator – specific models only – for part 1 paper only
  • Glasses without a case
  • Cough sweets
  • Tissues
  • Ruler
  • Pen and single highlighter
  • Medications (if you have a medical condition)
  • A cushion with a plain cover
  • Valid photo ID documents. The name on your photo ID must match the one on your application form. If they do not, you must let the GPhC know and complete a changing your registered name form.
  • A clear bottle of water if you want a drink.

It is important that you spend 5 minutes reading the GPhC on the day guidance which will be published nearer the time.

PDA supports revision and exam preparation

There’s still time for PDA members who are taking the November 2023 to apply for the FREE PDA revision programme which will include:

  • Practice revision questions and case studies
  • Two one-hour timed mock exams
  • Tips for revising successfully
  • A discussion forum to share your questions, thoughts, and concerns.


Learn more


Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists, and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.







The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

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