eLearning and CPD resources from BPS Assessment

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, staying up to date with the latest developments and best practices is crucial for both students and professionals. One area that requires constant improvement is prescribing, as it directly impacts patient outcomes and safety. Our eLearning and CPD resources are here to help students and healthcare professionals enhance their prescribing skills and clinical pharmacology knowledge.


Prescribing eLearning resources

We recognise the importance of equipping students and healthcare professionals with the necessary tools to make informed and safe prescribing decisions. Our eLearning modules are designed to provide comprehensive and interactive learning examples that cover a wide range of topics related to prescribing and clinical pharmacology.


One of the standout features of our eLearning resources is the emphasis on real-life scenarios and case studies. This approach allows learners to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations, enhancing their critical thinking and decision-making skills. Whether you’re a medical student learning the ropes or a seasoned healthcare professional aiming to stay current, these resources offer valuable insights that can be directly implemented in your practice.


Continued Professional Development for Clinicians

For those working on their re-accreditation, we also offer a dedicated CPD (Continuing Professional Development) resource. The CPD assessment, which is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians, consists of 30 question items for participants to work through, which evaluates various aspects of the learner’s understanding, including their ability to analyze patient cases, the factors affecting drug interactions and the ability to communicate important information to the patient. On completion of the assessment participants earn 6 CPD points to add to their CPD diaries.


In a world where healthcare is rapidly evolving, it’s essential for students and professionals to stay on top of their game. That’s why we have developed our eLearning and CPD resources, to serve as invaluable tools for enhancing prescribing skills, clinical pharmacology knowledge, and patient safety awareness. Whether you’re a student aspiring to become a competent prescriber or a healthcare professional striving to continuously improve, these resources offer a comprehensive and interactive learning experience that will undoubtedly benefit both you and your patients.

Enhance your professional development with a new CPD assessment

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new assessment which has been accredited by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), UK.


Members enrolled on the assessment and Continued Professional Development (CPD) scheme run by RCP, can now sign up for this new resource via the BPS Assessment Learner Portal. Upon completion, there are 6 CPD points on offer for clinicians to add to their RCP CPD diary.


The assessment, which includes 30 prescribing questions, follows the same blueprint as the Prescribing Safety Assessment and tests key competencies expected of medical professionals such as prescribing writing, prescription review, calculations and data interpretation.

We hope that by providing this assessment we can help to improve the prescribing practices and continued learning of healthcare professionals. Many of our existing eLearning and assessments target undergraduates or foundation doctors so it’s great to be able to roll this out for more experienced clinicians as part of a recognised CPD programme.

Rachel Lambert-Forsyth, CEO of the British Pharmacological Society and Managing Director of BPS Assessment


CPD is an essential aspect of being a medical professional. It’s a way of encouraging the ongoing learning and development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes which are necessary for maintaining competence and delivering safe and effective patient care.


BPS Assessment is pleased to now offer CPD training. Take a look at the RCP accredited assessment here, and get your 6 CPD points now!


Platform Licensing: creating prescribing education that matches your learning outcomes

Prescribing education is an important aspect of modern medical training, but it often means educators need to tailor their lessons to meet the specific requirement of both their students and their organisation’s curricula. We know through talking with our customers that creating engaging content that is both informative and effective can be a time-consuming task.


In this blog, we explore how the BPS Assessment’s online platform can aid in developing prescribing education, and improving prescribing competency among trainees while reducing the time burden on educators.


The challenges of developing prescribing education

Building resources that simulate or replicate prescribing in the real world are very few and far between, not only this, but educators often feel as though they have to go to huge lengths to create robust and engaging resources to help trainees better understand prescribing.

With limited time dedicated to this important area of medical education, students often finish their training with a lack of confidence in their prescribing abilities.


Creating unique prescribing resources with our online platform

Our online platform delivers prescribing eLearning and assessments to students who sign up for an account either independently or through their organisation.


We provide prescription writing questions, which test the students’ therapeutic intention, rather than trying to mimic a specific electronic prescribing system. By doing so, we can create a prescribing learning environment which is suitable for training all prescribers, regardless of the EPS that they go on to use.


Through years of research and development, we’ve established an authoring console which is built into the online platform, giving educators the opportunity to write, edit and administer prescribing resources.


Assessment templates on offer

Our out-of-the-box assessments follow a blueprint which tests 8 fundamental competencies in prescribing. The competencies can be seen in the image below.

Educators can choose to follow the blueprint and use the templates available to create their own assessments, or they also have the option to create their own templates depending on their requirements.


Take advantage of expert consultation

In order to create our database of questions, BPS Assessment works with a team of prescribing experts. As part of a platform licensing, educators have the option to consult with our team to ensure their prescribing resources are testing the right areas for their students while reflecting an accurate representation of what prescribing looks like in the real world.


You can request a demo of the platform to see how platform licensing might work for you and your organisation. Contact team@bspassessment.com

International PSA: Your Questions Answered

We recently announced that the Prescribing Safety Assessment is now available to purchase for international medical schools and their students as well as overseas doctors at NHS Trusts. So, what is it and why is it such an important and valuable qualification? 

What is the Prescribing Safety Assessment?

The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) is a test of prescribing knowledge for graduating medical students. It aims to assess the competencies set out by the General Medical Council, outcomes for graduates, to best prepare medical students for practice as a foundation doctor. It is mandatory in the UK, meaning that all new Foundation Year 1 doctors are required to pass the PSA to progress onto Foundation Year 2.


The PSA is delivered by the British Pharmacological Society and MSC Assessment.

Why is it now being offered to international medical schools?

This new offer to international students supports our work to drive improvement in medication safety worldwide, through knowledge, assessment and learning.


The PSA has seen positive responses from around the world as a powerful way of enhancing patient safety – with the goal of contributing towards achieving the World Health Organisation’s global patient safety action plan. Candidates who have prepared for and sat the PSA also consistently report greater confidence in prescribing medicines. 


We are pleased to be able to respond to the persistent call from international medical students and foundation doctors looking for the opportunity to sit and pass this summative exam by expanding access to the PSA internationally. Demonstrating the same level of competency in prescribing through passing the exam will benefit any candidates seeking to practise in the UK. Pass certificates issued as part of the international PSA are equivalent to their UK counterparts and will be accepted by the UK Foundation Programme.

What does it test?

The Prescribing Safety Assessment tests eight distinct prescribing sections across a range of clinical contexts: prescription writing; prescription review; planning management; providing information about medicines; calculation skills; adverse drug reactions; drug monitoring; and data interpretation. The questions are written, reviewed and standard set by UK experts and aligned to the BNF.

Prescribing Safety Assessment

How is the PSA scored?

The assessment comprises eight sections, each containing a specific item style. Each item style provides a percentage of the final score;  Prescribing (80 marks), Prescription Review (32 marks), Planning Management (16 marks), Providing Information (12 marks), Calculation Skills (16 marks), Adverse Drug Reactions (16 marks), Drug Monitoring (16 marks) and Data Interpretation (12 marks). The assessment offers a total of 200 marks and candidates are expected to complete it within a total of two hours of examination time. For more detailed information on the structure of the PSA, please refer to the 2020 PSA Blueprint.

Can my students sit the PSA remotely?

We can’t offer remote sittings of the assessment at this time – candidates need to be invigilated in person at their medical school to ensure the security of the question items. To discuss options please get in touch.

Will international students receive UK-recognised certification?

Yes, all students who pass the International Prescribing Safety Assessment will receive certification from the British Pharmacological Society and MSC Assessment, in order to keep a record for their future portfolio. All certificates are accepted by the UK Foundation Programme.

When do assessments take place?

Assessments take place several times throughout each academic year (please contact us for more information and specific dates).


Note that in order to maintain the security and integrity of the question items, we can only offer 1 Prescribing Safety Assessment sitting per year to international candidates. So, if a candidate fails their sitting, they would need to wait until the following year to be eligible to sit the PSA exam again.

Do you provide practice papers for the Prescribing Safety Assessment?

The Prescribing Safety Assessment itself is a summative assessment, but BPS Assessment can offer up to 4 practice papers which support and assess the same 8 question item styles found within the UK PSA. These can be purchased via the Prescribing Skills Assessment.

What if I already have a Prescribing Skills Assessment subscription?

If you are already a Prescribing Skills Assessment customer, you will be offered preferential rates on the International Prescribing Safety Assessment. We can also tailor your existing subscription so that you can access UK centric papers aligned to the British National Formulary to mirror the final UK PSA exam, rather than localised assessments for your region’s drug database.

If you would like to offer this professional qualification to your students, please contact usWe’d be happy to provide further information and explain how the Prescribing Safety Assessment can be purchased and implemented at your organisation.

Register your interest for the International Prescribing Safety Assessment on this page

Prescribing Safety Assessment
now available to international candidates

BPS Assessment is pleased to announce that the Prescribing Safety Assessment is now available to international candidates.

Prescribing is a fundamental role of doctors all over the world. It is a complex task, requiring both knowledge and careful judgement. As both modern medicine and patients’ needs become more complex, so do the prescribing decisions facing healthcare professionals.


The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA), developed over 10 years ago, was created as the first single, national, online assessment of prescribing competency in the UK. Led and part-funded by the British Pharmacological Society and the Medical Schools Council, it became mandatory for year one foundation doctors to pass in the UK from 2016 onwards. Since then, the PSA has been commended for its impact on patient safety, receiving the education and training award for excellence in patient care from the Royal College of Physicians in 2020.


We are therefore pleased to announce that the Prescribing Safety Assessment – a UK-recognised professional qualification – is now available to purchase for international medical schools and their students.
“We are delighted to offer the Prescribing Safety Assessment Internationally for the first time. This vital test of prescribing competency has been developed in partnership with experts from across the prescribing field and is set to a UK standard. This new offer to international students supports our work to drive improvement in medication safety worldwide, through knowledge, assessment and learning.”
Rachel Lambert-Forsyth
CEO of the British Pharmacological Society and Managing Director of BPS Assessment Ltd.

About the Prescribing Safety Assessment

The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) allows candidates to demonstrate their competencies in relation to the safe and effective use of medicines in clinical practice. It is a mandatory certification, which all UK foundation doctors must pass in order to progress in their training. It is delivered by the British Pharmacological Society in partnership with the Medical Schools Council through its assessment arm, MSC Assessment and is predominantly taken in the final year of medical school.


The PSA is a summative assessment that includes eight question item styles developed to test the competencies defined by the General Medical Council (GMC).

“The PSA was developed in response to research which indicated that prescribing is the area which graduates find most challenging. While locally developed prescribing assessments were already in use by medical schools and hospitals, there was no nationally accepted measure of prescribing performance. It was therefore important for the creation of the PSA to be a collaborative effort. From its inception, the PSA has brought together experts from medical schools across the country to ensure it meets the high standards expected in UK medical education. Its introduction has ensured that foundation doctors have evidence that they are safe and competent prescribers before being able to progress in their training. It has also improved prescribing confidence and has helped those students in need of additional education and support. We hope that the International PSA will allow medical institutions from other nations to experience the benefits to patient safety and prescribing education that it has offered in the UK.”
Katie Petty-Saphon
CEO, UK Medical Schools Council
World map made up of medicines

UK standard

The format and standard of questions in the International PSA will be equivalent to those used in the UK PSA. The exam will feature a summative assessment paper developed by UK experts involved in producing the UK PSA, using a robust standard-setting process.


Students who pass the exam from international schools will receive a certificate endorsed by the BPS and MSC Assessment, identical to the certificate issued in the UK and will receive the same acknowledgement from the UK foundation programme.

International access

The UK is a world leader in prescribing education and was the first country to establish a national prescribing assessment, which is now widely recognised as a marker of basic competence to prescribe and supervise the use of medicines in modern healthcare. International medical schools now have the opportunity to offer the same level of competency assessment through the adoption of the PSA.


The PSA has seen positive responses from around the world as a powerful way of enhancing patient safety. Candidates who have prepared for and sat the PSA also consistently report greater confidence in prescribing medicines. It is anticipated that the International PSA will contribute towards achieving the World Health Organisation’s global patient safety action plan.


We are pleased to be able to respond to the persistent call from international medical students who are looking for an opportunity to sit and pass this summative exam by expanding access to the PSA to international medical schools. Candidates seeking to practise in the UK will benefit from demonstrating equivalent competency in prescribing in comparison to their UK qualified colleagues.

“The PSA has been a major innovation in UK medical education, helping prospective graduates to appreciate the importance of prescribing skills as a critical part of their everyday work. Preparing for and taking the PSA not only serves to develop confidence in prescribing but also highlights potential areas of weakness. The PSA has helped to encourage better undergraduate training in this challenging area and reinforces key messages relating to patient safety. I hope that this initiative to make the PSA more widely available will allow many more medical graduates to access the same qualification that has now been gained by nearly 70,000 UK doctors."
Professor Simon Maxwell
Medical Director, Prescribing Safety Assessment

Find out more

If you would like to offer this professional qualification to your students, please register your interest. We will contact you with further information and explain how the exam can be purchased and implemented at your organisation. You can also read the FAQs on the International PSA page.


We look forward to hearing from you.

New monthly feature in Prescriber magazine

We are pleased to announce a new monthly feature in Prescriber magazine that will allow readers to test their prescribing knowledge across a range of medication safety topics. Every month we will feature one question item from the Prescribing Skills Assessment question bank, brought to you by BPS Assessment, with answers and formative feedback provided.


You can try this month’s question item for yourself here.

prescribing skills assessment

The Prescribing Skills Assessment question items span 8 core areas of prescribing skills, from prescription review to drug monitoring. These questions cover a range of clinical settings, including General Practice, Paediatrics, Opioids and AMR and mirror the question styles used in the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA).

This new monthly feature in Prescriber magazine will help bring these questions to an even wider audience, allowing readers to check their knowledge of common prescribing topics and get rich feedback.

Take a look at the new feature in this month’s issue of Prescriber or find out more about the full Prescribing Skills Assessment from BPS Assessment here and get in touch if you have any questions.

Celebrating Pharmacists

On Friday, pharmacists all over the world were celebrated through World Pharmacists Day. We really enjoyed reading about all the ways our colleagues in pharmacy are helping transform global health care. Pharmacists and pharmacologists have different roles, but by working together they can make a positive impact by ensuring the safe and effective development and delivery of life-changing medicines.

“This year sees our 10th World Pharmacists Day. We aim to show how pharmacists contribute to a world where everyone benefits from access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and health technologies, as well as from pharmaceutical care services.”

FIP President Dominique Jordan

Pharmacists and pharmacologists also work together to develop learning and assessment products for the prescribers and pharmacists of the future. Take a look at Lynne Bollington’s recent video, for example, to see how pharmacist knowledge is central to the development of the UK PSA, for example, which uses the same platform as our own international Prescribing Skills Assessment.

How We Support Pharmacists

As the learning and assessment branch of the British Pharmacological Society, we support pharmacists by developing high quality learning and assessment resources that drive improvement in medication safety.

The Prescribing Skills Assessment is particularly valuable for pharmacists. It’s a flexible online learning and assessment tool that allows pharmacists to develop and test their skills across 8 core areas of prescribing, from prescription review to calculation skills to ADRs. It includes over 1000 questions, all written by practising experts, that put the pharmacist into specific and realistic clinical scenarios. There is a specially developed pharmacists’ version of the Prescribing Skills Assessment that includes a tailored 30-item paper for pharmacists as well as two tailored 30-item practice papers.

Schools and organisations all over the world are now taking advantage of the Prescribing Skills Assessment for pharmacists, such as Health Education and Improvement Wales, who run the Prescribing Skills Assessment for their pre-registration pharmacist trainees, and GMU PharmD students who recently completed their Prescribing Skills Assessment.

We have also developed new BPS Assessment Simulators, affordable packages of content that offer targeted skills development for pharmacists in critical areas of prescribing such as Hypertension, AMR and Deprescribing.

Get in touch to find out more about the resources we have developed for pharmacists, including the tailored version of the Prescribing Skills Assessment. You can also read some of the pharmacist stories and experiences shared on Twitter via #WorldPharmacistsDay.




GMU PharmD students complete Prescribing Skills Assessment

We are pleased to share this press release from Gulf Medical University.

Gulf Medical University PharmD students undertake Prescribing Skills training and assessment in pursuit of “Patient Safety”

Pharmacy professionals play a vital role in delivering care and helping patients maintain and improve their health, safety and wellbeing. Patients and the public have a right to be prescribed safe and effective medications. Historically, pharmacist contribution to medication safety was focused on dispensing, Now, their roles have expanded as medication therapy has increased in complexity. While pharmacists have contributed to patient safety over the years as part of their many job-related responsibilities, they now recognize and embrace their unique training, which positions them to greatly impact patient safety through the global evaluation and improvement of medication safety processes.

For the first time in the Middle East region, GMU pharmacy students are undergoing training to enhance medication safety at the individual patient level through medication management skills, monitor outcomes and initiate efforts to mitigate drug-related outcomes that may cause harm. They participated in a yearlong training program during their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) and completed a prescribing skills assessment. This was enabled by an academic collaboration between the British Pharmacological Society Assessment and GMU which resulted in a benchmarking exercise for GMU pharmacy education outcomes including prescribing skills against international standards. 

Dr. Sherief Khalifa, Vice Chancellor for Quality & Global Engagement and Dean College of Pharmacy commented:

“We are proud of our partnership with the British Pharmacological Society Assessment. Through this partnership, our pharmacy graduates are enhancing their prescribing skills which reflects directly on patient medication safety.”

Dr. Sherief Khalifa

Contact the BPS Assessment team for more information on running the Prescribing Skills Assessment within your own institution.



UNSW Medicine delivers successful PSA remote sitting

We’ve been working with institutions all over the world throughout to help them deliver important education to their medical and pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, one institution shares their experience of delivering the PSA remotely.

The University of South Wales in Sydney, Australia have been running the Prescribing Skills Assessment as a formative and mandatory assessment for their final year medical students since 2017. This year, the assessment was successfully conducted remotely, with over 280 students completing the exam using their own devices at home or an alternative suitable venue.

“Thank you to the team BPS Assessment Team and UNSW Medicine for enabling medical students to have the opportunity to sit the PSA exam remotely and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

UNSW Medicine

Read more about the success of their remote sittings below, or contact us for more information on running the Prescribing Skills Assessment in your own institution.