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About the Qualifications
Commonly asked questions about the qualifications. Click on the relevant question to see our answer.View More
Commonly asked questions about the learning resources. Click on the relevant question to see our ...View More
Our examination process
Commonly asked questions about our examination process. Click on the relevant question to see our...View More
Commonly asked questions about other topics. Click on the relevant question to see our answer.View More
FAQs for employers
If you are employers and have a question, most likely your answer is hereView More
About the Qualifications
- What is a generic sales representative?
- How long do I have to pass the exam?
- How many optional disease units should I select?
- How much does the qualification cost?
- How much time do I need to spend studying for the exam?
- Can I take the ABPI exam if I am not currently working as a medical representative?
- What is my industry start date?
- Are there prerequisites for taking the exam?
- What should I do if I have a concern about the ABPI exam?
- What type of questions will I be asked in the exam?
- Will I be tested on the use of statistics in medicine in other units?
Representatives who promote medicines on the basis of price MUST take the ABPI Advanced Professional Programme for Representatives.
If you have registered for the Intermediate Programme, you will only be able to book units related to that qualification.
If you are sitting optional disease units, you must select units from one of the following two combinations:
- 3 units: all from units 5 and 7-16
- 2 units: Unit 6 (10 credits) and one unit from units 5 and 7-16
In order to sit the ABPI Exam, you must purchase learning manuals. These colour, illustrated books are published by the ABPI and available for purchase at a cost of £175 including free postage within the UK (international delivery charges apply for overseas delivery). These learning manuals cover all the material for both the Advanced and Intermediate Programmes.
E-learning is also available at a cost of £130 + VAT
The cost to sit each unit is £115 + VAT
Mandatory units sitting: £460 + VAT
Optional disease area units sitting: £345 + VAT
The total cost of ordering both types of learning materials and both mandatory and optional units is therefore £1297.00
Please note that this does not include any resits which can be booked at the same cost of £115 + VAT per unit.
It depends on your background knowledge. Most of the units require knowledge of human biology, so if you have a life science degree or a recent Biology A-Level (or equivalent) you will not need to study as many hours as someone with little biology knowledge. If you have no prior knowledge of any of the topics you may need to study for 300 hours for the four mandatory units, and for 150 hours for the disease area units. This is consistent with programmes equivalent to Level 3 qualifications.
Yes. When you create your profile, to register for the ABPI Exam, do not tick the box ‘Are you working in industry’. This will indicate to us that you are not currently working as a medical representative.
When you create your personal profile you are required to state the date you started working in a promotional role in the pharmaceutical industry, if you do so, for the purpose of compliance with the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice. The Code requires that representatives sit the exam, within their first year and allows a maximum of 2 years for someone to pass the exam. Once you have exceeded 2 years from the date you started working in a promotional role, you will not be able to book an exam unless you have received permission from the PMCPA to be allowed an extension to the time available to complete the qualification.
If you are not working as a representative this requirement is not relevant to you.
Please note that the date you starting working in industry refers to the date upon which you started in a role where you promote medicines and NOT the date when you first promoted medicines.
No, there are no prerequisites to take the exam.
However, many of the exam units require a knowledge of human biology, so the hours of study are likely to be less for someone with this background than for a person who has done no biology since GCSE.
The exam will require those people who do not have a science background to study in more depth, but the knowledge gained will enable representatives to have meaningful conversations with healthcare professionals about the products their company supplies.
Individuals do not need to be employed as a representative to register for, or to take, the Exam.
The ABPI is committed to managing the ABPI examination to the highest standards of transparency and ethics. We expect all candidates and ABPI staff and contractors to be honourable in all aspects concerning the attempting and management of the exam process.
However, all institutions face the risk of things going wrong from time to time, or of unknowingly harbouring illegal or unethical conduct. ABPI is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability to prevent such situations occurring, and to address them when they do occur.
Whistleblowing is the reporting of a suspected wrongdoing in relation to the ABPI examination. The ABPI has a policy for whistleblowing with regards to the ABPI exam. You can access our policies at the footer of this page.
You will be asked a mixture of questions all areas of the unit. All questions in the exam are multiple choice with four possible answers with one correct answer. There is no negative marking.
The questions will include the following question types:
A. Remembering - recall of factual information given in the learning materials
B. Understanding - straightforward questions based on information given in the learning manuals but which require a degree of understanding and/or interpretation of the materials
C. Applying knowledge
E. Evaluating - interpretation of data in tables or graphs. Understanding of data and some calculations may be required
The accredited ABPI exam requires understanding of the subject matter, not just recall of key facts. This results in more sustained learning and ability to apply what has been learned in other situations, and is consistent with an equivalent Level 3 qualification.
You may be examined in the use of the statistical methods covered in section 4.2.4 in all other units.
Yes, the content in section 4.2.4 of Volume 1 of the learning materials (accredited Certificate/Intermediate Programme and Diploma/Advanced Programme) may be examined in all other units.
The e-learning questions have been written by the ABPI question writing team. Hence the range of style of questions is the same as you will encounter in the actual exam, but they are not the same actual questions used in the live exams.
To ensure you are as fully prepared as possible, we recommend you view the Questionmark videos here:
Additionally, there are practice exams to help you familiarise yourself with all elements of the exam platform which become available upon purchase of your examination seats. You must take a practice exam before you take your actual examination.
Our examination process
- How do I book an exam?
- What happens on the day of the exam?
- How do I request an extension to the time period available for sitting examinations?
- What happens if I am late for the exam?
- Can I sit the mandatory and disease area units in separate sittings/on different days?
- How do I appeal my score?
- What type of identification will I be required to present?
- How long after an exam will I get my results?
- What happens if I fail an exam?
- What is the pass mark for the exam, and how do I achieve Distinction?
- What should I bring to my exam?
- Where and when are exams held?
- Who will invigilate my exam?
- What is online remote invigilation?
- Can I choose not to sit the exam online?
- How long do I have to complete the online assessment?
- What if I live somewhere with poor internet speeds, can I still take an online test?
- What do I do if I have a technical issue during my online proctored exam appointment?
- How can I access technical support?
- What equipment do I need to sit an online remote invigilated exam?
- Can I look at notes, books, or online resources when completing the online exam?
- Can I borrow a laptop?
- Can I submit my assessment before the submission time?
- Are toilet breaks permitted during the exam?
- Can I eat, drink, or take a break during the exam?
- Will I be able to see all the exam questions at once instead of completing one before moving to the next one?
- Can I make notes during the exam?
- Could I accidentally stop the exam?
- Can I cancel or amend an exam booking?
- Can I use a calculator, whiteboard or note paper in the exam?
Welcome to the new look examinations platform. If you are keen to schedule your examinations using the increased flexibility now open to you, please follow the steps below, but please note, you must take the 'Example Exam' before you can schedule any exams.
1. Log in/register on this website
2. Navigate to the 'Online Store' and purchase as many exam seats as you need (you will not be able to schedule an exam unless you have first purchased one or more exam seats)
3. Navigate to one of the units you wish to schedule - e.g. Exam - Unit 1 - The Code of Practice and the NHS
4. Once you have clicked on the appropriate unit, at the bottom of the page there is a link to schedule your exam - click this
5. On the next page you can Create a new exam booking and then use the Manage booking link to pick the day and time of your choosing. If you need to change this later, you should return to the same screen and choose a different day and time
6. Repeat the same steps to book any other exams
As always, please be in contact if you have any questions.
You must ensure you have a secure place to take the exam, have installed the secure browser and met all technical requirements before the start of your exam.
You will be able to launch your exam up to 15 minutes before your scheduled proctored slot i.e. 09:45 for a 10:00 slot. Please note you may need to wait a few minutes for the proctor to become available, particularly if you launch the session early. You will then connect to your proctor, for an environment scan and ID check, which usually takes 5-10 minutes.
Once this is completed, the proctor will instruct you to start the exam. The exam page may take a little while to load and appear blank in the meantime. If this happens, do not panic, your time will not start until the exam page has loaded. You MUST NOT refresh the page or use the back button.
The exam questions consist of multiple choice questions with four options and one correct answer. Answers are selected by clicking the single best answer. You will be able to navigate forwards and backwards between questions using the navigation pane and highlight questions to which you wish to return.
Once you are finished, you will click "Submit" followed by "Yes, I am sure" to submit your answers. If you have not submitted your answers by the end of the time allowed, your answers will be submitted automatically.
The proctor will ask you some final questions and ask you to shred any notes you have made in view of the camera. You may then close the session window.
You must ensure you have undertaken the Practice Test well before your examination to familiarise yourself with the secure browser and navigation pane.
If you are approaching the end of the two years that you are allowed in which to pass the exam, you must contact the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority to apply for an extension. The PMCPA will decide whether or not to grant you an extension.
If you are granted an extension by the PMCPA, you must inform ABPI via the ‘Contact Us’ form, so that we can update your profile.
You can contact the PMCPA here.
As per the ABPI Exam Regulations: Punctuality is the responsibility of the candidate.
Yes, once you have purchased your exam seats, you have the freedom to schedule exams at times that suit you (within the limits of the one and two year rule as stated in the current ABPI Code of Practice).
Exam papers are marked electronically. The likelihood of an error in marking is very low and all marginal scores are checked prior to uploading the results to individual profiles. Therefore, we do not routinely remark papers, as there is very little room for error. Where a candidate requires a manual remark in spite of the above, there is an administration fee of £30 + VAT per paper, which is refunded if the mark is changed.
If you want to appeal your score based on any other factors that you feel may be relevant, you have 14 days from the date of the exam to do so in writing to ABPI Examinations Director. Please see the Exam Regulations for more information.
Acceptable photo ID for authentication: a valid Government-issued Passport, Driver’s Licence or National ID card. Any candidate who is unable to meet the requirements of the photo ID authentication will NOT be permitted to take the examination. ABPI will NOT refund the examination fees for candidates who do not meet the ABPI Exam identity authentication requirement.
You will see an indicative score on submitting your Online Exam. However, the indicative result will undergo an internal quality assurance. We will contact you if there is a problem with your result.
Certificates will be sent in due course following you attaining the qualification. These will be sent to the email address on your profile - please make sure this is correct. You do not have to order or pay for your first certificate.
Provided that you are still within your time limit to pass the exam, you can resit the unit(s) you have failed. This is booked in the same way and at the same cost as your original booking.
You do not need to resit any units you have previously passed. There is a standard limit of 6 attempts of a specific exam.
To pass the ABPI exam, you must achieve at least 60% in each unit. If you are taking Unit 6, you must achieve at least 60% in both your 6a and 6b exams.
To achieve Distinction, candidates must meet all the following criteria:
•an average of 80% or more for the mandatory units and an average of 80% or more for the disease area 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
If you are sitting the accredited Diploma/Advanced Programme and achieve a Distinction, you will receive a certificate from the ABPI as well as from our external awarding body.
You must ensure you read the ABPI Exam Regulations well in advance of your examinations to ensure you can comply with all regulations.
Candidates can take an exam wherever it is convenient, however, the exam will be proctored and must be kept secure. It is the responsibility of the Candidate to ensure the testing environment is suitable, this includes ensuring:
• A well-lit, quiet, private room.
• All doors to the room are closed.
• No one else is in the room unless this forms part of a specific Exam Access Arrangement agreed by the Director of the Examination on application, and in advance of the exam appointment – see ABPI Exam Access Arrangements Policy.
• The table or desk is clear of any material, with the exception of one piece of plain A4 paper (blank on both sides) and a pencil.
• Mobile phones are turned off and stored away out of sight. Possession of any other electronic device that allows information to be stored or internet access at an examination desk is also strictly prohibited – this includes Smart watches.
• Additional monitors are turned off and turned away from sight of the Candidate.
• Any desk phone is disconnected or blocked from incoming calls.
• There is no access to any unauthorised materials such as books.
• No posters, or information leaflets on the walls of the exam room, particularly where a Candidate chooses to sit the exam in their place of employment.
All Candidates must have the required photo identification ready when logging onto the exam session to go through the authentication process with the one-to-one online proctor. The name on the exam appointment must match the name on the photo identification. Acceptable photo ID for authentication is: a valid Government-issued Passport, Driver’s Licence or National ID card.
Any examination Candidate found to have either provided false ID or 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.
Any Candidate who is unable to meet the requirements of the photo ID authentication will NOT be permitted to take the examination. ABPI will NOT refund the examination fees for Candidates who do not meet the ABPI Exam identity authentication requirement.
All ABPI Exams are delivered online.
The ABPI Exam is invigilated by remote proctors. Proctors go through a rigorous selection process, including interviews with the proctoring service leadership team, background checks, and comprehensive training. Proctors must hold college degrees and must demonstrate strong technical and communications skills. Further information can be found here.
Online remote invigilation (usually referred to as proctoring) enables organizations to deliver secure assessments remotely. For live online one-to-one proctoring, the proctor will be able to view the candidate’s screen, alongside monitoring both the candidate’s behaviour and environment for the duration of the examination session through the camera/webcam and microphone. Further information can be found here:
Any alternative to sitting the exam online would only be offered as a reasonable adjustment if it forms part of a specific Exam Access Arrangement (EAA) which has been sanctioned by the Examinations Director following receipt of an application for EAA made by the candidate, in line with the EAA policy.
Every exam has a specific standard time allowed to answer questions. There is slight variation between units so you should always check the time allowed for each unit. When the booking the exam sitting, bear in mind you will need to factor in time to log on, go through the authentication process, the 360° room scan and any other requirements before the proctor opens up the exam, as well as checks at the end of the exam, such as overseeing shredding of any note paper used during the exam. We recommend setting aside at least 1 hour per exam booking.
You should check the QuestionMark system requirements for internet speed here. Ultimately, if this is likely to be a significant issue, then you should source an alternative appropriate place to take your exam that meets the ABPI Exam Regulations and which gives you the best set up for sitting an exam.
If you encounter a technical problem, in the first instance, if possible, you should connect with the live proctor for help by using the on-screen chat function.
If the problem arises after the exam session has been started by the proctor, you should be able speak with the proctor. If the proctor is unable to help you resolve the technical problem, you will be transferred to a technical support representative.
All available technical support team members aim to resolve technical issues in a timely fashion and reduce the impact on your ability to perform in the exam. If you encounter a computer malfunction or lose your internet connection during an exam, please follow these guidelines:
1. Don't panic. Leave your computer as is and check your power supplies, network cables, and any other physical resources that may have caused loss of connection.
2. When the proctor detects that you have lost your connection, the proctor will automatically pause the exam to preserve its integrity.
3. If you can re-establish the connection without shutting down your computer, then it should be possible to communicate with the proctor again and for the proctor to unlock your exam so that you may resume.
4. If you're unable to re-establish connection after 5 minutes, the proctor is required to terminate the exam. In this case, an attempt will not be deducted from your subscription. You will need to schedule a new appointment for the exam. Do not try to reschedule the appointment that is associated with the terminated result.
You need the use of a computer or laptop which meets the requirements for installing the Questionmark secure browser (examinations cannot be taken on tablets, e.g., iPads and Google Chromebooks, and other operating systems, e.g., Linux). You do not need any other equipment as an on-screen calculator is provided, which is the only calculator you are allowed to use in the exam. If you wish, you may have a piece of plain A4 paper (blank on both sides) and a pencil. Please note the proctor will want to check the paper is blank on both sides before unlocking the exam session and will want to see the paper shredded at the end of the exam session.
No, you are not permitted to have notes or textbooks at your desk or within reach during your examination sitting, nor are you allowed to access online sources of information. The lock down browser will prevent other programs from running during the exam session and the proctor will check your surroundings for notes or other items.
Yes, if it meets the Questionmark system requirements, and you can use it somewhere that meets the requirements as specified in the ABPI Exam Regulations.
You may find you do not need to use the full allotted time for an exam – whilst this is perfectly acceptable, you must be aware that once you have clicked on screen to confirm you wish to submit your final exam answers, there is no opportunity to revisit flagged or unanswered questions.
You are encouraged to use the toilet before the examination as toilet breaks during the exam are not allowed unless a scheduled timed break forms part of a specific Exam Access Arrangement (EAA) which has been sanctioned by the Examinations Director following receipt of an application for EAA made by you, in line with the EAA policy.
You are encouraged to eat, drink and use the toilet before the examination as eating, drinking and taking breaks during the exam are not allowed unless these form part of a specific Exam Access Arrangement (EAA) which has been sanctioned by the Examinations Director following receipt of an application for EAA made by you, in line with the EAA policy.
Each question will be provided on a separate page. You will be able to navigate backwards and forwards through the exam, see which questions you have already answered and highlight questions to return to using the navigation pane.
One sheet of A4 plain paper (blank on both sides) and a pencil only is permissible on the examination desk. You must show the proctor that the paper is plain on both sides before the exam is unlocked. The proctor must also witness the shredding of the paper in front of the webcam at the end of the exam.
To submit the exam, you will need to click “submit” in the navigation pane, and then click “yes” to the “are you sure” prompt to prevent accidental submissions.
Cancellation of an exam only leads to a refund if the exam seat is cancelled within 14 days of purchase.
Please note that the exam seat refers to the store item and not the exam scheduled.
The only calculator which can be used is the on-screen calculator provided - no other calculator is allowed for use. One sheet of A4 plain paper (blank on both sides) and a pencil only is also permissible on the examination desk.
- What should I do if I have special needs?
- I have changed my name since creating a profile, what should I do?
- Are medical representative qualifications from other countries recognised in the UK?
- What is the ABPI exam award and what are the criteria to for the award?
- Does the ABPI exam provide training for final signatories?
- Can I wear earplugs / headphones during the exam?
- I think there is a typo or error in the questions on my exam paper – what should I do?
- When are the exam fees reviewed?
- My question has not been answered. Who should I contact?
When you register on the Exams site, please inform us that you will require reasonable adjustments. This will then prompt us to contact you for further information. In the meantime, please read the Exams Access Arrangements policy, which can be found by following the Exam Regulations in the footer and following Exams Access Arrangements Policy.
If you have changed your name from the one on your exam profile, you must contact ABPI to provide proof of this change, for example a marriage certificate. You will not be allowed to sit the exam unless you produce valid photo ID in your registered name or changed name with proof. If you have any queries about your ID, please contact the ABPI as soon as possible. Your certificate will be issued in the name on your exam website profile unless you request otherwise.
Please note that similar representative exam passes are not recognised by ABPI wherever the exam was passed. There are no mutual recognition arrangements and no exemptions from the requirement to pass the exam if you wish to promote medicines in the UK.
The ABPI Exam Award is an opportunity for the highest achieving Exam candidates to be recognised at the highest level. The candidates who completed the Level 3 Diploma exam, or the ABPI Advanced Professional Programme for Representatives in 2021, are considered for the 2021 award. This is an annual award.
The exam award criteria below, was developed with input from the ABPI Exam Steering Group, and ratified with the independent Exam Governance Committee:
· Must have achieved Distinction in the ABPI Diploma exam in the year in question. The date the last set of exams were taken will determine the appropriate year.
· If more than 5 people achieve Distinction in the year, the 5 exam candidates with the highest overall marks will be considered for the award.
· The winner must be employed by a pharmaceutical company in a customer-facing role at the time the award is being considered.
We hope that this will provide an opportunity for candidates who have excelled in the exam to be recognised in the presence of their managers and other ABPI members and stakeholders.
No. The company that the person works for provide final signatory training, there is no recognised exam for this role. The requirements for this role are set out in Clause 8 of the Code of Practice.
A candidate who suspects there is an error in an examination question should report this post-exam as soon as possible to the ABPI Director of Examinations for consideration (see ABPI Exam Regulations 32 - 39). However, even if you think there is an error in a question, the answer should not be left blank, but instead you should still make the best attempt to select the single best answer in case you are mistaken about there being an error.
All examination costs and fees are reviewed on an annual basis, with any changes usually taking effect on the 1st January.
You can contact the ABPI Examinations Team by phone on +44 (0)207 747 1420 or email email@example.com or through the ‘Contact Us’ form.
FAQs for employers
Refunds are only issued if a booking is cancelled within 14 days of purchase. This is outlined in our terms and conditions, which are agreed to at the point of purchase.
Any issues around the payment of exam fees should be settled with your employee at the point of termination of employment.
Please note that exam bookings cannot be transferred between candidates
You can submit a request for ABPI to search their exam records. ABPI will need signed consent from the person concerned on your company headed notepaper and payment of the search fee (£45 + VAT).
All queries about the Code of Practice should be directed to the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority: firstname.lastname@example.org