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Pastest celebrates 50th year
  • 14 Dec 2022
  • News

After helping well over one million doctors progress in their careers, Pastest is celebrating a significant milestone all of its own. 

We have clocked up 50 years as a pioneering provider of medical test prep resources! 

Pastest was founded by Nigel and Freydis Campbell in the early 70s, in response to UK doctors struggling to pass their membership exams for the Royal College of Physicians, thus stalling their career progression. 

In response, Pastest produced the UK’s first-ever revision textbook for the MRCP Part 1 exam, which proved so successful that they went on to publish hundreds more study aids for medical students, surgeons, GPs, paediatricians, anaesthetists, gynaecologists and dentists from all over the world. 

Freydis (pictured above with Nigel), 78, was working as a physio at St Alban’s City Hospital when her and Nigel started researching UK medical exams. She said: “We discovered that the UK doctors taking MRCP had a pretty raw deal, that the pass rate was very low...Some of those bright doctors were going to fail, and I think we really felt there was something we could do by providing practice exams.” 

In the early 80s, Pastest started delivering face-to-face revision courses, led by recent exam takers and experts in their field. Fast-forward to 2005 and the company incorporated e-learning into their portfolio with the development of online question banks and mock exams. Some 600,000 students and doctors have since signed up to access Pastest’s online platform and mobile apps.   

Although Pastest is now solely an EdTech company, expecting to sell its final book in 2023, according to former chief executive Philip Curzon, it remains true to its founding values. He said: “Although on the surface Pastest is unrecognisable to the book publishing business of 1972, those early, honest, customer-focused values are still integral to the company’s operations in the present day. We regularly talk to our users; we listen to what they have to say and then use these insights to build better products – all with the sole aim of enabling doctors to pass their exam at the first time of asking.” 

Pastest currently offers online revision resources for 22 medical and dental exams and has users in 190 countries. Its latest app is due to be released in early 2023 and work is well underway to incorporate more machine learning – and therefore personalised content – into its online platform. 

Despite no longer having a direct input into the business, Freydis and Nigel’s two sons – Hugh and Gillon – are both very active members of the Pastest board. And both founders are still very keen to see the company grow and thrive for another 50 years.  

Freydis added: “We must be the best at what we can do. I think we realised over the last 50 years that it’s no good just being an addition to the market, that we’ve really got to shine. We may also find new fields to investigate, where there’s a need, because exams for sure are here to stay, so maybe we’ll find some pastures new to add to medicine.”

Click here to read the full transcript of the interview with Nigel and Freydis. Alternatively, click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

  • 14 Dec 2022
  • News