Medical Student Prescribing Safety Assessment
Our resource has been developed by a team of experienced medical authors to reflect each element of the exam and give you the best chance of success
5 things you need to know about the Medical Student PSA exam:
BPS & MSC
The Medical Student Prescribing Safety Assessment exam came into effect in 2013 from the collaboration of both the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), and the Medial Schools Council (MSC) Assessment. Designed for final-year medical students, the PSA is a two-hour pass/fail exam which tests a candidate’s knowledge, judgement, and general skills related to prescribing medicines. It was introduced as a GMC-sponsored study found that 9% of hospital prescriptions contained errors, and so we’ve put together a thorough collection of PSA revision materials to help you maximise your exam performance.
Foundation doctors are required to write and review multiple prescriptions each day as part of their work, and the study found prescribing is what new graduates find most challenging. When prescribing, FY1 doctors must possess extensive knowledge of medicines and their doses, how effective they are and which diseases they treat, understanding and weighing up the risks and benefits of these medicines, and possessing great attention to detail in order to write the script correctly.
The Prescribing Safety Assessment Blueprint is the general layout of eight different question types found in the exam, each of which may be set in seven different domains of clinical activity. The question types include: Prescribing, Prescription Review, Planning Management, Communicating Information, Calculation Skills, Adverse Drug Reactions, Drug Monitoring, and Data Interpretation. The domains include: Medicine, Surgery, Elderly Care, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and General Practice.
Contents & Competencies
Final-year medical students, as defined by the GMC, must possess skills in writing new prescriptions, reviewing existing prescriptions, calculating doses, identifying and avoiding adverse drug reactions/medication errors, and amending scripts depending on the individual patient’s needs. The Prescribing Safety Assessment is therefore designed to test these skills in final-year medical students, to guarantee that they will be safe and effective prescribers when working.
Formative vs Summative Assessment
Depending on your Medical School, the PSA can either be used as a formative assessment, or a summative assessment. If your school uses it as a summative assessment, then your mark won’t count towards your overall UK Foundation Programme application ranking, however you must still pass the PSA in order to graduate and become a doctor.