What’s the difference between versions 7 and 8 of the ABPI Exam learning materials?

Last Updated on September 10, 2018 by Dr M

Over past few months, I’ve been asked about whetherABPI Exam Toolkit™ resources are suitable for those who’ve bought the version 8 ABPI learning materials.

Although I’m still working from vs 7, I recently confirmed with Amira Burshan, Education Officer at the ABPI that the main differences between vs 7 and vs 8 are: –

  • incorporation of the NHS and PV materials (instead of in a separate document/brochure);
  • minor changes re: layout, and typos;
  • changes for technical clarity following medical review (e.g. updated disease treatment information);
  • overall chapter headings/titles – essentially the same.

In essence, other than making things clearer, what’s being tested in the ABPI exam isn’t changing, at least not until next year when vs 8 will be fully adopted.

Even then, if you’ve read the independent report on the Exam published in February[1], you’ll appreciate that rather than changing content drastically, the ABPI are focussed on changing how content in their learning materials is tested:

“Of the total 2260 questions analysed…615 questions were identified as requiring review. The report recommends that these questions be looked at by expert question writers, to try to identify why each was not performing as expected.”

Ahead of the report’s publication, Sarah Jones, Head of Education at the ABPI, told us at a Trainers’ meeting on January 16th that these questions had already been removed from the question bank. That’s good news for exam candidates, because it means those dodgy questions your predecessors most likely complained about – are gone.

See? As I’ve kept telling my students, feedback works. Eventually.

Admittedly, this is the first time the reliability and validity of ABPI exam questions has been independently analysed since the exam was accredited in January 2014. But, it takes time to build up a body of evidence based on how often questions have appeared in exam papers and whether sufficient numbers of candidates have answered them as expected, in order to get a feel for whether they’re half-decent questions.

So, if you’re working on your understanding and recall of learning material (version 7 or 8), resources here in the Toolkit are equally suitable regardless of whichever version you’ve bought. Toolkit mind maps still capture the essence of topics and their relationships, and MCQ workbooks still assess whether you’ve grasped content. And, let’s not forget memory aids (almost 600 flash cards) that my students use, which are now available to those who want them.



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  1. http://www.abpi.org.uk/our-work/library/industry/Documents/Independent_analysis_of_ABPI_exam_questions.pdfImage adapted from: http://smutch.github.io/VersionControlTutorial/

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