Prescribing Safety Assessment

Thank you for your interest in the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA).

The British Pharmacological Society and MSC Assessment are working together to deliver the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) that allows all students to demonstrate their competencies in relation to the safe and effective use of medicines.


If you are a medical or foundation school candidate expecting to take part in the forthcoming events (PSA 2016) instructions on how to register for the PSA online system would have been provided by your school. You must activate your account and then login before you can access the PSA system. You are advised to do this as soon as possible in order to gain access to practice papers and information pages on the PSA.

Click here for an overview of account activation for the Prescribing Safety Assessment by PSA Medical Director, Professor Simon Maxwell. Once you have successfully completed your account activation you will be able to view further materials to make you more familiar with the PSA assessment environment.

For general information about the assessment and its structure, click on the sections at the top of this page.


Prescribing is a fundamental part of the work of Foundation Year 1 doctors, who write and review many prescriptions each day. It is a complex task requiring knowledge of medicines and the diseases they are used to treat, careful judgement of risks and benefits of treatment, and attention to detail.

As well as offering the potential for improving health, it is an activity associated with potential hazards: a GMC-sponsored study found that 9% of hospital prescriptions contain errors ('An in depth investigation into causes of prescribing errors by foundation trainees in relation to their medical education - EQUIP study'). It is also apparent in other research that this is the area of the Foundation Doctor role that new graduates find the most challenging (The state of medical education and practice in the UK report: 2014 and Be prepared: are new doctors safe to practise?). As a result, in Outcomes for graduates (originally published in Tomorrow's Doctors), the GMC defined prescribing competencies required of new medical school graduates.

The Prescribing Safety Assessment allows candidates to demonstrate their competencies in relation to the safe and effective use of medicines.

If you have been asked by your medical school to activate your account, but are unable to do so please try again using Google Chrome as your browser. PSA Interface may not be compatible with some mobile devices, therefore please use a computer. If you still experience technical difficulties, please contact PSA support.

Interested in item writing for the PSA?

If you are a clinical pharmacologist, pharmacist or other clinician with an understanding of the prescribing duties of an F1 doctor and are interested in writing assessment items for the PSA then please state your background and register your interest by emailing Feel free to browse through the item writing templates and style guides below in order to gain a sense of what item writing involves.

Resources for authors

Please use the PSA Item Writing Manual to guide you when writing new items.

The templates and guidance below have been made available for medical schools to help prepare their students for the PSA:

Workshop presentations

Project Team presentations from the September 2015 PSA Training Workshops can be found and downloaded below.