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The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (The ABPI)

Keeping medicine moving: How Questionmark brought the ABPI's exam program online
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Case highlights

  • Questionmark enabled the ABPI to digitally transform during the peak of the 2020 pandemic. 
  • The ABPI moved from paper-based to online exams saving time while maintaining the integrity of the examinations.  
  • The ABPI’s candidates can now take tests around the clock for 365 days a year with Questionmark’s flexible platform. 

Tools used

  • Proctoring
  • Reporting 
  • Integration capabilities 
  • Questionmark Secure  


The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, (ABPI) is a trade association and awarding organization that strives to improve access to new medicines and vaccines to make the latest treatments available to people in the UK. The ABPI works in partnership with the NHS (National Health Service), the Government, and the life sciences industry.  The ABPI delivers two key qualifications. The ABPI ‘Exam’ has been a mandatory qualification for all medical representatives working for companies who have agreed to abide by the ABPI Code of Practice since the 1960s.   

As with many organizations, the ABPI had, in large part, operated in a very traditional manner when it came to exam management and delivery. Their exams were conducted via pen-and-paper while their candidate management process was handled by a legacy CRM system. This was a cumbersome and time-consuming mode of delivery, however, it wasn’t until the peak of the 2020 pandemic that it became almost impossible. Faced with an inability to host pen-and-paper exams and with a CRM tool that was never envisioned to manage a digital transformation, the ABPI very quickly found themselves facing a time-critical roadblock: 

“In early 2020, when it became apparent our high-stakes face-to-face exams could not be delivered in the existing format, we stressed to our candidates and Governing Bodies that we would work through other options including: digitalization of the examination process, live monitoring of candidates and deployment of sophisticated security features to name but a few” 

Andrew Croydon, Skills & Education Policy and Examinations Director, ABPI 


Once the ABPI began to look for a new solution for their examination management and delivery challenges, it wasn’t long until Questionmark was recommended to them by an existing customer:

“Wider research, consultation and due diligence exercises led us to conclude that we would be able to resume exam delivery online through the use of the Questionmark portal as it either provided what we needed or else provided the scope for customization” 

Andrew Croydon, Skills & Education Policy and Examinations Director, ABPI 

It was quickly identified that the ABPI’s labor-intensive exam management process could benefit in several ways by switching to our online assessment platform and supporting features.

From Pen-and-Paper to the Cloud 

The biggest change, of course, was moving the ABPI’s management and delivery process from traditional pen-and-paper to Questionmark’s OnDemand platform. From authoring, reporting, and proctoring, we were able to revolutionize how the ABPI managed and delivered exams as well as maximizing the overall test-taker online journey. 

While traditional pen-and-paper exams are static, the ABPI was able to benefit from dynamic item banking and further enhance exam integrity by utilizing our random item and choice selection. Unlike physical examination papers, it also meant they were no longer bound to physical test centers. These changes not only future-proofed their exams should another pandemic-like event occur, but it also opened the door to examinations that were more in line with their candidates’ desire for flexibility and remote learning 

Saving Time and Providing Actionable Insights  

The ABPI had acknowledged for several years now that the hours spent manually inputting data into their legacy CRM system, marking physical answer sheets, and analyzing data were taking up hours of time. It not only made exam delivery sluggish, but it also made it increasingly difficult to action insights uncovered during psychometric analysis.  

With Questionmark’s online platform, however, the workflow could become much more streamlined and easier to manage. Not only could exam marking become leaps and bounds easier than before— providing an instantaneous process that could be supported by human quality assurance to meet the highest standards of governance— analyzing psychometric data became simpler too. With Questionmark’s reporting features now on hand, the ABPI could accurately discern data fast to inform reporting to their accrediting body and Governance Committee, alongside supporting candidates. 

A Proctoring and Flexibility Shake Up 

With the move to Questionmark, not only could the ABPI deliver tests to candidates with more flexibility, but they could also make use of Questionmark’s range of Proctoring solutions. Specifically, the ABPI used Questionmark’s Live Online Proctoring solution to proctor candidates remotely in order to meet high regulatory expectations.  

The maximized security provided by Questionmark’s Live Online Proctoring solution allowed the ABPI to scrutinize the actions of each candidate. For example, when using Live Online Proctoring, a proctor could determine suspicious activity (lots of looking off-screen or a second person being in frame) and choose to pause or terminate the exam if its integrity was at stake. To further bolster the security of online assessments, the Questionmark Secure lockdown browser was also deployed, helping ensure that candidates could not cheat, collaborate or harvest content. 

For the ABPI, this protected their test content and created a secure way for their candidates to take a test anywhere in the world.

“Since rolling out online 1:1 proctored exams in late 2020, we have continued to work with Questionmark to refine our offering, and now boast a bespoke exams platform for our candidates that seamlessly integrates with online exams and third-party proctoring. We remain excited to see new features as they are released to explore if they offer further enhancements for our candidates” 

Andrew Croydon, Skills & Education Policy and Examinations Director, ABPI 

Of course, another vital aspect that greatly improved the test-taker experience was how Questionmark was able to integrate with the ABPI’s LMS. Now, with an integrated and streamlined solution, the ABPI’s test-takers only had to access one system, removing the need for multiple logins and platforms, which often detract from the overall learning experience. 


 “The joy of our candidates when we were finally able to offer examination sessions after a period of 6 months, was immeasurable and thanks to the collaboration with Questionmark.” 

Andrew Croydon, Skills & Education Policy and Examinations Director, ABPI 

By switching to Questionmark’s online assessment solution, the ABPI was able to meet key goals, including:

  • Moving from a rigid and limiting test center format to an entirely online and flexible process that improved the learning experience and accessibility for candidates.
  • Integrating their LMS with Questionmark’s online assessment solution for a streamlined end-user experience. 
  • Speeding up all processes from exam delivery and psychometric analysis which led to significant hours being saved.  
  • Maximizing security for online assessment and future-proofing the ABPI’s ability to deliver exams uninterrupted. 
  • Managing a backlog of exams when physical test centers were unable to operate normally.

To discover how Questionmark could transform your learning and development process, talk to us today. 

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