Written Assessments

Online written assessments

Specific provisions relating to the online written assessments are set out in the document "Online written exams: Instructions and Information for Candidates and Employers" which should be studied when you are ready to sit your exams - this is on the AMTRA website and will be sent to you when you book your exams.

Most assessments are carried out online: for most people this means sitting the exams at home or work or some other quiet place.

However, from time to time we do offer assessments hosted at Harper Adams University (in Shropshire), with one of two formats: either online but where the computer equipment is provided and configured for you, so you only need to turn up at the booked time, or with traditional pen and paper.

If you don’t have access to a suitably equipped computer (including webcam and microphone), struggle with IT skills, don’t have a reliable Internet connection, or don’t have a suitable quiet place to sit the exam, we recommend you consider sitting the exam at Harper Adams University.

General guidance

The AMTRA written exams are "closed-book" exams so you should have access to your copy of the AMTRA Compendium during the exam (the Compendium may no longer be permitted from January 2025 – check our website for further details), but no other material is permitted.

Before sitting the written assessment, please study this document which includes things you should know.
Zero marks are given to an entire answer if any part of the answer contains advice or actions not compatible with the law, the SQP Code of Practice, or with data sheet recommendations, or which may endanger the animal. This might include supplying a wormer contraindicated in pregnancy to a female animal without checking if it could be pregnant or even checking its gender, supplying a sheep wormer for use in goats, failing to address horse passport requirements, failing to consider restrictions on the sale of eggs from domestic flocks, failing to address specific requirements for sheep dips, or incorrect dose rates, or failing to record information that is required to be recorded.
There is no negative marking in any of the written papers – it used to be the case that for some of the multiple-choice questions, an incorrect answer was awarded minus one mark: that is no longer the case.

What might be in the exam

All written assessments will have some “administration of product” questions. In addition your ability may be tested to use SPCs (via the AMTRA version of the Compendium that every candidate should have available for their written assessment, at least until the end of 2024). This may be, for example, assessing dose rates, withholding periods, contraindications and warnings or asking you to find a suitable product to match a defined scenario. There may be a range of “right answers” depending on the product you choose as your example.

Other questions test your ability to fully manage the perfect transaction following the SQP Code of Practice. Thus we are looking for evidence that what you propose to do in a particular case fulfils relevant parts of paragraphs 30 to 36 of the Code.

A statement that you would do this (for instance, “I would advise on warnings and contraindications”) is not enough. The required information relating to the specific chosen product must be given, to ensure you are able to use the SPC to give the correct advice.

In thinking about how you might tackle longer-answer questions, depending on the question you might include:

  • General advice specific to any question the “customer” may ask in the scenario. This may include information about specific parasites, human health risks, management methods to reduce risk e.g. hand washing and poop scooping etc.
  • The questions that should be asked in order to gain enough information to make an appropriate product decision. (If you choose to do this in a question and answer way, this is fine, but a short explanation on why the question is relevant would gain more marks).
  • An explanation of what the product you have chosen to recommend will, or will not do.
  • Any relevant contra-indications and warnings relevant to the specific product you have chosen.
  • Details of administration of the chosen product: dose, frequency and exactly HOW to administer the product.
  • How to store the chosen product
  • Disposal of remainder of product and packaging
  • Best practice on record-keeping
  • Information on epidemiology of specific parasites, management methods to reduce risk e.g. poo picking, use of quarantine dosing if applicable, use of FEC and the issues on wormer resistance, how to get animal weights
  • For the Equine module: how to manage the requirements of horse passport status of animals
  • For the Avian module: please note here the VMD restrictions on the use of small volume flubendazole products and their derivatives in birds that are for sale or producing products for sale
  • For the Avian module: please also note poultry of food-producing species can NEVER be given SAES products whatever their individual purpose without veterinary prescription under the cascade

In the Equine paper, since April 2024 the essay question has been separated into two parts, with part A focusing on customer advice, product recommendations, and the conversational aspects, and part B asking students to discuss their professional obligations under the Code of Practice. Students are not being asked for any new or additional information compared to previous exams. We have simply separated the two elements to improve question clarity and optimise opportunities to succeed. For an example as to how the essay will look, the practice exam has been updated and is ready to view and attempt.

If you work in a business where electronic systems automatically record certain information, or automatically prompt you with certain questions which must be answered, then you are still expected to know and understand the legal requirements for information to be obtained from the customer and for record keeping, and to be able to describe these in the exam. The electronic systems might fail one day, or you may work somewhere else with different system in future. Many of the responsibilities in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations fall on you, not an employer, and you should be able to demonstrate understanding of them and ability to comply.

Sample questions and answers / practice exams

Some sample questions and answers on which you can test yourself are included in the Harper Adams "Virtual Learning Environment" (VLE) to which you will have access – if you've not received details from Harper Adams about your access to this within 5 days of enrolling with AMTRA, please contact Harper Adams.

AMTRA strongly encourages all candidates to make use of the sample exams within the VLE.

Note that the sample exams (use of which is strongly encouraged) is different from the Systems Access Test (SAT) which, while presented as a mini-exam, is focussed on ensuring your computer equipment is correctly set up to take your full exam and that you know how the exam process works.

The SAT is compulsory and must be completed before each block of real exams. More details of that process are in the document "Online written exams: Instructions and Information for Candidates and Employers" and will be provided again after you’ve booked your exam.