NAPLEX Question of the Week: How to Prepare for Success on the Exam (Part 1)

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will experience a Happy New Year! With the calendar turning to 2019, now is the time if you have not done so to get serious about your preparation for the NAPLEX! Today's post will be devoted to preparing for the exam.

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You've heard about the NAPLEX likely since before getting admitted into pharmacy school. It has been in the back of your mind throughout your nearly 4 years. In a few days, 2019 will be here and you will be taking the exam in just a few months! In the many years I have taught live reviews across the country I am surprised how often students do not do the "little" things that mean a lot come time to take the exam. Here are some practical pearls to getting prepared for the exam.

1. Do Not Cram! This is not Pharmacotherapy. There just is no way to cram 4 years of intense education into 2-4 weeks. If you have not started studying in a formalized way, this should be your 1st New Year's resolution! Come up with a plan to divide and conquer and just doing that will ease your stress (think making a budget!).

2. Read the Candidate's Guide. NABP on their website has a guide for all students who will be taking the exam. It gives details on test design, competency statements, and sample questions. A number of times students have thought all questions were multiple choice which is incorrect. The most recent guide as of this writing can be found here:

3. Practice. Practice. Practice. Questions are your friend. The more you practice, the more you get into a rhythm of "test mode". Additionally, you identify areas of weakness that you need to improve upon. Also you identify areas of strength which helps you tailor your study habits. AccessPharmacy has a number of great resources for studying and practicing questions including the following resources by Dr. Scott Sutton, Clinical Professor and Chair at the University of South Carolina. These resources allow for creation of custom quizzes both by disease state or by competency statement: 

Naplex Review Guide 3rd Edition

Naplex Online Question Bank

All NAPLEX resources can be found on AccessPharmacy under the "NAPLEX Central" Tab on the top right of the front page.

4. Calculations. How many calculations have you done on your rotations this year? Unless you had a compounding rotation, most of your experience is likely with pharmacokinetics or TPN formulation calculations.  You likely are rusty and need to get back into the swing of things.

Its been a great first part of the year doing this feature. Look forward to many more in 2019!

Christopher M. Bland

Clinical Professor, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy

Dr. Christopher M. Bland is a Clinical Professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy at the Southeast GA campus in Savannah, GA. Dr. Bland has over 20 years of academic and clinical experience in a number of clinical areas. He is a Fellow of both the Infectious Diseases Society of America as well as the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. He is co-founder of the Southeastern Research Group Endeavor, SERGE-45, with over 80 practitioners across 14 states involved. Dr. Bland serves as Associate Editor for the NAPLEX Review Guide 4th edition as well as Editor-In-Chief for the Question of the Week. He has provided live, interactive reviews for more than 10 Colleges/Schools of Pharmacy over the course of his career.