NAPLEX Question of the Week: How to Prepare for Success on the Exam (Part 2)

Happy New Year! I would like to continue what I started last week with a second post devoted to preparing for the NAPLEX. By now you should have started studying. If not...there is still time to develop a plan!

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Here are a few additional preparation pearls for the exam. See last week's column for more tidbits to help you prepare.

1. Logistics: Take stress out of the equation. Exams are stressful enough trying to remember material, assess questions, and commit to the correct answer. Take any logistic issues out of the equation! Some examples of this include:

A. Knowing where the testing center is. Sounds easy enough right? What if you have never been there before (which many students when they sign up to take the test are in a different city than normal)? I recommend laying "eyes" on the testing center the day before to eliminate any day of exam stress about knowing where to go. At a minimum get there plenty early in case of accident on road, flat tire, etc. Remember this is your career so prepare accordingly.

B. Get sleep. Remember from last week's can't cram. Get plenty of rest the night before. Recently when I retook my BCPS exam I got plenty of sleep the night before and ate breakfast at my favorite restaurant relaxingly. It calmed me tremendously before I successfully passed my exam.

C. Make sure your ID and ATT match. There is a good explanation of what works and what does not work in the application bulletin. Yes...testing centers do turn students away who's ATT doesn't match the ID in the prescribed manner by NABP (have had it happen to multiple students). 

2. Study what you don't know. My students love to study areas they are familiar with like diabetes, hypertension, etc. Why? First it makes them feel good. Second, because most of them work in a community setting and they know the drugs well. What are your weak areas? Oncology? Psych pharmacotherapy? Spend some time longitudinally focusing on those areas that are weak spots. Make flash cards and instead of going on social media spend a few minutes here and there studying those troublesome areas over time. Before you know it your weakness will become your strength.

3. Take a practice test. I had stated in the previous post from last week to practice questions often. This is the next step...The NAPLEX can go as far as 6 hours. When was the last time you took a test that long? Probably never or not in a long time. There are a number of practice tests available including creating one on AccessPharmacy with the resources previously mentioned. It is important to simulate the exam. 

This is also why I believe attending a live review is very helpful. It forces you to pay attention for hours on end to help prepare you to be mentally ready for a long exam.

Excited for you as you prepare in 2019 to pass the NAPLEX but more importantly provide outstanding care for your patients. Next week we will return to more didactic discussion with Q and A. See you next week!

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.