NAPLEX Question of the Week: Time to get serious about preparation.

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I know I know. You said "I need to get studying for boards" back in the Fall. Then you said you would hit the books after the New Year. Now it is essentially March. Where did the time go?

In the movie "Sully", the successful landing of a commercial airplane in the Hudson River several years ago is detailed. During one portion of the grilling session by the accident investigators, Sully (played by Tom Hanks) asks the committee after some data are presented: "Can we get serious now"? Immediately when I heard this line I thought about where students are with NAPLEX preparation and wanted to spend this week getting serious about the exam.

I know many students have had good intentions for preparing early, but haven't for a number of reasons. Bottom line is this: most students are within two months of graduation which means time is running short for preparation. The time is now to develop a plan for passing the NAPLEX. 

Here are some pointers that I think will help you get in high gear going forward.

1. You need to shore up on calculations: Most clinical rotations unless focused on TPN, compounding, or pharmacokinetics lack in this area. You need to practice, practice, and practice calculations some more. Work all problems out in detail, retraining your brain to do difficult calculations. 

2. Failure to pass occurs in 1 in 10 students. I have begun traveling the country doing live exam prep and sometimes I can tell while teaching that there are some students who are a bit lackadaisical about the exam. Now on first glance that doesn't look bad right? 90% national pass rate is pretty good. 

Let's try it a different way...if I told you a medication causes a particular side effect in 10% of patients, you would say it is common, right? Of course you would. So I think it is fair to say that failing the board exam is a common event and needs to be taken seriously.

3. Study those things that you don't like and aren't good at. I know I know. You love to go over metformin and lisinopril. Truth is you know those well. But when I write doxorubicin or Truvada, you get anxious. Spend some time studying those things that you aren't naturally good at because your exposure/experience is limited. And you need to study those subjects a little bit everyday so they become second nature.

Here is the good news...Access Pharmacy has a number of incredible resources that are built to study in a short period of time. The newly released NAPLEX 3rd edition was designed by our editorial staff to read 90% of chapters in 10 minutes or less. Additionally, there are tons of practice questions with rationale for right/wrong answers which is crucial!

Here is a link to the review guide: https://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookID=2512

For additional NAPLEX questions, please go to our test bank available for use: https://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com/qa.aspx?resourceID=2255

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation soon. You have sacrificed so much and it is about to pay off. You just have one more major thing to accomplish to make it happen.

As Sully stated, can we get serious now?

Christopher M. Bland

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy

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