NAPLEX Question of the Week: 5 Questions to Ask as You Prepare

This week we detail 5 questions you should be asking as you are studying for the NAPLEX.

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Hello everyone! For many of you it is congratulations on finishing your education (formal that know education is lifelong!). Now your attention is focused on the exams needed to become licensed, including the NAPLEX. Here are 5 questions you should ask as you focus on the final study stretch:

1. What will be on the exam? NABP tells you very clearly what is on the exam termed competency statements. Many students are shocked to see that 33% of the exam are based on preparation, compounding, dispensing and administration of medications. Chances are you will need to refocus on these areas as you may or may not have had these areas stressed during your APPE rotations. Here is a link to the competency statements:

2. What question types are possible? The answer is 5. Five you say? Yes indeed. Many students over the years have been stunned to know that other question types besides multiple choice could be given. Other examples are multiple response (these are tough!), constructed response, ordered-response, and hot spot. Details on these question types are in same document as the competency statements. 

3. Have I practiced calculations enough? Chances are you didn't do significant math calculations on rotations, especially those that may appear on your exam. You need to spend time working problems from beginning to end to train your brain to complete a detailed calculation. Some of these problems could be the constructed response variety which are essentially fill in the blank where you have to give the answer from scratch (this is how NABP lists in the guide). 

4. Do I have my test day routine mapped out? You want this to be as stress free as possible. Many of you will take the exam in a different town from where you live. If you need to spend the night out of town to ease your stress, do it. At a minimum give yourself plenty of time to find the test site and check in. Flat tires happen! Simulate this as closely as possible including time you wake up that day, food you eat, etc. Also...bring a snack to the test site and take your break when offered to help recharge your brain.

5. How long is the test? You have up to 6 hours to complete the exam. For most of you, it won't take that long. There are 250 questions, 50 of which won't count toward your score but are used to evaluate for future exams (you won't know which count and which don't). When is the last time you took an exam this long? Maybe never. If you can do a practice exam I highly recommend it but most of those are 50-100 questions. You can simulate a practice exam within AccessPharmacy to get you to the 250 question mark.  Get a great night's rest, great breakfast, and go pass the NAPLEX!

Dr. B

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.