Today we’ll be talking about how to study for the NAPLEX exam. Firstly What is NAPLEX? It’s the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam. It’s the exam that gives eligibility to work as a pharmacist in USA. It is a minimum competency 250 question examination. 200 of those questions are counted. Remaining 50 of those are experimental questions. You don’t know what they are. So at any point of time during the test you may think one is an experimental question. There’s really no way to tell and it’s not worth wasting your time on that.

NAPLEX Exam Pass Rates

Main things about the NAPLEX Exam: again its minimum competency and do not stress about the test. The pass rates in 2016 were down to about 84 percent on the national average. The year before that in 2015 the national pass rates were about 92 percent. The year before that in 2014 the national pass rates were about 94 percent. So, unfortunately, the trend is going downwards in regards to overall national pass rates. What could be causing that ? It is that the students taking the test are, the material that they are being tested on or the way that they are taught and curriculum wrong. No one really knows NABP is working to adjust the test and see if pass rates can go back up.

I get a lot of questions from my friends asking the best way to study for the NAPLEX Exam. So this is the main thing today I will be talking about. The main things to focus on would be overall- Brand Generics are very important, Calculations is probably the most important of things that people get tripped up for the most with and then overall just make sure you go through a study material of some sort.

How long do you need to study for NAPLEX Exam?

Most people tend to study about two to four weeks which I feel like is inadequate amount of time. You have to study all day – every day but I want to make sure that you are prepared for it and you don’t take it lightly. If you have a residency lined up, if you’ve got a job lined up its contingent upon you passing exam. so I know folks who have not passed the NAPLEX Exam and they’ve lost the residency’s since they don’t pass. So definitely make sure it’s a priority, definitely make sure you’re putting your time and study for it.

NAPLEX Exam Study Materials

The three main study materials I’m going to recommend today are ProntoPass, NAPLEX pretest provided by the NABP and then the RxPrep NAPLEX test book.

1. ProntoPass

The first one is ProntoPass. You can buy different packages.  These packages provide large Poster cards, Index cards and there are also calculations portions you can do. Poster cards are simply broken down into, the most simplified form of each disease state containing facts about the disease state, drugs and also guidelines. The flashcards basically are the same thing same material and I thought those were super helpful because they are very repetitive. You can keep them with you. If you’re on rotations or if you’re working or if you’re on lunch break, you can flip through the flashcards. It’s a very good reminder. I definitely think it’s worth it. It is a little expensive if you buy the whole thing.

NAPLEX is pretty important especially considering pass rates for lowers last year and wouldn’t want to take it very lightly.  We definitely make sure to make it a priority to study forward. So best study material I would definitely say would have been the ProntoPass. It really is the cliff notes studying for the NAPLEX and again I wouldn’t freak out too much about this test. It’s stuff you’ve all learned throughout pharmacy school in your therapeutics class and stuff that you learn on rotation. So you’ve definitely taken harder tests.

2. RxPrep NAPLEX Textbook

Next one I’ll say is the RxPrep NAPLEX textbook.  You can get the physical textbook or you can also get the calculations portions online which I would recommend. These give you a lot of opportunities to test your knowledge, test your skills and to see the type of questions that might be on the NAPLEX overall. I think the calculations portions of the Rx prep were probably one of the better one. It is because since calculations do count for so much of the exam. It’s important just to have a good understanding of different problems you might see or different ways you can use that material to process and take the exam.


The last one I would recommend would be the Pretest that is available from NABP. It’s about $65. It consists of 100 questions. This Pretest uses old test questions from the NAPLEX. This gives a really good understanding of the exact type questions that are probably going to be on NAPLEX. You won’t see specific questions from this test or You may, again they’re older questions from old NAPLEX’s.  It gives you kind of a timeframe understand like you know, how quickly do you move during this exam. There is a short timeframe to take the test. You don’t want to spend too much time on each problem especially considering this is a non-adaptive test.

So, that’s one thing I didn’t mention earlier and years past it was a fix or deceiving it was an adaptive type exam and now this is a fixed style exam, meaning the more questions you get right the questions do not continue to get harder until you miss which is how was in years past.

4. HelixTalk

There’s a tool that I thought was super helpful is the helix talk. It’s a podcast from Rosalind Franklin University. This is something I found that it is about 30-minute segments and they go and from varying topics. They just go over the high points: the drugs and some key points that are very helpful to know for the NAPLEX Exam. So, you know there’s a ton of different resources out there. Any type of learner you are, there’s basically a format out there for you to learn. You probably have to pay for it but I think it’s definitely worth it.

So with those three resources, I definitely think that you would be adequately prepared.

NAPLEX Exam Pattern

67% of the exam is going to be based on therapeutics – clinically based questions you might have seen in a therapeutics class or questions that you might have gotten on rotations. The other 33% is going to be things like Brand-Generics, Statistics, Evaluations, different ADR’s or things that are going to come up in that area. So there’s a broad mix of different type questions you’re going to see on the exam overall.

Study Strategy

I would just make sure you, to be prepared if there’s one particular area or subject matter you’re not familiar with. Spend an extra amount of time working with that. Get with a peer, make sure they can help. Tutor you if you need some help and more information on it. if there’s one subject here that you feel very comfortable with diabetes or hypertension, I wouldn’t waste too much time studying on that. Because when it comes to the exam either going to know it or you’re not. They’re really not that many tricky questions especially when it comes to those more baseline disease states. That’s not necessarily that many questions overall that are too complex.

So again I think just make sure you one have an idea of what you’re going to do to study. Make sure you pick a good material  to study, stick to it, prepare well and do not stress out. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. If you have any comments please let me know below in the comments section. If you’ve used any other resources that you think are helpful or good please comment below. The sooner you passes test the sooner you start making in pharmacist salary or resident salary which is certainly better than the student salary. So that’s all I’ve got today.