To practice pharmacy in the United States, you must pass the NAPLEX exam.

  • It’s not enough to have a pharmacy degree. Though a necessity, a pharmacy degree is just the first stage of becoming a pharmacist. The degree prepares and equips you with the knowledge needed to progress onto the next stage. The NAPLEX exam takes your knowledge of pharmacy one step further.
  • The NAPLEX exam has 250 questions. Some of these questions require a single answer, whilst other questions require you to select more than one correct answer. Some questions focus on the fundamental science of medicines, whereas other case study, or “scenario”, questions require you to understand, interpret and evaluate patient / clinical data.
  • To succeed at the NAPLEX test, candidates must possess exceptional knowledge of drug therapy and practice, dispensing and formulation science, and promoting public health and safe counselling procedure. As always, there are legal dimensions that candidates are expected to have a comprehensive knowledge of.

Facts about the Exam!

To perform well at the NAPLEX exam, you need to know what you’re up against.

Failure to prepare is the tried and tested way to prepare for failure. Know the fundamental facts about the exam; develop a strategy that works and stick to it. Never let doubt and ambiguity cloud your focus; two factors that lead to stress and underperformance. You know far more than you think you do.

  • 6 hours to
    complete exam
  • Top 10-minute
    breaks (optional)
  • 250 questions
  • Fifty of the questions
    do not impact your score
  • Once you answer a question,
    you cannot return to it
  • Test is not adaptive; questions
    must be answered in order

There are 250 questions on the exam, but not all questions are counted as part of your final score.

That’s because 50 of those questions have been pre-set not to be included in your overall score. Candidates are nonetheless recommended to answer each question as if it is included; it’s not possible to know which questions are counted and which have no value.

However, the final score is not calculated as the “total number of correct answers”. Rather, the score is assembled “by scale”.

In other words, the score is calculated as a product of the number of questions you have answers correctly combined with the degree of difficulty assigned to that question. Clearly, then, the more difficult questions you answer, the better - they are assigned more weight than simpler questions.

What score
do I need to pass?

Our course is divided into distinct sections, helping you focus your study. These include "Body System", "OTC, Clinical Pharmacy and Biotechnology" and "Full-Length Practice Exams". In this way, you study in a manner and pace that suits your individual needs.

Registering for the NAPLEX exam is easy.

  • Each state has their own pharmacy board. You must contact the pharmacy board of your state and inform them that you wish to take the NAPLEX test. They will expect paperwork from you to determine eligibility. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be contacted and informed whether you are authorized to take the exam.
  • If your authorization is successful, you will be given an authorization number, a date upon which that number expires, and a selection of available dates for you to take the exam.
  • With the date confirmed, you can now proceed to prepare for the NAPLEX exam.
  • The NAPLEX exam does not come cheap. Getting the date right matters! As of 2024, the fee for taking the NAPLEX exam is $575.00.
  • Knowing when to take the test can make all the difference.

How to Prepare for the NAPLEX Test

Effective NAPLEX test prep is about knowing the detail. There’s no two ways about it. That said, not everyone with the same level of knowledge scores the same. That’s because some candidates strategize for the exam in advance, whereas others take a more nonchalant approach. For instance, candidates who are consciously aware of the time-limits imposed are more likely to think through each question much more effectively. Those same candidates have prepped their method. They roughly know how much time to spend on each question. They know when to pass, when to guesstimate and when to move onto the next question. They retain composure.

Knowing the knowledge of the exam is the first step. Strategizing for the NAPLEX exam is the second part. But the third, and often most-overlooked element, is the need to apply that knowledge to real-life, clinical situations. Ultimately, that’s what separates your pharmacy degree from the NAPLEX exam you now wish to take. It’s about thinking outside-the-box, about choosing the ‘most correct’ answer, and it’s about thinking critically, with evidence to hand, about what works best for the patient and their individual circumstances.

In summary, it’s about being professional.

Let the Facts Speak for Themselves


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Stick to what you know

You’ve been preparing for the NAPLEX exam for weeks now, maybe months. Don’t try and cram new knowledge; it just won’t work.

The NAPLEX exam is not something you can ‘wing’; it’s something that has been in the making of your career for many years now. It isn’t going to be easy. Adding a few new topics here and there isn’t going to make the difference. You’ve either done enough or you haven’t. Stick to what you know, master it, and put it on display on the day of your exam!

Schedule your NAPLEX test prep

Know when to study and when to stop. It’s crucial that you think about the week leading up to your NAPLEX exam.

As we’ve already talked about, try to avoid packing your study with new topics. It won’t work. Instead, prepare your NAPLEX test prep by scheduling what topics to study at what times. This is particularly important in the days leading up to the exam. By organizing your study, you become the master of what you know, not the slave of what you do not. At the very least, them, the exam result reflects your actual competency level.

Get your body in order

Performing to the best of your ability isn’t the result of what you know. Often, it’s about how you prove that knowledge on the day of the exam.

Physiological factors always play a role. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a high-school exam or a test of your competency as a professional pharmacist, you must get your body in order. Sleep well, relax more, avoid napping during the day, de-stress - whatever you need to do to reduce stress and maximize your exam performance. Optimal recall occurs when you’ve slept most effectively. Don’t lose sight of these physiological factors in the week leading up to your exam.

Practice, practice, practice

And then there’s practice. Practice, practice and - yes, you’ve guessed it - lots and lots of practice.

You can’t replace practice. Practice reinforces what you know but, perhaps more importantly, it nakedly reveals what you don’t know. In the end, that’s what matters. You already know what you know. That detail will show on the day of your exam. What matters know is to harvest the topics you are most weak on; to adapt, improve and transform those weaker topics into new and exciting areas of strength. That’s where true progress is, and it’s where you should target.

Only 24-hours between you and the NAPLEX exam

The NAPLEX test is close. You’re both nervous and excited at the same time; afraid of scoring poorly, too poor to pass the exam but, at the same time, excited to make it to the final hurdle. There’s not much more you can do. You’ve spent the weeks and months preparing for the NAPLEX test. If you aren’t prepared by now, there’s nothing more you can do. It’s that simple. Rather than getting yourself into a flurry, take some time to relax. Wake up at the usual time, go for a walk and prepare yourself mentally for what it to come.

Know where you need to go and when. Prepare in advance in case things go wrong. The last thing you need is for your current means of transportation to go amiss. It happens. Know when you plan to sleep. Never sleep earlier than you need to, it only serves to disrupt your sleep. Think about what your overall strategy is going to be and how to intend on implementing it. Keep time in mind and know when to move onto the next question. Balance exam strategy and relaxation; an equilibrium that keeps you sane, focussed and determined.

Try not to overthink the NAPLEX exam. Remember, even if the worst were to pass and you were to fail the exam, there are many more opportunities to pass the exam in the months ahead. It’s not the end of the world. Think of the exam as an opportunity to test your knowledge of pharmacy and its applications in the real-life, clinical setting. You would agree that nobody should be allowed to practice pharmacy, including you, if you were to fail. Always consider the realities of the exam and not become too preoccupied by getting every answer correct.

Nor will you know when you guess a question correct. Even worse, nor will you know whether you’ve answered a question correct even if you believe you have answered it correctly. Again, don’t overthink the exam. Take each question at a leisurely pace, but commensurate with the timing and demands of the exam.

Guess, but don’t blindly guess. Take advantage of breaks. That means stretching, re-motivating your efforts and, if necessary, using the lavatory. Avoid changing answers, unless you absolutely know that answer to be correct. Statistics show that changing answers, when you don’t know the answer to the question, reduces the likelihood of selecting the correct answer.

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