To practice pharmacy in the United States, you must pass the NAPLEX exam.
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.
Registering for the NAPLEX exam is easy.
It’s difficult to prepare for the NAPLEX exam because there is so much ground to cover. I enrolled on the NAPLEX Study Guide online course and found their categorization and question banks exactly what I was looking for. I’ve since passed the NAPLEX test and I’ve been working as a clinical pharmacist for the past 2 months.
Stephanie M., New York City, NYJoined January 2022
I found the NAPLEX exam tough. In fact, I failed the exam twice. I completed the question banks provided by NAPLEX Study Guide and, along with my regular study and workbooks, I managed to pass third-time around. I can recommend their question banks to anyone searching for exam-like questions that reflect what comes up in the real thing.
Bradley G., Houston, TXJoined December 2021
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.