How to ACE Your Exams: Read This!
How to Study When Passing is the Only Option
follow the steps outlined in this roadmap; they work well when used as directed.
No Such Thing as Luck; It's Drug Knowledge and Skill
There is no such thing as luck when taking licensure exams; there is only drug knowledge and the skill required to apply the knowledge to case-based questions. All topics must be mastered, and all calculations must be completed with adequate speed and accuracy.
RxPrep NAPLEX Study Materials
Study materials are available at www.rxprep.com. The 2020 RxPrep Course Book is a companion to the RxPrep Online Course, which includes Video Lectures and Test Banks. The Course Book is updated annually to be current for the pharmacist licensure exam. The date on the cover (such as the 2020 RxPrep Course Book) should be the year in which you are testing.
Chapter 1 of the RxPrep Course Book, “Preparing for NAPLEX with RxPrep,” includes this RxPrep Roadmap to Passing and information about the NAPLEX. Useful Quick Guides referred to in this roadmap are provided at the end of chapter 1 and include: How to Use the RxPrep Course Book, Top Seller Drugs, Required Formulas, Diagnostic Tests, Medical Terms and Medical Abbreviations.
Begin by taking the Free Assessments in Drug Basics & Terminology and Math Basics to determine if you are ready to jump into NAPLEX preparation. If you have Online Course access you can find these tests within the "Preparing for NAPLEX with RxPrep" topic on your E-Learning Tools page. If not, you can access them here.
A customized study plan is essential to your success. To make it simpler to create your study schedule, the RxPrep pharmacists have estimated the time it usually takes to complete each topic (see table below). A downloadable blank Excel template with the ability to populate (fill-in) your study schedule using a drop-down topic list is available above the table.
Helpful Pointers for Creating your Study Schedule
Practice Math Daily
Repetition is required for mastery. Schedule math for 1-2 hours (at night), or 3-4 hours during the day. Once you are on "auto pilot" calculating math problems, cut back to 1 hour per week as described in the How to Study Math section of the roadmap. If you are trying to remember a formula or how to set up a calculation when you are taking the actual exam, you should not be taking the exam.
Alternate Between Math and Clinical Topics
The time you devote to math on a daily basis should be roughly equal to the time given to other topics, until you are on "auto pilot" with math.
Always Leave Weekly Catch-Up Time
It is normal to fall behind; the catch-up time will help you stay on schedule. If you are unable to stick to your schedule it is best to postpone the exam. The topics you did not prepare for can be on the exam.
Leave the Two Weeks Before Your Estimated Test Date Open
The last two weeks are used to take the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam, remediate (learn) any missed areas, and review the math and other topics that may have been forgotten. This is covered in Step 4 of the roadmap. The goal is to master all of the RxPrep material before testing.
Download the RxPrep Study Schedule Template
Estimated Topic Completion Time
1-2 hours per Topic
2-4 hours per Topic
> 4 hours per Topic
Allergic Rhinitis, Cough & Cold
Acute & Critical Care Medicine
Sample Customized Study Schedules for Students Completing APPEs
Example 1: Preparing for an Inpatient Hospital Rotation
Jessica is starting her first APPE rotation in a hospital setting. She will be preparing sterile products. She chooses to complete calculations during her first week to make sure she has good foundational knowledge. Tuesdays are expected to be busy days because she has normal rotation duties and grand rounds. She works every other weekend at a local pharmacy. She chooses to complete some yellow and red topics on the weekends, to make the weekdays less stressful.
|Week 1||Calc I||Calc II||X||Calc II||Calc II||Calc II||X|
|Week 3||Arrhythmias||Answering cases||X||Drug allergies||Ischemic heart||Eyes/Ears||X|
|Week 4||X||Motion sickness||X||Overactive bladder||Weight loss||Common skin|
Example 2: Preparing for an Inpatient Clinical Rotation
Jessica has completed introductory rotations and is moving on to a specialty rotation in emergency medicine. She plans to complete the critical care and emergency preparedness topics and test banks prior to starting the rotation. Her preceptor has assigned her a presentation on seizures. She continues to work every other weekend.
|Week 1||X||Emergency||Critical care||Critical care||Seizures|
|Week 2||Seizures||Asthma||Asthma||COPD||Tobacco cessation||X|
|Week 3||X||Pediatric conditions||Allergic rhinitis||Drug use in pregnancy|
|Week 4||Immunizations||Travelers||Pulm arterial HTN||X|
How to Study clinical Chapters
USE THE flow diagram BELOW TO DETERMINE how to tackle EACH CLINICAL CHAPTER
Decide if You Know a Topic Well By Reviewing the Chapter
Look at the bolded drugs, underlined information and content in the Study Tip Gals and Key Drug Guys. Refer to the “How to Use the RxPrep Course Book” Quick Guide at the end of chapter 1. Based on this quick review, decide which arm of the flow diagram to follow.
When completing Test Bank/s:
- If the score is less than 70%, you need to relearn the content in the chapter by following the steps in the REMEDIATE section of the flow diagram.
- If the score is 70% or higher, you only need to learn the missed items by following the section of the flow diagram that discusses MISSED QUESTIONS.
- Several chapters have multiple Test Banks. Do not skip any.
Learning the Missed Test Bank Questions
There are two options to learn the missed content (the question was answered incorrectly or the correct answer was chosen by guessing). Missed Test Bank questions can be found in the following locations: the "Retake Missed Questions" link (available after completing the test) or the test Feedback Summary Report (provided at the end of the test or available by clicking on the score for the test).
- BEST METHOD: make your own flashcard by writing the question on the front of an index card and the answer on the back. Any information in the question feedback that you need to learn can be added to the card. Store the flashcards in a box (or other container).
- ALTERNATIVE METHOD: let the computer make a "flashcard" for you by selecting the heart in the upper right hand corner of the question. The heart will turn red. The questions with red hearts will be kept together as online "flashcards" that are stored with the topic on the E-Learning Tools page.
With BOTH Methods: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Explain aloud, in your own words, why the answer is correct. Pretend you are explaining the answer to someone you care about, such as your mother (for patient counseling) or another pharmacist (for content a patient would not need to know, such as a drug's mechanism of action). If you change the information into your own words and hear yourself explain it, your brain can more easily store the information. If using index cards, put the new card in the very back of the box. Every day, pull a small stack of cards from the front of the box and review them using the method described above. If using hearts, review the older "flashcard" sets first.
NAPLEX questions are based on cases. You will need to pull information from a case to answer questions, such as:
- How many grams of protein per day are being provided by the parenteral nutrition?
- Which drug is the best option to treat the infection?
Evaluating cases and making patient-specific recommendations about drug therapy requires practice. This is what the last year of pharmacy school is mostly focused on; do not take it for granted. Help with case-based questions can be found in several chapters: Answering Case-Based Exam Questions, Calculations V and Cases, Exam-Style Practice. There are more cases in the Test Banks, including in the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam.
How to Study Math
Math is a Large Part of the Exam
Calculations are best mastered through repetition. Follow the steps in the diagram below, starting at the bottom step. You will be ready for math on the NAPLEX when you are completing math on "auto pilot." This happens because you have seen this type of problem many times.
- Use the Required Formulas Sheet in the Quick Guides section of chapter 1 to learn the formulas that must be memorized. The Required Formulas Sheet is available as a tear-out at the back of the RxPrep Course Book.
- Use the Required Formulas Checklist in chapter 1 to make sure no formulas have been missed before taking the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam. This includes formulas in Calculations, Biostatistics, Pharmacokinetics and select clinical chapters (e.g., the phenytoin adjustment formula in the Seizures/Epilepsy chapter).
You are ready to Take the practice exam when:
1. The Math is a Piece of Cake
- Each calculation is marked off on the Required Formulas Checklist, which indicates that the formula is known by heart, and the math can be completed flawlessly.
2. The Index Card Box is Empty, or the Hearts Have Been De-Selected
- This indicates that you have mastered the clinical questions.
Find the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam with the Other Test Banks on the E-Learning Page
- The practice exam has 150 questions. To have the same time per question as the NAPLEX, it should be taken as a timed, 3.5 hour exam.
- Any unanswered questions will receive zero points (the same as on the actual NAPLEX).
- Use a calculator only – no books or formula sheets.
Scored 80% or Higher on the Practice Exam? Almost Ready to Go.
Take a couple of weeks before the exam to review a few items that are easily forgotten:
- Review all of the math. Use the Required Formulas Checklist to make sure none have been missed.
- Review the Compounding topics.
- Review any topics in which you missed questions on the practice exam.
Best Wishes from the RxPrep Pharmacy Team!