How To Ace Your Exams
Applies to 2022 Products
RxPrep's Roadmap to Passing
Follow the steps to outlined in this roadmap; they work well used as directed.
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.
Study materials are available at the RxPrep store. The 2023 RxPrep Course Book is a companion to the RxPrep NAPLEX 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 2023 RxPrep Course Book) should be the year in which you are testing.
Chapter 1 of the RxPrep Course Book includes a section on "How to Use the RxPrep Course Book," followed by RxPrep's roadmaop to Passing and information about the NAPLEX. Useful Quick Guides referred to in the roadmap are provided at the end of Chapter 1 and include: Top Seller Prescription and OTC Drugs, Required Formulas, Diagnostic Tests, Medical Terms and Medical Abbreviations.
1. Take the Two Free Assessment Tests
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" chapter on your E-Learning page. If not, you can access them here.
2. Create Your Customized Study Plan
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 and have developed sample study schedules and templates for use, as needed (see table and link below). Some learners will require more time than estimated.
Repetition is required for mastery. Schedule time for several hours of math each 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 are not adequately prepared.
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.
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.
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.
Estimated Topic Completion Time
- Allergic Rhinitis, Cough & Cold
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Answering Case-Based Exam Questions
- Anxiety Disorders
- Basic Science Concepts
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Cases, Exam-Style Practice
- Common Conditions of the Eyes and Ears
- Constipation & Diarrhea
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Drug Allergies & Adverse Drug Reactions
- Drug Formulations and Patient Counseling
- Drug References
- Drug Use in Pregnancy & Lactation
- Infectious Diseases IV
- Intravenous Medication Principles
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Motion Sickness
- Parkinson Disease
- Pediatric Conditions
- Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Sleep Disorders
- Thyroid Disorders
- Tobacco Cessation
- Toxicology & Antidotes
- Urinary Incontinence
- Weight Loss
(~1-2 weekday nights for an APPE student)
- Acute & Critical Care Medicine
- Acute Coronary Syndromes
- Calculations I
- Calculations V
- Chronic Heart Failure
- Compounding I
- Compounding II
- Compounding III
- Contraception & Infertility
- Dietary Supplements, Natural &
- Complementary Medicine
- Drug Interactions
- GERD & PUD
- Hepatitis & Liver Disease
- Infectious Diseases III
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Lab Values & Drug Monitoring
- Medication Safety & Quality Improvement
- Renal Disease
(~2-5 weekday nights for an APPE student)
- Calculations II
- Calculations III
- Calculations IV
- Common Skin Conditions
- Infectious Diseases I
- Infectious Diseases II
- Oncology I
- Oncology II
- Osteoporosis, Menopause & Testosterone
- Systemic Steroids & Autoimmune Conditions
3. Study Clinical & Math Chapters
How to Study Clinical Chapters
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” section at the beginning of Chapter 1. Based on this quick review, decide which arm of the flow diagram to follow.
When completing Test Banks:
- 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 content by following the section of the flow diagram that discusses MISSED QUESTIONS.
- Several chapters have multiple Test Banks. Do not skip any.
Missed content means the question was answered incorrectly or the correct answer was chosen by guessing. Missed Test Bank questions can be found under the “Missed Questions” link or on the Feedback Summary Report for the test. Both are available by clicking on the Latest Score for the test in the Chapter Test Scores section of the E-Learning page. There are two options to learn the missed content:
- 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 while taking the test, or while reviewing questions on the Feedback Summary Report. The heart will turn red. The questions with red hearts will be stored in the Flashcards section of the E-Learning 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. Online flashcards can be shuffled and reviewed as a group or by specific chapters.
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 Chapters
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 the types of problems 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 also 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).
When you can say: I have mastered everything on the Required Formulas Checklist, you have mastered NAPLEX math.
4. Take the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam
You are ready to take the practice exam when:
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 also available as a tear-out at the back of the RxPrep Course Book.
This indicates that you have mastered the clinical content.
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, 4-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.
The RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam contains a fixed proportion of calculations, compounding and biostatistics questions and a random selection of clinical content. If you did not follow the instructions above in Step 2: Create Your Customized Study Plan and Step 3: Study Clinical & Math Chapters, your score may be considerably less than 80%.
Go back and review this information to better tackle and learn the exam content. You may not need to go back to all of the topics. Review your chapter test scores and consider re-testing on topics you feel unsure about. Use the Feedback Summary Reports, provided for each chapter Test Bank and the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam, to identify the areas in which questions were answered incorrectly. Skipping topics and taking a chance on the NAPLEX is not advised.
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.