Aspiring Pharmacist Need-to-Knows About Licensure Testing
The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination® (NAPLEX®) is the national assessment test taken by graduating pharmacy students. It’s one of the final requirements you’ll need to complete in order to practice. The test is administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP), and is designed to evaluate a PharmD graduate’s readiness to join the workforce.
The test is a six-hour exam with 225 questions, and it’s graded on a pass-or-fail basis. In this post, we explore some of the most-asked questions about what’s on the test, how to prepare, and the steps required to take it, so you can sit for the exam with confidence.
Do I need to take the NAPLEX?
In order to practice as a pharmacist, yes. Passing the exam is a standard requirement for licensure. The exam assesses your knowledge and readiness by testing the competencies you need to perform complex duties in this essential healthcare role.
What’s on the NAPLEX?
The NAPLEX assesses six areas of competency, each allotted a specific percentage of your score. You’ll be tested on the academic knowledge, practiced skills, and professional judgment needed to qualify for licensed pharmacy practice:
- Area 1 (approximately 18%): Obtaining, accessing and assessing data and patient information
- Area 2 (approximately 14%): Identifying drug characteristics
- Area 3 (approximately 35%): Developing and managing treatment plans
- Area 4 (approximately 14%): Performing calculations
- Area 5 (approximately 11%): Compounding, dispensing, administering, and delivery systems
- Area 6 (approximately 7%): Safety and quality of medical-use systems
Each of these areas will cover a range of relevant testing points. Review these areas thoroughly to help you make a game plan to focus your topics of study.
How to Prepare for the NAPLEX
Start preparing for the exam early, and take advantage of all the resources available. Here is a basic roadmap of preparation milestones for the NAPLEX:
- Sign up for NABP tips and reminders.
- Get familiar with the areas and topics tested on the NAPLEX.
- Review sample questions so you know what format to expect on the test.
- Take the official Pre-NAPLEX® practice exam.
- Familiarize yourself with the test day requirements and procedures.
- Don’t forget to rest up before you test up!
Steps to Take the Exam
It’s important to get informed and stay on top of the steps and procedures you’ll need to follow to get ready and register for the test. In addition to studying up, you’ll want to get familiar with state-specific requirements and make sure all of your paperwork is in order. Follow the steps below to make sure you’re queued up and on schedule:
- Check your state’s board of licensure website for any specific requirements.
- Sign up for tips, updates, and information through the NABP.
- Create a profile on the NABP website.
- Check your state’s eligibility requirements to confirm your eligibility.
- Submit your college transcripts through your school registrar.
- Once your NABP profile confirms your eligibility, purchase the exam. Consider purchasing score transfers at the time you purchase your test.
- Wait to receive your Authorization to Test (ATT) by email.
- Schedule your exam appointment with Pearson Vue.
- Receive your Pass or Fail exam results within 14 days.
What if I don’t pass?
The NAPLEX is graded Pass or Fail. In the event you fail the exam, you are permitted to retake the test up to five times.
What’s the Difference Between the NAPLEX and the MPJE?
The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination® (MPJE®) is another test usually taken by graduating PharmD students to obtain licensure. While the NAPLEX focuses on general practice knowledge, the MPJE is designed to assess knowledge based on states and jurisdictions. You’ll have to take the MPJE in order to get your state license or to transfer your license to an alternate state if you relocate. In most cases, you’ll need to take and pass both the NAPLEX and the MPJE to begin practice.
Got Exam Anxiety?
You’re not alone. Pre-exam jitters are common, but you don’t have to let them hold you back. The best way to face your pass-or-fail fears is to face them in advance. Set yourself up for success by curating a mindful study space, learning strategies for effective note-taking and information retention, and taking care of yourself. For more on this, we invite you to browse our many study tips blog posts.
Earn Your PharmD Degree at WCU
West Coast University’s PharmD program offers an accelerated curriculum with integrated NAPLEX support so you can graduate and pursue your license with confidence. Our student-centric approach includes a dynamic curriculum taught in a hybrid online/in-person format. You’ll get hands-on experience in simulation labs, leadership training, and community engagement for a well-rounded education.
In addition to a rigorous course of study, you’ll enjoy extensive support that includes one-on-one tutoring for the NAPLEX. And as a WCU student, you’ll have access to Career Services throughout your education and beyond graduation.
Learn more about our Doctor of Pharmacy program and how to apply today!
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.