NAPLEX or MPJE… Which one first?

One of the most substantial fears that PharmD graduates face upon completion of pharmacy school surrounds the next step in their professional development: becoming a licensed pharmacist. With the exception of some states that require an additional practical exam, such as Georgia and New York, the main two exams that are required from state to state to become licensed to practice are the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). The NAPLEX and MPJE are both pass or fail examinations. While the MPJE exam results do not provide a performance report, the NAPLEX does provide a performance report to reflect on the areas you did well and the areas you might need to review once more. This is an example of the NAPLEX performance report:

Source: NABP Website

While some have no preference in the order of when to take their exams, others may be challenged with a relatively common dilemma – do I take the NAPLEX or MPJE first? This article will not necessarily state why you should pick one option over the other, but instead uncover things to consider when scheduling your exams.

Reason to take the NAPLEX first:Coming out of school, you may feel like a lot of what you have learned in class and during rotations is still relatively fresh in your mind. Before you switch gears to a completely different area of focus, you may want to tackle something you are more familiar with first. Also, depending on the school you have graduated from, you may have been required to register for RxPrep and take on assignments throughout your fourth-year rotations, ultimately keeping your mind engaged on all clinical modules. Another reason is perhaps you have covered your law course during your third year instead of your fourth year of pharmacy school. Lastly, if your school does not provide any law prep course or support before you graduate. 
Reason to take the MPJE first:Based on the plethora of disheartening comments surrounding the exam, many previous exam takers can agree that the MPJE is a more difficult exam. Individuals who take the NAPLEX first may often feel burnt out after extensive preparation, thus leaving those who still have to take the MPJE mentally exhausted and devoid of motivation. Remember, pharmacy law is naturally perceived as a drier topic to begin with. Another reason is if your pharmacy school had you take a law course during your fourth year instead of your third year, making the content fresher in your mind. Lastly, if your pharmacy school does provide a law prep course or support before you graduate. 

Our advice?

Ultimately, what you decide is based on where you stand with respect to how comfortable you are with the content of each exam and even the urgency of addressing your financial situation. Also, depending on the institution, you may be a part of a residency or fellowship program that grants you an additional couple of months of flexibility to become licensed. While it is fine to space out both exams to ensure adequate preparation, you should still be conscious of not distancing your exams too far apart. Remember, the goal is to promptly eliminate the last barrier that stands in the way of you becoming a licensed pharmacist and begin the take down of those horrifying student loans. This was why RxPharmacist was created in supporting pharmacy graduates and pharmacists to overcome the barrier of their licensure exams. Even more so, we also provide state-specific MPJE guides which is a unique offering among other known test-prep companies such as RxPrep which only offers NAPLEX and very minimal (and general) federal MPJE reviews. For more in-depth analysis and advice on each exam, please be sure to check out our previous blogs that provide excellent tips, things to consider, and resources to use to help you overcome your upcoming board exams:

Good luck!

Dagmara Zajac

RxPharmacist Team

References:

  1. NAPLEX Prep Opportunities & Study Guide: NAPLEX exam. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/examinations/naplex/. Published November 11, 2022. Accessed November 10, 2022.
  2. Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE): NABP. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/examinations/mpje/. Published October 6, 2022. Accessed November 10, 2022.

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