NAPLEX

How to pass your NAPLEX the first time

Congratulations, you made it through pharmacy school and officially graduated! Now, you may find yourself consistently browsing through articles and student forums across the web, all in hopes of finding the best tips for succeeding in your upcoming licensure exam(s). The NAPLEX has undeniably become more challenging over the years. Changes were made to the exam back in 2016, ultimately resulting in decreased pass rates since then (Table 1).

YearPassing Rate (%)
201494.9
201592.6
201685.9
Table 1. First-time NAPLEX Pass Rates for 2014-2016

With the exception of the brief increase in passing rates seen in 2018, scores remain consistently low since 2016 (Table 2). Is the exam becoming more clinical? Are school curriculums becoming outdated? Or are exam writers simply burning out due to the extended length and duration of the NAPLEX? There could be a variety of reasons as to why pass rates have dropped, and while preparing for an exam that covers up to 4 years of material may feel overwhelming, this article will pinpoint everything you need to know to overcome these statistics and take down your NAPLEX exam (also be sure to check out tips on how to pass your MPJE from our RxPharmacist blog here).

YearPassing Rate (%)
201786.28
201888.03
201986.74
Table 2. First-time NAPLEX Pass Rates for 2017-2019

  1. The first step in preparing for any exam is familiarizing yourself with it .

The NAPLEX is 6 hours long and contains 250 questions; 200 count towards your score, while the remaining 50 questions anonymously serve as experimental questions and will have no effect on your score. Many of the questions you’ll come across will be written as patient cases and will require you to piece together multiple elements of the information provided. Questions are presented in multiple choice, select all that apply, fill-in-the-blank (for calculations), ordered response, and hot-spot (using a diagram to identify the answer) format.

The NAPLEX is broken into two major areas:

  • Area 1: Ensure Safe and Effective Pharmacotherapy and Health Outcomes (67%)
  • Area 2: Safe and Accurate Preparation, Compounding, Dispensing, and Administration of Medications and Provision of Health Care Products (33%)

Each one of these areas are further broken down into more detailed subcategories that are listed as part of the NAPLEX competency statements found here from NABP’s website.

  • Once you know the basis of the exam, the next important item on your checklist is to implement a study schedule that strictly predetermines your daily and weekly goals. As much we’d like to provide an estimate on how much time you should set aside to study, the only person who is best aware of their tendencies and abilities is you. Be realistic and fair with your timeline and be sure create an effective study environment by setting aside all distractions during study periods.
  • In terms of study resources, Rxprep has become well-reputable throughout its time and many have relied on the course book as it covers each topic in depth and provides effective illustrations. Rxprep can definitely be a primary tool for studying, but not the only one.

Other helpful resources include:

  • Quizlets: Online flash cards that can serve to enhance and encourage quick recall.
  • RxPharmacist’s practice questions: One of the most updated guides that contains over 500 NAPLEX practice questions that highly mimic the actual exam.
  • Medication and disease state charts: Will help condense information down to the most important material you need to know – excellent tool to use for review. Our RxPharmacist CPJE exam guide provides a nice review of all of the major clinical topics with visuals and easy to read charts.

One thing we’d like to place emphasis on is the importance of practicing calculations. A considerable portion of the exam contains calculations, which are typically very easy to answer if you’re familiar with the formulas and procedures. Consistent practice will help make you an expert in calculations, allowing for a little more leeway when you come across the more tedious and difficult clinical questions. This is why our RxPharmacist NAPLEX guide has a heavy amount of difficult practice calculations so you can easily breeze through the calculation portion to score as high as possible in boosting your overall score.

Similar to the MPJE, the questions on the NAPLEX can be detailed and require thorough reading. Be sure not to rush through the exam and be mindful of what the question is asking.

Best of luck!

Sam Tamjidi, PharmD

RxPharmacist Team

References:

  1. Score Results. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/naplex/score-results/
  2. Welch, A. C., & Karpen, S. C. (2018). Comparing Student Performance on the Old vs New Versions of the NAPLEX. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 82(3), 6408. https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe6408

How to Pass Your MPJE Exam the First Time

Each year, the NABP composes a list of MPJE pass rates for each school and college of pharmacy in the United States and compares these results to previous years. While the goal is to observe an upward and promising trend in pass rates, the data obtained between 2017-2019 indicates otherwise, as illustrated in the figure below. Cumulative pass rates across the United States have declined from 83.98% to 81.9% over the last couple of years and while the difference may not appear significant, any outcome that does not demonstrate improvement is unfavorable and must be addressed.

Data Reference: NABP website

What could be the result for the decline in performance? Increased burnout? Increased competition? Poor pharmacy coverage of law? Regardless what the case may be, studying for the MPJE is a tedious process. You may not know what to do or where to begin; however, there are many tips and resources that may be useful to make you feel more prepared for your upcoming exam.

There are no shortcuts and a lot of time and effort must be devoted to preparing. In this article, we attempt to help you understand the highlights of the MPJE and how to pass it the first time.

Know what the exam is about.

The MPJE requires a passing score of 75% or higher. It is constructed as a 2.5-hour exam that is composed of 120 questions with three areas of focus, including:

  • Pharmacy practice (83%)
  • Licensure, registration, certification, and operational requirements (15%)
  • General regulatory requirements (3%)

The exam aims to assess an individual’s competency by testing their knowledge and skills in evaluating situations and applying relevant federal and state laws. Knowing the build-up of the exam can be a useful marker in indicating how much time should be devoted to each section. A greater breakdown of each area of focus can be found on NABP’s website here. All questions are in multiple choice, select all that apply, K-type (I only, II and III, or I, II, and III), and ranking format. Be prepared to choose the best answer(s).

Use appropriate study materials.

Unlike preparing for the NAPLEX, which is typically associated with review of one extensive guide, preparation for the MPJE is a little different in that it does not have its own “go-to” guide. RxPharmacist noticed this concern and took action by erasing the dilemma of what resource to use. Here are some tools to help you pass on your first try:

  • Both the state laws and rules can be found on your Board of Pharmacy website. We recommend going to your Board of Pharmacy website first, and if you need help, then pursue study guides as another resource.
    • If you choose to review all the content on the Board’s website, be sure to take notes while you read. The material can be quite extensive as a whole but reducing it into your own writing will serve as an excellent source when the time comes to do your final review before your exam.
  • RxPharmacist provides detailed study guides (in both online and print format) that target key points the MPJE generally focuses on. These comprehensive guides cover both federal and state pharmacy law while providing plenty of questions for practice. To see if a guide is available for your state, check out all the courses provided here.
  • Guide to Federal Pharmacy Law, 9th Edition provides an excellent review of federal law applicable to the exam. The limited use of legal jargon allows for a smoother read while focusing on the most pertinent information.

Whether you choose to study all the material from your Board of Pharmacy’s website or purchase a study guide for a smoother ride, there are a series of topics that must be focused on and highlighted, such as the following:

  • Prescription/labeling requirements
  • Controlled substances
    • DEA forms
    • Classification of controlled substances
    • Prescribing authority and filling
    • Emergency/partial fills
    • Expiration
    • Transfers
    • Refills
  • Other
    • Compounding
    • Continuing education
    • Drug utilization reviews
    • Adulterated vs. misbranded
    • LTCF/hospice facilities
    • Emergency kits
    • Immunizations

Practice, Practice, and Practice!

It’s one thing to study all the material, but it’s an entirely different element to apply all the content you learned to patient scenarios. You won’t realize how challenging it is to distinguish between multiple answer choices until you practice, and thus application is crucial. Some of the highlighted study material listed above can provide you with practice questions; however, additional resources to maximize your practice can be found on NABP’s website.

Another great way to test yourself is with the use of flash cards!

Additional tips:

  • Create a schedule and routine for yourself. Every person is different, thus being aware of your study habits is critical in allowing yourself appropriate time to prepare.
  • Remember to put aside your biased work experience and not depend on everything you see during your workdays such as in the retail pharmacy setting. Sometimes there are differences between what the law states and what your company’s policy is.
  • As the exam does not specify between state and federal law, always pick whichever law is stricter.

Keep in mind the questions on the MPJE can be detailed and require thorough reading. Be sure to not rush through the exam and be mindful of what the question is asking.

Good luck!

Sam Tamjidi, PharmD

RxPharmacist Team

References: MPJE Score Results. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/mpje/score-results/

Supporting our pharmacy profession: Team Member Testimonial

My journey with RxPharmacist started with a post on my pharmacy class’s Facebook page asking for help to contribute to their Florida MPJE guide. I reached out and volunteered to help. This experience was very valuable as it helped me develop my writing skills, work within a team with other pharmacy graduates around the State of Florida, and helped me study for the MPJE exam. After I found out I passed the MPJE, there was no way I could take another one.

Little did I know, a year later, I would be moving to Washington, DC. I was researching online for study materials for the DC MPJE, but had little luck in finding materials. That is when I came across RxPharmacist again. I reached out asking if there were any DC MPJE study materials available. Fortunately, I was presented with an opportunity to author a DC MPJE Guide with RxPharmacist. I was already working as a pharmacist and my job was very demanding; however, the RxPharmacist team was very flexible with allowing me to write the guide at my own pace within the time frame requested. This opportunity closely aligned with my goals to help the pharmacy profession and improve my writing skills. Thank you RxPharmacist for another great experience! Best of luck to all current and future pharmacists on your MPJE exams!

Chrissy T., Pharm.D., 2020 Medical Writing Associate

University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Class of 2019

What is the MPJE and What do I Need to Know?

WHAT IS THE MPJE?

The Multi-Prudence Jurisdiction Examination (MPJE) is a 120-question computer-based exam that uses adaptive testing response questions. For example, if you keep getting questions wrong then the computer will provide you questions that are statistically deemed “easier.”  It’s important to note that of the 120 questions on this exam, only 100 are used to calculate your final score. The remaining 20 questions are pretest questions that will not count into your MPJE score, but you won’t be able to tell which ones are pretest questions and which ones are not. The total testing time is two hours with NO breaks during the testing session so it’s important to take note of time. 

WHAT IS THE PASSING SCORE?

The passing scaled score is 75 with the minimum score being zero and maximum 100. The exam is divided into three major sections:

  • Pharmacy Practice- 83%
  • Licensure, registration, certification, operational requirements- 15%
  • General Regulatory Processes- 2%

WHAT HAPPENS IF I FAIL?

If you don’t pass the first time you still have 4 more attempts to pass you’re MPJE exam. A maximum of 5 tries per state to pass the MPJE is allowed. Hopefully you won’t fail the first time you take your MPJE but if you do, you need to wait 30 days per state until you can sit for the exam again to re-take. For the NAPLEX, it is a period of 45 days to wait before you can retake the exam again. 

Note that if your eligibility to sit for the NAPLEX or MPJE is going to expire within 10 business days then you won’t be able to pay and sit for the exam so make sure as soon as you get your authorization to test (ATT) letter that you book your appointment as soon as possible. 

IMPORTANT 2019-2020 UPDATES TO MPJE AND NAPLEX

The re-sit fees for the NAPLEX and MPJE are bumped up to $475 and $150 (YIKES that hurts!). If you miss your exam due to an emergency (whatever that means), then you can ask if you can re-sit to take your exam for a reduced fee of $170 for the NAPLEX or $100 for the MPJE. 

SOME MAJOR POINTS TO REMEMBER:

  • All questions are answered in order so there’s no going back
  • Lots of situational questions
  • Online registration costs $250.00 per examination
  • You will need to bring two forms of ID at Pearson Vue
  • At least one picture ID with signature (i.e. Driver’s License)
  • Other can be credit card with signature
  • 120 questions, 100 count towards your score
  • MUST complete 107 questions for examination to be scored
  • If you fail, you must wait 30 days to retake for the MPJE and 45 days for the NAPLEX
  • The MPJE doesn’t distinguish between state and federal laws, but answer each question based on state law
  • Any misconduct or inkling of misconduct is grounds for failure
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes early
  • Ensure to read EVERY SINGLE WORD!
    • They will try to trick you so make sure to answer the question they ask, and lookout for unusual words as triggers. 

BREAKDOWN OF FEES:

Total if you passed the first time: 

$250 MPJE ($150 + $100 application fee)

$575 NAPLEX ($475 + $100 application fee)

$825

Total if you failed but passed the second time: 

$500 MPJE ($250 x 2)

$1,150 NAPLEX ($575 x 2)

$1,650

As you can see, it really adds up if you don’t pass the first time so we hope that you pass the first time! This does not include the stress and wasted time either since you can’t start working until your licensed. We highly recommend reviewing the https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/mpje/ site and reading over the NAPLEX/MPJE registration bulletin. They provide a more specific overview of the exam, scheduling requirements, and a list of core competencies for you to understand. Don’t spend too much time on the core competencies, but more on understanding the laws, as there are many situational type questions.

About RxPharmacist 

RxPharmacist got created out of a calling to help a fellow classmate who failed his board exams, lost his job offer, and almost went homeless in not being able to gain employment as he had to wait 45 days before being able to sit and retake his board exams. Frustrated over the high cost of expensive study guides that were outdated, heavy in content, and weren’t focused on getting to the information needed to pass was the call to action that RxPharmacist has answered.

We are a group of volunteer pharmacists, paid pharmacy students, and mentors to our pharmacy profession driven by fellow pharmacy graduates and pharmacists just like you. We want to make a positive difference and disrupt the pharmacy test-prep industry but we need your help.

If you think you can help join our cause, feel free to shoot us over an email on how we can improve our services and products to help you. Even though this starter guide is basic in nature, we hope it can get you pointed in the right direction so you can start your journey in passing your MPJE board exams. Whether you are a fresh pharmacy graduate or a seasoned pharmacist getting licensed in another state, we’re excited you started your journey with us although it will be short-lived as we hope you will pass the first time! 

We all understand board studying for gaining your pharmacist licensure is not easy. We don’t want the stress and headaches of potential failing you’re MPJE get in the way of the career you want.

Intern Spotlight: The Value of a Good Internship

The idea of an internship is awesome. You basically get a trial run of anything you might want to try. You get the opportunity to meet people in a field and learn all about an industry that interests you.

But it does come at a cost- your time.

Your time is the most valuable thing you own; especially when you only have a few years of school and free summers before you need to make a career choice. Therefore, when picking an internship, it’s important to look for someone who values your time for what it’s worth; which is a hard concept to define. However, after working for a start-up like RxPharmacist, I began to see specifically what it looks like. See, a start-up, or any other small business, understands the  value in time because the truth is, time is more than just money for them. The time it takes to learn a new program determines whether or not it is worth the money. The time it takes to finish creating a product determines how many people you are willing to hire. A start-up constantly needs to prioritize things to ensure the best use of their time. Which is kind of like what a student does. You have unique qualities and traits that you want to market to everyone else, and you are paving a unique pathway to your future career. And what makes you unique? Your experiences; or in other words, how you spend your time.

With RxPharmacist, I was never stuck working in one area. I had the opportunity to learn and gain experience with website development, search engine optimization, competitive pricing, employee recruitment, and advertising. I worked directly with the CEO of a company and got a front row seat to the mechanics of how a business is managed and built from the ground up. I saw how a business plan was written and entered the vast world of business competitions- which are quite exciting. I learned the value of networking and building connections. I learned that the field of pharmacy is so much bigger than I had ever imagined and that your opportunities are only limited by your ambitions.

To top it off, I was able to work from home and created my own schedule so that I never had to waste any time with commuting! 

This internship has opened my eyes to so many opportunities; however, above all, I value this experience in particular because I learned what it means for someone to value my time. I was constantly encouraged with my school work and with applying for future internships. I was asked what interested me and what I wanted to learn about. I was given advice about the field of pharmacy and about working in general. Just recently, I mentioned I was considering getting a second degree and was immediately connected with someone who is currently working on that degree. The mentorship that I gained from this experience was invaluable, and I would encourage any student to seek out an opportunity such as this one. I can assure you, it is well worth your time.

Sincerely,

Madeline Wright

University of Florida College of Pharmacy

PharmD Candidate c/o 2022

The Creation of RxPharmacist

Getting through pharmacy school is not easy. Second year was the worst and finally when you get to your fourth year you need to focus on getting a residency or fellowship program. The obstacles don’t stop there, you then need to finally graduate and take your licensure board examinations, mainly the NAPLEX and state specific MPJE exam. Those few months in between graduating and starting your residency, fellowship, or first job out of school are tough transition periods for pharmacy graduates as they need to pass their boards in order to start their first paid income job.

I’ll tell you how RxPharmacist got created. One of my pharmacy school classmates, Mike, received an offer and moved his family of three little boys from Florida to Tennessee contingent upon him passing his board exams. He called me sobbing at 2am in the morning, I could hear the desperation in his voice. Knowing Mike for the past 4-years during pharmacy school, I never saw him this low and said I will do everything in my power to help him. That same morning, I started creating study guides and working with my fellow classmates. After using them, he passed and said how this will help so many people who are struggling. That is how RxPharmacist got created out of a call of service that helps pharmacy graduates and pharmacists nationally as being one of the only companies to offer this service and helping over a thousand students pass their board licensure exams the first time. 

A key signature among all of our services and products are serving and giving back to our pharmacy profession. We offer a unique, one-of-a-kind pharmacy graduate transition program to assist students during that time period between graduation and starting their first job and connecting them to preceptors and mentors to ensure they are successful in this saturated pharmacy market. Check out our internship page for more information. We create a symbiotic relationship with students ensuring everything we do, we put them first. Even with our customers, we ensure to reach out and follow up with them as we enjoy seeing the success of our students, and we take down our guides if they need to be updated even though we lose potential funds to help sponsor future pharmacy graduates. Think about this. Many companies don’t do this, they just reuse their content over and over, without updating or tweaking. We understand why, it’s extremely time consuming but someone has to do the right, good work that needs to be done.

We hope to continue RxPharmacist to continue to serve our pharmacy profession and disrupt the test-prep industry in creating affordable, high quality, and up to date guides.

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