If I had 2 weeks to study for the NAPLEX, what would I do?
First off, I want to congratulate all the inspired pharmacy students who have just graduated from pharmacy school! Give yourself’s a pat on the back, but be ready to keep moving forward! I get asked frequently on Facebook and Twitter how to study for the NAPLEX. So I pinned myself down and asked the question: If I had 2 weeks to prepare, how would I study for the NAPLEX? Remember, I’m telling you how I would study for the NAPLEX given a 2 week period, not necessarily how everyone should.
- Avoid reading books like DiPiro’s Pharmacotherapy, APHA, and RxPrep word for word. Too massive for me and I would get lost in the details, I only have two weeks.
- Develop a schedule. Early morning works the best for me for quiet study time. I would block off 2 hours when I first wake up (6 or 7AM), then maybe a 30 minute break and do another 1-2 hour session. I would probably take some time off around lunch and book another 2-3 hours in the afternoon and leave evenings pretty open depending upon my comfort level with the material.
- I would consider a study partner if that option is available. However, with a study partner I would strongly recommend limiting that time to maybe 1-2 hours. I always had the tendency of getting off track talking about random subjects during longer periods of time. I would schedule that in the evening if it were an option.
- I would get at least 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep and try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise. I think this is VERY important.
- If you are going to use a large review book like DiPiro, APHA, or RxPrep, I would page through the book and identify areas that are my nemesis and write them down. I would do this on Day 1 to get a feel for where I’m at.
- Identify those weaknesses! Spend the bulk of your time going after major important points in areas that you are weak in. This is designed to help narrow down possible answers to questions you may not be totally confident on.
- I would use class notes. Hopefully you have some good ones! Due to time constraints, and understanding the way I retain the most information while studying, notes give you great bullet point information that was likely highlighted (and therefore, likely important) by professors.
- Practice questions: Whatever the source, I would definitely like to get some practice questions that would help me identify weaknesses and get into the groove for test taking.
- Dominate calculations. I would brush up on these using practice questions and/or some notes, or a calculations book from college.
I hope this helps! What other strategies have you used?
Eric Christianson, PharmD, BCPS, CGP
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