With many students wrapping up their interview schedules or getting ready to move on to their next steps, this is an excellent time for us to release a sigh of relief and enjoy this time as much as possible.
But of course, that’s without acknowledging the two enormous and intimidating elephants in the room: The NAPLEX and the MPJE. The NAPLEX and MPJE are the final mountains that pharmacy students must face to become licensed pharmacists.
And it’s no secret as to why they can be so tricky. With national first-attempt passing rates hovering around 80% for both exams last year, there is no apparent certainty that students will succeed in clearing these final hurdles.
The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) is designed to test all the clinical knowledge we have been taught throughout pharmacy school. A LOT of information must be learned, retained and applied to pass the NAPLEX successfully. The good news is that once you have successfully passed the NAPLEX, there is no need to retake the exam if you keep your license in good standing.
The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE), on the other hand, is a state-specific exam designed to assess our abilities to understand, apply and adhere to the many laws and regulations that guide our profession. Unlike the NAPLEX, the MPJE is specific to individual states and thus requires practicing pharmacists to pass state-specific exams for any area of the country they may want to work.
How to Study for the NAPLEX and MPJE
The most important thing to remember when it comes to studying and preparing for any exam is to find what works best for you as an individual.
Generally, an excellent strategy to begin studying for these board licensure exams is to obtain resources to utilize as study material. From school-specific resources to public options such as CEimpact’s Pass the NAPLEX and MPJE. Located on their app, you can utilize their reviews and study methods right at your fingertips.
Once these resources are identified, an easy and helpful way to begin consuming the information is to study the material associated with your current rotational experience in school.
For example, if you were to complete a rotation in a pharmacist-led anti-coagulation clinic, spend the month reading about anti-coagulation, cardiovascular diseases and any other comorbid risk factors you may see daily. This is a win/win as you’ll be studying for the NAPLEX while becoming a better student pharmacist for your patients during your time with them.
Another helpful study strategy is to utilize practice tests and question banks to quiz yourself and ensure you retain the information you’ve been studying. These practice tests are an excellent way to apply the knowledge in new ways that force you to think differently than typical textbook learning methods. With CEimpact’s reviews – Pass the NAPLEX or Pass the MPJE, there are mini quizzes and a large practice exam to put your studying to the test.
Another option to study is to attend study sessions. It is a great way to attend if you feel overwhelmed by all the material you have learned over the past four years. CEimpact is offering in their app a live, virtual, 1-Day session for the NAPLEX and MPJE on April 22nd at 9 am so that you can learn what exactly to study and participate in their self-assessment to test your readiness and areas to focus on.
They are also helpful in familiarizing yourself with the structure of the exams. Being comfortable stepping into the testing room and not being thrown off by the type of questions being asked is a critical step in setting yourself up for a successful yet lengthy day of testing. Preparing to skim over long case reports or literature abstracts and efficiently identify relevant information will save you time and energy during your exam.
Typically, students wait to study for the MPJE until after taking the NAPLEX due partly to how time-consuming NAPLEX preparation can be.
Again, you must be sure which state law exam you must take to practice as a pharmacist. This can get even more tricky if you are working close to a state border and being asked to float around to sites in multiple states.
Understanding the formatting of both exams and knowing all of the requirements to practice legally before taking the NAPLEX and MPJE is an essential part of becoming a practicing pharmacist.
What If, After Graduation, My Career Doesn’t Require Licensing?
Generally, jobs or fellowships that don’t require patient care or any medication dispensing aspects don’t require licensed pharmacists. Some examples would be working within the pharmaceutical industry, managed care, consulting or other nontraditional roles.
Aspiring pharmacists may not need to sit for the NAPLEX or the MPJE to be eligible for these roles. However, studies have shown that pass rates for these exams decrease drastically if they are not taken within four months of graduation. Ultimately, if your first job out of pharmacy school doesn’t require you to be a licensed pharmacist, then it is your own personal decision to do so or not.
I intend to be a licensed pharmacist throughout my career to give myself the flexibility I may need to live the life I want.