A Compendium of Top NAPLEX Preparation Resources

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, commonly known as the NAPLEX, is hard work. You get 185 questions thrown at you in about four hours — and you have to answer them all.

As someone who has gone through seven or more years of college and graduate education, you already know how to study. You're a master. Preparing for the NAPLEX should be a piece of cake for you. But there is likely to be content on the test that you haven't seen in a while … maybe even a long while.

To help you get ready, we've put together this guide to some of the most popular study materials out there — and how to make the most of them. Here are the questions that many pharmacy students have, along with our insights and recommendations.

What Are the Best Study Guides?

The APhA Complete Review for Pharmacy, 10th Edition

The APhA review guide is considered the “gold standard” of NAPLEX study prep. You can get a copy relatively inexpensively, for about $50.

Pros:

It’s thorough, detailed, and covers nearly every conceivable topic on the NAPLEX.

Cons:

At a whopping 1,000+ pages, it’s an enormous text with lots of extra information you won't need for the test. I had one student who simply found the book useless because it had so much supplementary information in it.

RxPrep Course Book

Considerably more expensive than the APhA Complete Review, this book is considered one of the best study resources available for the NAPLEX. Many students (including the one mentioned above), consider it to be a better guide. It’s well worth considering, in spite of the 2015 edition’s steep $160 price tag.

Pros:

It’s concise, up-to-date, and will teach you everything you need to know about the NAPLEX. The graphics and summaries provide an excellent way to study without mindlessly memorizing the material.

Cons:

This guide is a bit pricey and doesn’t have many practice questions.

2015 Edition Pharmacy Charts

These charts are quite expensive at $150, but they are incredibly useful. You should use them to supplement your study texts — the color-coding and layout design of the pages will help you remember vital drug information efficiently.

Pros:

The content is comprehensive and FDA-approved, and the design will help you learn and retain your knowledge of pharmaceutical drugs.

Cons:

This resource is expensive and shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone study guide.

SDN Calculations 120 Questions

The NAPLEX tests a range of math skills, which are critical because they demonstrate your ability to administer medications safely. The Student Doctor Network makes calculations reviews available for free download. These are a favorite among pharmacology students, and they’re also great tools for brushing up on your math for the exam.

Pros:

These questions and calculations cover all the math that will be on the NAPLEX, and the resource is free!

Cons:

You have to use them in conjunction with a formal study guide.

Pharmaceutical and Clinical Calculations, 2nd Edition

This is another resource for brushing up on your math for the NAPLEX. It too is available for free as a downloadable PDF. Using this volume together with the SDN Calculations will be your best bet for sharpening your math skills before the test.

Pros:

It begins with the basics and explains all the math that will be included on the exam. The content is comprehensive, and the PDF is also free!

Cons:

This resource is not a stand-alone study guide; it has to be used along with other prep material.

How Should I Study?

It really depends on what your normal study habits are and how easily you master this type of material. When memorizing concepts, I recommend speaking them out loud because it’s often easier to make the ideas “stick” with this approach. For memorization, once you go through the pharmacy charts, I suggest reading them back to a friend without any help so you can be sure you know them by heart.

How Long Should I Study For?

Since you’ve taken classes on these topics and therefore have extensive experience studying the material covered on the NAPLEX, none of the content should be new to you. You’ll want to devote about 30 hours a week to studying, and assuming you feel confident about the general material, you ought to be able to follow this plan for about a month and ace the exam.

Pharmacy schools expect students to study for the exam, but not extensively. Assuming you’ve gotten through pharmacy school satisfactorily, a month of studying will be reasonable for most students. That said, plan ahead, and don’t put any of this off!

Best of luck as you prepare for the NAPLEX — and your future career as a pharmacist!