Tips for Success on the NAPLEX

Tips for Success on the NAPLEX

  • Pacing

    There is a timer at the top of the computer screen to help you pace yourself. You can hide it if it distracts you—but since the test is timed, you might find it helpful for pacing. You have 6 hours to complete all 250 questions. The total appointment time will be for 6.5 hours to give time to read the instructions and sign disclosures.

  • Take the Break

    There will be a minimum of 1 break provided during the exam which will not count against your exam time. Make sure to take any available break! You need to rest your brain. Remember there are no bonus points for finishing early.

  • Mathematical Questions

    It is possible that questions involving mathematical calculations will be weighted more heavily than other questions. Spend extra time solving them, but try to limit yourself to a maximum of 5 or 6 minutes each, if time is a concern.

  • Make Diagrams

    If a question calls for a calculation or a certain mechanism, scratch a rough image. Having a crude diagram to look at, rather than having to imagine it from the computer screen, will help you to see what you’re dealing with. Such notes also often stimulate more recall.

  • Key Words

    Look for key words in questions. Words such as “most likely” may help you eliminate some choices even when you don’t have comprehensive recall—the most likely choice is probably the one that is most familiar as you review the choices.

  • Eliminating Choices

    You cannot cross off an answer choice and banish it from your sight (it’s on a computer screen, after all), so you have to be disciplined about not reconsidering choices you’ve already eliminated.

NAPLEX Study Tips

It is important to focus on your own areas of weakness. To help you do so, keep the following in mind:

Key Steps Toward Preparedness

Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Review your weakest subjects first. The best way to identify your weaknesses is through practice exams.

Practice calculations to increase your confidence.

Schedule extra time before your testing date to revisit your weaker areas.

Complete the practice test under real exam conditions.

Order and complete the Pre-NAPLEX exam, available from NABP.

When you review the practice exams, make sure you understand why your incorrect answer choices were incorrect.

Be sure you understand why you missed a question. Did you simply forget a fact? Choose your answer too quickly? Misunderstand the question? Miss an important clue within the question? Finally, do you keep making the same mistakes over and over? If so, it is important to spend more time on those areas.


During the exam, there are sure to be some questions that stump you. For those, just narrow down the choices and take your best guess. You don’t want to spend too much time analyzing a question you do not know and then run out of time toward the end of the exam. Remember, you cannot simply leave a question blank, so in some shape or form, you’ll have to take your best guess.

Keep in mind that 50 experimental questions are not calculated into your score, so if you answer a few questions incorrectly, it’s possible that they won’t be scored at all.

When you just don’t know the answer: narrow the answer choices to two likely choices, then use the “upper, then lower” decision rule to select one of them. This rule means you alternate your guess, using the upper choice the first time you are stuck, then the lower choice the next time you are stuck. This technique helps keep you moving forward.

Positive Attitude

The most important decision you can make in your studying process is to have a positive attitude, especially on test day. Remember this:

  • The odds are on your side; around 93% of pharmacy graduates pass the NAPLEX.
  • This is a minimal competency exam.
  • You spent a minimum of 6 years in school to become a pharmacist. If you did that, you can conquer this exam!