How to ACE Your Exams



No Such Thing as Luck; It's Drug Knowledge and Skill
There is no such thing as luck when taking licensure exams; there is only drug knowledge and the skill required to apply the knowledge to case-based questions. All topics must be mastered, and all calculations must be completed with adequate speed and accuracy.

RxPrep NAPLEX Study Materials
Study materials are available at the RxPrep store. The 2021 RxPrep Course Book is a companion to the RxPrep NAPLEX Online Course, which includes Video Lectures and Test Banks. The Course Book is updated annually to be current for the pharmacist licensure exam. The date on the cover (such as the 2021 RxPrep Course Book) should be the year in which you are testing.

Chapter 1 of the RxPrep Course Book includes a section on “How to Use the RxPrep Course Book,” followed by RxPrep’s Roadmap to Passing and information about the NAPLEX. Useful Quick Guides referred to in the roadmap are provided at the end of Chapter 1 and include: Top Seller Prescription and OTC Drugs, Required Formulas, Diagnostic Tests, Medical Terms and Medical Abbreviations.

Begin by taking the Free Assessments in Drug Basics & Terminology and Math Basics to determine if you are ready to jump into NAPLEX preparation. If you have Online Course access you can find these tests within the "Preparing for NAPLEX with RxPrep" chapter on your E-Learning page. If not, you can access them here.

A customized study plan is essential to your success. To make it simpler to create your study schedule, the RxPrep pharmacists have estimated the time it usually takes to complete each topic and have developed sample study schedules and templates for use, as needed (see table and link below). Some learners will require more time than estimated.


Practice Math Daily

Repetition is required for mastery. Schedule time for several hours of math each day. Once you are on "auto pilot" calculating math problems, cut back to 1 hour per week as described in the How to Study Math section of the roadmap. If you are trying to remember a formula or how to set up a calculation when you are taking the actual exam, you are not adequately prepared.

Alternate Between Math and Clinical Topics

The time you devote to math on a daily basis should be roughly equal to the time given to other topics, until you are on "auto pilot" with math.

Always Leave Weekly Catch-Up Time

It is normal to fall behind; the catch-up time will help you stay on schedule. If you are unable to stick to your schedule it is best to postpone the exam. The topics you did not prepare for can be on the exam.

Leave the Two Weeks Before Your Estimated Test Date Open

The last two weeks are used to take the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam, remediate (learn) any missed areas, and review the math and other topics that may have been forgotten. This is covered in Step 4 of the roadmap. The goal is to master all of the RxPrep material before testing.

Estimated Topic Completion Time
1-2 hours per Topic
(~1 weekday night for an APPE student)
2-4 hours per Topic
(~1-2 weekday nights for an APPE student)
> 4 hours per Topic
(~2-5 weekday nights for an APPE student)

Allergic Rhinitis, Cough & Cold
Alzheimer’s Disease
Answering Case-Based Exam Questions
Anxiety Disorders
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Bipolar Disorder
Cases, Exam-Style Practice
Common Conditions of the Eyes and Ears
Constipation & Diarrhea
Cystic Fibrosis
Drug Allergies & Adverse Drug Reactions
Drug Formulations and Patient Counseling
Drug Use in Pregnancy & Lactation
Emergency Preparedness
Infectious Diseases IV
Ischemic Heart Disease
Learning Basic Science Concepts
Learning Drug References
Learning IV Medications
Motion Sickness
Parkinson Disease
Pediatric Conditions
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Sexual Dysfunction
Sickle Cell Disease
Sleep Disorders
Thyroid Disorders
Tobacco Cessation
Urinary Incontinence
Weight Loss

Acute & Critical Care Medicine
Acute Coronary Syndromes
Calculations I
Calculations V
Chronic Heart Failure
Compounding I
Compounding II
Compounding III
Contraception & Infertility
Dietary Supplements, Natural & Complementary Medicine
Hepatitis & Liver Disease
Infectious Diseases III
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Learning Drug Interactions
Learning Lab Values & Drug Monitoring
Medication Safety & Quality Improvement
Renal Disease

Calculations II
Calculations III 
Calculations IV 
Common Skin Conditions
Infectious Diseases I
Infectious Diseases II
Oncology I
Oncology II
Osteoporosis, Menopause & Testosterone Use
Systemic Steroids & Autoimmune Conditions

Click Here to go to the Sample Study Schedules Page


Decide if You Know a Topic Well By Reviewing the Chapter

Look at the bolded drugs, underlined information and content in the Study Tip Gals and Key Drug Guys. Refer to the “How to Use the RxPrep Course Book” section at the beginning of Chapter 1. Based on this quick review, decide which arm of the flow diagram to follow.

When completing Test Banks:

  • If the score is less than 70%, you need to relearn the content in the chapter by following the steps in the REMEDIATE section of the flow diagram.
  • If the score is 70% or higher, you only need to learn the missed content by following the section of the flow diagram that discusses MISSED QUESTIONS.
  • Several chapters have multiple Test Banks. Do not skip any.
Learning the Missed Test Bank Question Content

Missed content means the question was answered incorrectly or the correct answer was chosen by guessing. Missed Test Bank questions can be found under the "Missed Questions" link or on the Feedback Summary Report for the test. Both are available by clicking on the Latest Score for the test in the Chapter Test Scores section of the E-Learning page. There are two options to learn the missed content:

  • BEST METHOD: make your own flashcard by writing the question on the front of an index card and the answer on the back. Any information in the question feedback that you need to learn can be added to the card. Store the flashcards in a box (or other container).
  • ALTERNATIVE METHOD: let the computer make a "flashcard" for you by selecting the heart in the upper right hand corner of the question while taking the test, or while reviewing questions on the Feedback Summary Report. The heart will turn red. The questions with red hearts will be stored in the Flashcards section of the E-Learning page.

With BOTH Methods: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Explain aloud, in your own words, why the answer is correct. Pretend you are explaining the answer to someone you care about, such as your mother (for patient counseling) or another pharmacist (for content a patient would not need to know, such as a drug's mechanism of action). If you change the information into your own words and hear yourself explain it, your brain can more easily store the information. If using index cards, put the new card in the very back of the box. Every day, pull a small stack of cards from the front of the box and review them using the method described above. Online flashcards can be shuffled and reviewed as a group or by specific chapters.

Mastering Cases

NAPLEX questions are based on cases. You will need to pull information from a case to answer questions, such as:

  • How many grams of protein per day are being provided by the parenteral nutrition?
  • Which drug is the best option to treat the infection?

Evaluating cases and making patient-specific recommendations about drug therapy requires practice. This is what the last year of pharmacy school is mostly focused on; do not take it for granted. Help with case-based questions can be found in several chapters: Answering Case-Based Exam Questions, Calculations V and Cases, Exam-Style Practice. There are more cases in the Test Banks, including in the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam.


Math is a Large Part of the Exam

Calculations are best mastered through repetition. Follow the steps in the diagram below, starting at the bottom step. You will be ready for math on the NAPLEX when you are completing math on "auto pilot." This happens because you have seen the types of problems many times.

  • Use the Required Formulas Sheet in the Quick Guides section of Chapter 1 to learn the formulas that must be memorized. The Required Formulas Sheet is also available as a tear-out at the back of the RxPrep Course Book.
  • Use the Required Formulas Checklist in Chapter 1 to make sure no formulas have been missed before taking the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam. This includes formulas in Calculations, Biostatistics, Pharmacokinetics and select clinical chapters (e.g., the phenytoin adjustment formula in the Seizures/Epilepsy chapter).

When you can say: I have mastered everything on the Required Formulas Checklist, you have mastered NAPLEX math.


  1. The Math is a Piece of Cake

    Each calculation is marked off on the Required Formulas Checklist, which indicates that the formula is known by heart, and the math can be completed flawlessly.

  2. The Index Card Box is Empty, or the Online Flashcards Have Been Deleted.

    This indicates that you have mastered the clinical content.

Find the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam with the Other Test Banks on the E-Learning Page
  • The practice exam has 150 questions. To have the same time per question as the NAPLEX, it should be taken as a timed, 3.5 hour exam.
  • Any unanswered questions will receive zero points (the same as on the actual NAPLEX).
  • Use a calculator only – no books or formula sheets.
Scored Below 80% on the Practice Exam?

The RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam contains a fixed proportion of calculations, compounding and biostatistics questions and a random selection of clinical content. If you did not follow the instructions above in Step 2: Create a Study Plan and Step 3: Studying Clinical & Math Chapters, your score may be considerably less than 80%.

Go back and review this information to better tackle and learn the exam content. You may not need to go back to all of the topics. Review your chapter test scores and consider re-testing on topics you feel unsure about. Use the Feedback Summary Reports, provided for each chapter Test Bank and the RxPrep Practice NAPLEX Exam, to identify the areas in which questions were answered incorrectly. Skipping topics and taking a chance on the NAPLEX is not advised.

Scored 80% or Higher on the Practice Exam? Almost Ready to Go.

Take a couple of weeks before the exam to review a few items that are easily forgotten:

  • Review all of the math. Use the Required Formulas Checklist to make sure none have been missed.
  • Review the Compounding topics.
  • Review any topics in which you missed questions on the Practice Exam.
Ready To Go On To The NAPLEX!

Best Wishes from the RxPrep Pharmacy Team!

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