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What Are the Different Types of NAPLEX® Questions?

By Jessica F. Black
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX®) questions are typically divided among three sections, and the test usually consists of a total of 185 questions. Students generally take the NAPLEX® after completing his or her degree in pharmacology studies. This test consists of a series of multiple choice questions, and a passing score will enable the student to receive his or her pharmacy license. Examination fees are relatively high, and students should spend extended periods of time preparing to avoid having to retake the test. There are a number of schools that offer preparation courses strictly for this exam.

This exam should generally take a little over four hours, due to the number of NAPLEX® questions and the format of the test. Various medical cases are described throughout several paragraphs, and the NAPLEX® questions are based on these cases. Students should use their knowledge gained from previous coursework, exams, and experience in order to respond to each question. In addition to lengthy case-based statements, there are also straightforward questions that take less time to review. This test has an anomalous mechanism that adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on the preciseness of the previous answer, so the student's applied knowledge has a direct effect on the NAPLEX® questions.

Sections are divided by different skills, and in the first section students should display the ability to identify appropriate therapies, sort patients by medical needs, and other initial patient procedures. This first section is usually worth a large percentage of the total exam. Preparing and distributing different medications is covered by the second section, in which students should be able to demonstrate the required skills needed to safely administer all medications. An enhanced knowledge of optimal health services, supplements, sterile procedures, and public awareness is addressed by the third section, which constitutes the smallest percentage of the exam.

Passing scores on these exams are based on the student's knowledge and the number of questions answered. Students must complete at least 162 questions out of the 185, otherwise a penalty is usually applied to the score. The standard minimum score is 75 points, which can be achieved by answering at least 60% of the questions correctly. Some common question topics include asking about the dosage of different drugs and how they affect the body, as well as questions regarding the chemical makeup of the body and how it reacts to different medications. There are numerous sites on the Internet that offer sample NAPLEX® questions, and students should practice as much as possible.

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