Published Online: Friday, September 1, 2006

The pharmacy boards are your last hurdle to a pharmacy license. You should do several things in order to prepare for these "finals." I would wish you good luck, but "luck" won't help. Your success is up to you. If you have prepared for your college exams, then this is just another final. You will do fine. Remember these tips as you progress through your pharmacy curriculum:

1. Keep copies of your old pharmacy exams, and use them as a refresher course.

2. Do not cram for pharmacy exams.You will quickly forget most of what was crammed.

3. Be sure to obtain and review a board study guide so that you will know what to expect.

4. Go to a board review session. They are usually conducted by your school or a private education company. Ask your advisor for dates and times.

5. Pay particular attention to studying and reviewing pharmacy law. For many, this is the most challenging part of the boards.

6. Take practice exams.You can find them on the National Board of Pharmacy's Web site.

7. Get a good night's sleep before you take your boards. Forget an "all-night cram session." There is just too much to review and you have been preparing for the last 4 years.

8. Relax the day before the boards and do whatever you do to reduce stress—read, listen to music, exercise, or meditate...whatever works for you.

9. As you take the boards, stay focused and do not worry about missing a few questions. You do not need an "A," just a passing score.

10. Remember that the vast majority of graduates pass the boards on their first try. If you have taken your pharmacy studies seriously, you should have no problem.

Dr. Tom O'Connor is the pharmacy student clerkship coordinator at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa. He has taught clinical pharmacy and pharmacy management at 3 different schools of pharmacy and serves as the career counselor on the Pharmacy Times Web site.

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