Dr. Tom's Top 10 Tips: Passing the Pharmacy Boards

FEBRUARY 01, 2009

Dr. Tom O?Connor is associate professor of pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He has taught clinical pharmacy and pharmacy management at 4 different schools of pharmacy and serves as the career counselor on the Pharmacy Times Web site.

The pharmacy boards are your last hurdle to a pharmacy license. You should do several things 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. Go to a board review session. They are usually conducted by your school or a private education company. Ask your adviser for dates and times.
  4. 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.
  5. Pay particular attention to studying and reviewing pharmacy law. For many, this is the most challenging part of the boards.
  6. Obtain and review a board study guide so that you will know what to expect.
  7. Take practice exams from the National Board of Pharmacy's Web site.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Stay focused and do not worry about missing a few questions. You do not need an "A," just a passing score.

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