The Ultimate NAPLEX Study Guide Review

Like any other licensing exam out there, the NAPLEX can be a little scary, especially if you're not a good test taker.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Pharmacy Times. The review herein is the author's opinion and not official rankings.

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is a challenge that pharmacy students must face on their journey to become a pharmacist. Like any other licensing exam out there, the NAPLEX can be a little scary, especially if you’re not a good test taker.

The good news is you can overcome the scare factor with careful preparation. With that, you may wonder which study guide offers the best NAPLEX review. Are the more expensive study guides really worth it, or will a free or inexpensive option suffice?

To help you select the best NAPLEX review guide, I’ve rated 23 NAPLEX resources based on information derived from websites and user reviews. Each study guide is rated on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) and listed in order of rank.

RxPrep Course Book: A Comprehensive Course for the NAPLEX and Clinical Content for the CPJE (2016 Edition)

Rating: 4.5

Price: $168 (if you purchase directly from RxPrep; may be available cheaper or used on other websites)

Summary: The RxPrep Course Book was developed as an in-depth companion to the RxPrep Online Review Course. The text matches the updated NAPLEX competency statements and is complete for all topics tested. The book can be purchased separately or as part of the online package.

Features

● Updated essential background sections (Exam Overview, Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding, Drug Interactions, Patient Charts, Assessment and Healthcare Provider Communication, Drug Mechanisms, Classes and Structures)

● Expanded calculations section with case-based (exam-style) formats, and answers explained step-by-step

● Includes exam-style practice cases for many of the major topics

Pros

● Covers most therapeutic areas and topics such as cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis

● A good overview without too much detail

● Charts and practice questions are helpful

● More affordable than the complete RxPrep Online Review Course

Cons

● Multiple authors and inconsistent writing style

● Expensive for a textbook

Kaplan NAPLEX 2016 Strategies, Practice, and Review with 2 Practice Tests: Online + Book

Rating: 4.5

Price: $45.05 (pre-order)

Summary: This step-by-step guide provides Kaplan's test-taking strategies with review and guidance.

Features

● Two full-length practice tests (1 in the book and 1 online)

● More than 200 comprehensive tables summarizing must-know drugs at a glance

● 27 end-of-chapter practice question sets, including more than 35 calculation problems

● Detailed answer explanations

● Test-taking and study strategies

Pros

● Affordable

● Offers online component and test-taking strategies

● Helpful answer explanations

Cons

● Not as well-written as RxPrep book, according to online reviews

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Comprehensive Pharmacy Review for NAPLEX (8th edition)

Rating: 4

Price: $43.99 (eTextbook); $19.93-$64.42 (used or new paperback)

Summary: This book provides a knowledge base necessary for pharmacy students, instructors, foreign graduates, and professionals to excel in their practices and be fully equipped to tackle the NAPLEX competency test.

Features

● Updated to conform with USP 797 regulations

● Expanded coverage of practice areas including pain management, hepatic disorders, migraine, women’s health, prescription dermatologic agents, geriatrics, and pediatrics

● More than 60 print and online chapters presented in outline form

● Practice questions

● Guidelines and tips for taking the NAPLEX, along with the NAPLEX blueprint

Pros

● Highly rated on Amazon

● Useful tool during pharmacy practice

● Concise and clearly written

● Inexpensive

Cons

● Some chapters only available online

McGraw-Hill NAPLEX Review Guide

Rating: 4

Price: $37.95-$80 (used or new paperback)

Summary: NAPLEX study material and 2 practice exams in 1 student-reviewed package.

Features

● Organized around the NABP competencies and designed to sharpen problem-solving skills, put must-know information at your fingertips, and improve exam-taking ability

● Includes more than 1400 case application questions, each with a detailed explanation of both correct and incorrect answer choices

● CD-ROM with 2 complete practice tests, each with 185 questions

Pros

● Lists takeaway points at the end of every chapter that summarize key concepts

● Includes practice questions with answer explanations

● Inexpensive

● Highly rated on Amazon

Cons

● CD-ROM seems outdated

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

NAPLEX Easy by McGraw-Hill

Rating: 4

Price: $249 for 6 months, $189 for 3 months, $149 for 2 months, $99 for 1 month, or $59 for 2 weeks

Summary: NAPLEX Easy includes 1000 questions and powerful personalized prep features.

Features

● Practice tests

● Adaptive preparation

● Personalized dashboard

● Study plan

● Skill report

● Personalized reporting

Pros

● Customizable features

● Portable and compatible with most devices

● Free trial available

● Helps you develop a study plan

● Affordable

Cons

● Fewer questions than some other NAPLEX resources

PharmacyExam NAPLEX Review Products

Rating: 4

Price: Pricing varies depending on selected product or combination of products

Summary: PharmacyExam offers a range of NAPLEX review products, including books, audio CDs, practice tests, review posters, and flash cards. Combo packs are also available, and students can select individual materials to build a customized combo pack.

Features

● CD and downloadable options available

● Combo packs provide discounted pricing

Pros

● Wide range of price points and product combinations

● Different delivery methods of content appeal to all types of learners

● Downloadable products compatible on most devices

● Free upgrades for a year

● Can work at your own pace

● Portable

Cons

● Some combo packs include 2014-2015 study guides

● Downloaded products expire 1 year from purchase date

RxPrep NAPLEX Online 2016

Rating: 4

Price: $788 for 6-month subscription; $988 for 12-month subscription

Summary: These online lectures provide NAPLEX review material at your own pace. More than 70 hours of instruction are included and you can access each as often as needed. A test bank is also included.

Features

● 6- or 12-month subscription to the course library (77 topics) through your personal dashboard

● 2016 RxPrep Course Book: A comprehensive study guide and in-depth companion to the video lectures

● Access to the more than 3500-question Test Bank

● Additional anytime access via mobile app on your iOS or Android device

Pros

● Covers most therapeutic areas and topics such as cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis

● A good overview without too much detail

● Portable and can be used on most any device

● Access to lectures and online practice questions

Cons

● Expensive

● Online reviewers say the complete package isn’t necessary; just buy the book

● Only 6- and 12-month options available

Kaplan NAPLEX Live Online Review

Rating: 3

Price: $799

Summary: Live Online NAPLEX Anywhere Review provides live prep in 5 evenings within Kaplan's interactive online classroom.

Features

● Live instruction from Kaplan’s pharmacy faculty

● Course content that targets the NAPLEX blueprint in 23 hours

● Page references to Kaplan's NAPLEX Review Book, which includes 550 pages of high-yield content and 2 full practice exams

● Access to online classroom from anywhere

● Recordings of live sessions are available within 24 hours and can be viewed as often as you like for 10 days

● All questions are answered by live faculty

● 4.5 hours/day schedule

Pros

● No expensive travel

● Condensed review

● Access to live faculty

● Can access from anywhere

● Review book and practice tests included

Cons

● May not be suitable for those who can’t accommodate 4.5 hours/day

● Cannot work at your own pace

● Recordings only available for 10 days

High-Yield MED Reviews NAPLEX Live Review Courses

Rating: 3.5

Price: $99-$349, depending on time of registration, product selected, and number of times registered

Summary: This is a NAPLEX review course of essential information that you are likely to see on the NAPLEX and within clinical practice.

Features

● 100% money-back guarantee that you will pass the NAPLEX

● 2-day access to onsite comprehensive NAPLEX review course

● Access to supplemental online lectures after the live course

● 10-months access to 1800 NAPLEX practice test questions

● Your own copy of review course notebook

● Donation given to your sponsoring institutions or organizations (most groups receive $500 to $2000)

Pros

● Live review course

● Affordable compared with other live review courses

● Online and book component

● Question bank access

Cons

● Must be available for live review course

● Travel may be required

● Questionable money-back guarantee policy (you must complete all practice test questions and flashcards to qualify)

High-Yield MED Reviews Online NAPLEX Review Course

Rating: 3

Price: $99-$349, depending on time of registration, product selected and number of times registered

Summary: This is another NAPLEX review course of essential information that you are likely to see on the NAPLEX and within clinical practice.

Features

● Access to online lectures

● 10-months access to 1800 NAPLEX practice test questions

● Your own copy of review course notebook

Pros

● Online review course

● Online and book component

● Question bank access

● Flexibility to go at your own pace

Cons

● Each lecture only available for a 24-hour time period

Board Vitals NAPLEX Question Bank and Practice Test

Rating: 3

Price: $59 for 1 month, $99 for 3 months, or $149 for 6 months

Summary: BoardVitals offers more than 1100 review questions and explanations for the NAPLEX Exam. Questions are written to be challenging and cover material specific to the NAPLEX. The resource covers multiple formats such as calculations, fill-in-the-blank questions, and general multiple choice.

Features

● Every question is categorized and includes an answer and explanation

● BoardVitals offers adaptive learning

● More than 600 high-yield questions from ChaseNaplex

● 400 additional questions with detailed explanations to cover additional topics in-depth

Pros

● Free trial available

● Can work at your own pace

● 100% test pass guarantee

● Portable and can be used on mobile phone or tablet

● Ability to flag questions to return to them later

● Tiered subscription plan

Cons

● Not as many questions as other resources

● A little pricey if you pay by month

PharmSuccess.com NAPLEX Practice Pack

Rating: 3

Price: $79.99 plus shipping for CD; $59.99 for 30-day online access

Summary: Package includes NAPLEX Practice Test, PharmSuccess Top Drugs, and Pharmacy Calculations.

Features

● The timed NAPLEX Practice Test provides an estimated scaled percentile score upon completion of the test

● Top Drugs includes more than 150 drugs with brand name, generic name, principal class/mechanism, and major indications in table format

● Pharmacy Calculations includes 120 computer-based questions with 5 answer options

Pros

● Can work at your own pace

● Online version available

● Affordable

● Live exam simulation

Cons

● CD option seems dated

● Online access limited to 30 days

Exam Master Advantage Pharmacy (NAPLEX) Board Prep

Rating: 3

Price: Online option: $350 for 12 months, $293 for months, $203 for 3 months, $116 for 1 month, or $69 for 2 weeks; individual test option: $49.99

Summary: Exam Master’s Practice Exam gives users the experience of taking the actual NAPLEX. It contains 185 questions, including patient profiles, and topics are presented and tested in questions based on the percentages provided in the NAPLEX blueprint.

Features

● Includes Test, Study, and Learning modes

● Summary and detailed score reports

Pros

● Professionally edited

● Enhanced online version with additional questions available

● Free sample exam available

● Personalized score report

● Questions include explanations

● Ability to generate flash cards

● Range of purchase/pricing options

Cons

● Enhanced online option is pricey

● May not be the most up-to-date resource available

The APhA Complete Review for Pharmacy

Rating: 3

Price: $50.55 (Kindle); $21.28-$53.21 (used or new paperback)

Summary: This book offers a summary of NAPLEX content in an abbreviated bullet format.

Features

● All 42 chapters and more than 900 review questions have been reviewed and revised by the authors and editorial team to provide up-to-date information and concepts

● The tables that list medications now indicate the top 100 drugs in boldface to alert the reader to medicines with frequent use

● Key points of a chapter's concepts has been moved from the back of the chapter to the very front and is followed by a new feature, the Study Guide Checklist, intended to help readers assess their readiness for the NAPLEX

● Contains more than 900 practice exam questions and answers, plus explanations that reinforce key learning points

● Includes expert advice on studying for and taking the NAPLEX and MPJE

Pros

● Professionally edited

● Offers key points section to summarize chapter

● Practice questions included

● Inexpensive

Cons

● Online reviews are lackluster

● Not as easy to read as other materials

120 Calculations Review for NAPLEX

Rating: 2

Price: Free

Summary: A collection of calculation problems from 2006

Features

● Downloadable review of 120 calculations

● Problems from 2006

Pros

● It’s free

● Easy to access and download

● Can work at your own pace

Cons

● It’s old

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

McGraw-Hill's 2016/2017 Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards

Rating: 2

Price: $48 (Kindle); $49.35-$54.99 (paperback)

Summary: Information about the top 300 drugs presented in flash card format.

Features

● Each card includes a drug’s generic and common name, class, dosage forms, approved dose and indications, off-label use, contraindications, adverse reactions, drug interactions, monitoring parameters, medication safety issues and black box warnings, clinical pearls that help guide patient care, and focus on patient safety

● Latest edition includes 11 new cards with key adult and pediatric immunization vaccines

● MP3 audio download with detailed discussion of each drug

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Portable

● Can work at your own pace

Cons

● Promises “detailed” MP3 discussions, but only contains MP3 questions and answers

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

2015/2016 Top 100 Nonprescription Drug Cards

Rating: 2

Price: $37.50 (Kindle); $35-45 (paperback)

Summary: Learn essential information about the 100 most popular OTC medications and herbal supplements commonly sold in US pharmacies.

Features:

● Each full-color card includes an illustration, clinical pearls, and tables and text detailing dosage forms, common self-care indications and dosing, drug characteristics, safety issues, interactions, adverse reactions, triage criteria, self-care monitoring parameters, and key patient counseling points

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Portable

● Can work at your own pace

Cons

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

Pharmacy Charts - NAPLEX, CPJE

Rating: 1

Price: $154.51

Summary: The 2016 Edition Pharmacy Charts organizes vital drug information from various sources, including FDA-approved package inserts, into charts.

Features

● 245-page color-coded book

● Includes pocket OTC charts

● 7-day money-back guarantee

Pros

● Well-organized charts

● Good study resource if you don’t have notes

Cons

● All information can be found in notes from pharmacotherapeutics

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

● Expensive

NAPLEX Flashcard Study System: NAPLEX Test Practice Questions & Exam Review for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination

Rating: 1

Price: $35.14 (also available online)

Summary: Flash cards cover each section of the NAPLEX.

Features

● Flash cards cover each exam section

● Provides small, easily digestible bits of information

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Portable

● Can work at your own pace

● 1-year money-back guarantee

Cons

● Promises “in-depth” review, which is doubtful with flash cards

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

● Repetitive

NAPLEX Secrets Study Guide: NAPLEX Test Review

Rating: 1

Price: $97.86 (Kindle); $85.79-$97.86 (paperback)

Summary: This book provides a comprehensive guide to the NAPLEX, as well as practice test questions and detailed explanations for each answer.

Features

● Breakdown of ensuring safe and effective pharmacotherapy

● Review of ensuring safe and accurate preparation

● Analysis of promoting health care information

● Comprehensive practice questions with detailed answer explanations

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Can work at your own pace

Cons

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

● Lacks sufficient detail

● Too focused on test-taking tips

● Could benefit from more practice questions

Pharmacy NAPLEX: Specialty Review and Self-Assessment (StatPearls Review Series)

Rating: 1

Price: $9.95 (Kindle)

Summary: This text contains multiple-choice questions with explanations that are linked to additional online references.

Features

● 2000 questions with explanations

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Can work at your own pace

● Portable

Cons

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

NAPLEX Certification Review (Certification for Pharmacists Book 1)

Rating: 1

Price: $39.95 (Kindle)

Summary: This resource contains 2000 multiple choice questions.

Features

● Provides key information to pass the board and certification exam

● All questions have explanations with keywords linked to additional online references

● Correct answer is on the next page after the question with explanations and links to further research the key point(s) covered in each question.

Pros

● Inexpensive

● Can work at your own pace

● Portable

Cons

● Not sufficient as standalone NAPLEX prep resource

ProntoPass Solutions

Rating: 1

Price: $2350 for live program; online resources range from $6-$89; materials from $100-$399

Summary: Uses memory techniques including visual learning, auditory learning, repetition, and self-testing.

Features

● Live training available

● Online resources available

● Posters and flashcards available

Pros

● Discount packages available

Cons

● Extremely gimmicky, infomercial-style website

● Live training requires travel to Ohio and time commitment

● Little information on actual benefits of product available online

● Live training promotion mentions sitting at someone’s kitchen table, which is sketchy

So, there you have it—but it’s not just what I think that matters. The most important thing is finding the resources (or combination of resources) that work best for you, fit into your preparation plan, and meet your educational needs.

Happy studying!