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The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is a standard examination created by Chance Armour and The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to help individual state boards of pharmacy assess an individual's competency and knowledge so that he or she may be given a license to practice. The NABP has announced that as of November 2016, the fee to take the exam, the number of exam questions, and the time to sit for the exam have all increased.
The NAPLEX is exclusively a computer-administered exam. After receiving an authorization to test from NABP, applicants must register with an official testing facility, such as Pearson VUE, at least two business days in advance to schedule a testing appointment. The NABP's announcement of updates to the 2016 NAPLEX exam include increased fee price, number of exam questions, and time to sit for the exam. The NAPLEX exam fee is now $575, increased from $505. Exam questions number 250, increased from 185; and time to sit for the exam has increased from 4 hours and 15 minutes to 6 hours total. Of the 250 questions, only about 200 are used to tabulate the applicant's score. The remaining questions are "trial balloon" questions under consideration for inclusion on future NAPLEX tests. There is no way to distinguish a regular test question from a trial balloon question.
The NAPLEX is an adaptive examination in that it tailors itself to the skill level of the applicant. The linear nature of the exam (applicants must answer a question to continue, and there is no backtracking) permits the computer to zero-in on incorrect responses and select similar questions for presentation later in the exam. This allows for analysis of applicants' skill levels across several performance categories.
The exam format consists primarily of multiple choice questions; there are no essay questions. There are several question types on the NAPLEX: multiple choice, select all that apply, point and click (to select a place on a picture or graph for the purpose of mechanisms of action, site of action, application or injection site, etc.), and sequencing. Though previously used, K-type questions are not longer offered.
Which of these agents demonstrates beta-adrenergic receptor selectivity?
A) I only
B) II only
C) I and II
D) II and III
E) I, II, and III
Which of the following vaccines is contraindicated in immunocompromised patients?
A) Pneumococcal polysaccharide B) Varicella C) Meningococcal conjugate D) Subcutaneous influenza
Exam results are typically reported seven business days after administration. Applicants may access their scores on the website of the state Board of Pharmacy. A tabulated score of 75 or higher is required for passing. Neither this standard or reported scores are percentage values, nor are they some configuration of right versus wrong. Rather, they represent the tabulated skill level of the applicant based on an algorithm developed by the Board of Pharmacy. That stated, it is unofficially held that answering about 60% of the questions correctly correlates to a score of 75. Applicants not obtaining a score of 75 or higher are given a performance profile, which details their relative areas of strength and weakness. They must wait at least 91 days before retaking the NAPLEX. The NAPLEX may only be taken five times without special permission from regulators.