naplex passing score

What Is The NAPLEX Passing Score?

Before setting foot on the preparation for the NAPLEX exam, you definitely need to know the NAPLEX passing score to set up a plan and goal for your preparation.

Updated at November 16, 2022

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is created to assess general practice knowledge and is completed by the current college pharmacy graduates soon after receiving their degree.

If you are among current pharmacy students, knowing your NAPLEX passing score is essential so that you may set a plan and goal for yourself before you begin studying hard for the exam.

On this website, we offer thousands of free NAPLEX practice test questions to help you thoroughly prepare for this exam!

naplex passing score

About the NAPLEX

The NAPLEX is a 250-question, multiple-choice, computerized test that is used to assess applicants’ knowledge, judgment, and ability levels in order to decide if they are qualified to practice pharmacy at the entry-level.

Managing drug therapy, properly and safely preparing and administering pharmaceuticals, delivering drug information and advancing public health are the three core competencies tested on the exam.

Many NAPLEX questions, or so-called “scenario” questions, make reference to particular patient characteristics. These inquiries call for both a foundational understanding of pharmacy as well as the capacity to decipher patient data. The majority of the remaining questions are typical “stand-alone” multiple-choice questions, where a question is posed and response options are provided but no patient profiles are provided.

The NAPLEX adheres to the one-best-answer concept, according to which several response options may be reasonable but only one is the best. Both single-answer, as well as combined-response questions, will be given to you.

You must select the best response in single-answer questions in order to finish a statement or respond to a question. You can select from a variety of combinations of answer components when answering questions with a combined response.

What can you expect on the test day?

On a computer, you will have around 6 hours to answer 250 questions. There are two ten-minute planned breaks that are optional. The student’s score will not be impacted by the pretest questions, which make up fifty of the exam’s questions.

Students should treat every question as though it scores because there is no way to tell which ones are pretest questions.

As a result, all questions on the NAPLEX must be answered sequentially. Once they’ve submitted their response to a question, test takers cannot go back to it.

How is the NAPLEX scored? NAPLEX passing score

Your NAPLEX score is scaled, so it is not based on the percentage or number of questions you got right; rather, it is an independent value based on factors like how many of the questions you got right and how tough they were. A passing grade is one with a scaled score of 75 or higher.

A minimum quantity of questions must no longer be answered in order to obtain a score. Questions left unanswered receive a failing grade. If you have to guess, you should still respond to every question.

NAPLEX Content-Area Scores

On the NAPLEX, all exam questions correspond to two main topic areas:

  • Area 1: Ensure Safe and Effective Pharmacotherapy and Health Outcomes.
  • Area 2: Safe and Accurate Preparation, Compounding, Dispensing, and Administration of Medications and Provision of Health Care Products.

Both of the two content categories receive scores. Theta scores are calculated for each topic area based on performance on all exam questions within that area. Theta scores for each topic area are then converted to scaled scores for reporting reasons.

The range of NAPLEX content area scaled scores is 6 to 18, with 6 representing the lowest possible score in either area and 18 representing the greatest. Candidates who fail the NAPLEX receive information on their content area scores.

The score report for these candidates includes the table below.

NoTopic% of Questions  
1Applied Science, including Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Pathology/Injury, and Pharmacology0.25
2Massage Modalities, Techniques, and Manual Force0.2
4Professional Communication0.15
5Laws and Business Practices0.1
6Professionalism and Ethics0.05

For instance, this table shows that, among all applicants who narrowly passed the NAPLEX, both Area 1 and Area 2 scaled scores averaged 12 points (those with an overall score between 75 and 99). Although a candidate’s results in each area may not always be comparable, the average content area scaled scores between Area 1 and Area 2 are relatively close.

Indicators of relative strength or weakness are differences between a candidate’s subject area scores. For instance, a candidate who failed the NAPLEX may have had an Area 1 score of 9 (the typical Area 1 score for applicants who received a low total exam score) and an Area 2 score of 13 on the exam (the average Area 2 score for candidates who passed the exam with a high overall score). According to this exam result, the candidate should concentrate their study efforts on material from Area 1.

How to interpret your NAPLEX score?

Find your numerical score and look through any diagnostic reports that were provided when you took the NAPLEX to understand your results. Your score will be determined using a zero to 150 scale developed and implemented by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), the organization that creates and oversees the NAPLEX.

To pass, you must receive a score of at least 75; if you receive a score below that, you will receive a diagnostic report outlining how well you did in the test’s key competence categories. You failed the exam if you received a score of zero on the NAPLEX.

Your NAPLEX results’ numerical score does not reflect the quantity or percentage of questions you properly answered. The minimal passing score of 75 does not necessarily equate to having successfully answered 50% of the exam items because your score is scaled between 0 and 150 instead.

The NABP does not disclose the unique methods that are used to calculate your score, much like other organizations that provide standardized tests and admission examinations. However, it is noted that your score indicates both your degree of talent and how it compares to the pass-level minimum.

Results from the NAPLEX might also show whether or not you finished the exam. The test has 185 items, and if you only answer at least 162 of them, your score may be lower than you anticipate since there is a penalty depending on how many of the 185 questions you did not answer. You must repeat the exam if you answered less than 162 answers; otherwise, your NAPLEX results won’t show a score.

If you receive a diagnostic report along with your NAPLEX results, it means you scored lower than the needed 75, which is considered a failing score. Although the NABP forbids additional examination of exam questions, a diagnostic report reveals your relative performance in the key skill categories measured by the NAPLEX. As you are ready to repeat the NAPLEX, this knowledge can help you study more productively.

The Bottom Line

One of the many difficult requirements to become a licensed pharmacist is passing the NAPLEX exam. Boards of pharmacy utilize your NAPLEX scores to assess your suitability for licensing and entry-level pharmacy employment. It assesses your understanding of the pharmaceutical industry.

You usually have seven business days following your exam date to examine your results on the NABP website or get them from the state board where you’re applying for licensure. Your chosen state boards of pharmacy will also get your results.

With the piece of information above, we hope you get all clear about NAPLEX passing score and start preparing for the upcoming exam.