Thursday, May 20, 2010

NPLEX Nastalgia

As Dr. Anderson's Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) prep course wrapped up here at CCNM for the 2nd year students, I clearly remembered last summer and a small part of me wished I could do it all again. Even though some of the same material was tested in my undergraduate, after 2 months of extensively studying the basic medical sciences, last summer was the 1st time I really felt like I knew what I was taking about!

In fact, last summer's studying was the highlight of my naturopathic journey until I entered clinic this May. I was my own boss, I could build up my weaker areas and dig deep into the areas that interested me the most.

Some words for the wise. If you are writing NPLEX 1 this summer (I write NPLEX 2 after graduation in August 2011), remember that no matter which one of the accredited schools you are in, the curriculum only sets a foundation to learn from. The exams are much, much more detailed and require extensive self study. The areas of anatomy, microbiology, immunology, food metabolism and pathophysiology are foundational to naturopathic primary care doctors and are one of the things that separate the accredited schools from the unaccredited schools.

Since the NPLEX format changed in August of 2009, there has been a heavy weighting on pathophysiology. Therefore a good pathophys textbook is a necessity. As a visual learner, another one of my favorite books is, "Metabolism at a Glance" by J.G. Salway (third ed). I also took Dr. Anderson's (systems based and focused more on Nutritional Biochemistry) & Dr. Grossman's (focused more on Anatomy & Microbiology) courses and enjoyed both. However, they are intended to remind you of the breadth of information required to know and indicate areas where you need extra studying. Furthermore, keep in mind that these review courses can not teach at the depth of knowledge required to pass NPLEX 1.

Just 3 study tips:

1. If possible with your school's schedule, take at least 2 weeks off after your final exams before starting to study for NPLEX 1.
2. Slowly build up to 8 hours of studying per day and take Sundays off to rest your brain (try for a minimum of 6 weeks of studying).
3. Take the day before the exam off completely. The NPLEX is a mental marathon, and like any athlete who has peaked for a performance, you need to rest the day before.

All the best!

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