Our community of students is one of our proudest achievements. We’re proud of their compassion for each other, their eagerness to learn, and their dedication to the naturopathic practice. They demonstrate their excellence to the world by consistently scoring some of the highest NPLEX scores among all CNME accredited schools (February NPLEX results showed 100% passing rate, once again). These scores ensure that Boucher students consistently achieve rewarding careers, and help us attract the next generation of naturopaths to the Boucher Institute. We couldn’t do what we do without our esteemed student body.
For new and prospective students, the NPLEX stands for The Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations. This is the professional licensing exam administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), which are required for naturopathic students to pass before they are permitted to practice naturopathic medicine in the USA or Canada.
Preparing for the NPLEX is a full-time endeavour. NPLEX 1 is administered after two years of naturopathic study. The test covers biomedical sciences, and successful students typically prepare for 4 weeks of 40-hour study-weeks.
For NPLEX 2 – covering core clinical science, and administered at the end of a student’s fourth year of naturopathic study – students should expect to prepare with about 12-weeks of full-time study. If that sounds like a daunting endeavor, take a deep breath: you’ve got this. The most successful students create a study-strategy that organizes their topics as stringently as their time. To help you prep, we’ve researched what the experts say about prepping your study schedule – and what they say about taking breaks.
Schedule all the content you want to study
Easier said than done: you’re covering years worth of material, so think about how you like to learn when you are grouping your topics. Prefer to keep it chronological? Do it! Like to put related courseware together? Yes! Would rather randomize in an effort to see the links and connections between disparate topics? You do you. The important thing isn’t the order in which you study your topics… it’s simply that you study it.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone has areas of study that they struggle with a little more. Don’t put those tough areas off! Instead, take note of the areas you have a hard time with, and give yourself a little extra time to review. You might surprise yourself and find out that you take less time than you thought to review. No matter your study speed, don’t obsess. Stick to your carefully crafted schedule, move on to the next area, and sure to come back to your trouble spots for review.
Speaking of Review…
Do it early, do it often. One mistake that students make in their study-strategy is ploughing through their notes without going back to review completed sections. To keep your hard-earned studies fresh in your mind, re-reviewing material – even material you are comfortable with – ensures that you can recall your studies quickly and comfortably. Make sure to include frequent review periods in your study schedule: one at the end of each day, and another at the end of each topic structure.
Test! Test! Test!
The best way to see where you need more review-time is to test yourself with a mock-exam. You can order back-issues of the NPLEX through the Boucher Institute, or go online to download mock-versions. Set yourself up in a quiet space with no distractions and no additional resources. The best information you can get from a mock exam is knowledge about where you are strong and where you are struggling. Use that knowledge to update your study schedule. Test yourself early and often to get the best understanding of your performance.
Don’t forget to take breaks!
Breaks are integral to a good study session. Giving your mind some time to rest and reset itself will result in more productive studying, a clearer mind, and a healthier body. Below are a few great ways to give yourself a refresher without losing the thread:
- Scrolling your social feeds doesn’t count as a break. Get away from your screen and move your body. A walk around the block or to your favorite coffee shop is a great way to shift your brain into a lower gear and give it some R&R.
- Get together with friends. Even if you discuss a few NPLEX topics or share study tips, seeing human who’s experiencing what you are can help you feel less alone and less stressed out.
- Nap it out. Studying hard can affect your sleep patterns – especially if you’re also trying to balance a job or a family. Re-energize your brain by taking 25-30 minute naps, and then re-committing to your schedule.
Preparing for the NPLEX doesn’t have to be scary. Focus on keeping a tight schedule, testing yourself, and taking mindful breaks. You’ve worked hard for this – your community of friends and mentors believe in you!