NPLEX 2 Exam: Things You Need To Know

NPLEX 2. For most naturopathic students, a large obstacle to practice. The exam where pass rates are lower than they should be. Well lucky for you we’ve talked with literally 100’s of graduates over the years and have kept updated on what works best for NABNE‘s clinical science examination.


Some of these suggestions will not surprise you, but some you will not expect. So read on to find out some little known facts about NPLEX 2.

NPLEX 2 Chronically Irritating Sections

Emergency Medicine
Botanical Medicine
Other Sections

NPLEX 2 requires in-depth emergency medicine knowledge.

Without fail, there are always a handful of naturopathic medical graduates who complain about the Emergency Medicine sections on NPLEX 2. ¬†Common feedback is something along the lines of “there were no NPLEX resources that were detailed enough to address the emergency medicine questions.”


And this is particularly true because Naturopathic Doctors are not all the same across North America. They are not dealing with the same set of emergency conditions over and over again. Similarly, not all of naturopathic medicine involves IV solutions, whereas the NPLEX 2 exam can certainly ask about them. Questions like “what IV solution should be given to a burn patient?” or “which IV solution would you use for a pregnant patient?”


If you haven’t dealt with situations like this during your education, they can be understandably frustrating to see on your licensing exam!


So how can the average student prepare for difficult NPLEX 2 sections?

NPLEX 2 exam pass rates are in the 80-89% range on an annual basis. What you need to understand is that every exam sitting is different, which means individual writers will have different experiences of what sections are difficult. Aside from NPLEX emergency medicine, NPLEX botanical medicine and NPLEX diagnosis are the other common culprits.


Botanical Medicine is often focused on indication and safety, which makes it more complicated than other NPLEX topics. But NABNE can also ask (and graduates most definitely confirm this) about constituents, mechanism of action, and other extremely detailed interactions between herbs and various NPLEX drugs. So one of my ongoing recommendations for studying for this section is study hard. I know it’s difficult to hear, but it’s true. Start with the foundations, learn the indications and safety, then work your way through themes and patterns of constituents, mechanisms of action, and interactions. Keep adding information to your knowledge base every time you study for the NPLEX clinical sciences examination.


NPLEX diagnosis is a common problem for those who need to retake the exam. There is a smart way to read and write NPLEX 2 questions – usually this means reading the case questions before reading the case. This NPLEX strategy basically helps you narrow down what the NPLEX question writer is looking for – it will be 1 of 4 items, or 1 of 2 items. Just focus on what differentiates these items from each other.

Final suggestion: do NPLEX 2 practice exams until you ace them.

The NPLEX 2 exam is not one you want to be writing multiple times. To build a buffer of safety, you need to do practice exams. The NPLEX 2 practice exams will give you a glimpse into what cases and questions are like, but more importantly, they will get you in the habit of answering questions.


You can learn lots of information, but if you’re not learning the correct information or categorizing information in such a way to be able to answer NPLEX questions, that’s not going to help you. Sample questions will help memory recall of information in a way different than simply reading NPLEX materials.


One of the nice things about practice exams is that you can get answers wrong without penalty. This also helps you to remember NPLEX 2 information differently than you would have otherwise. NPLEX sample questions should be done numerous times, not just once. In fact, I encourage my students to write the NPLEX practice exams over and over, until they have a near perfect score. If you can recall all these tidbits of information, then you’ll certainly improve your chances on the actual NPLEX 2 exam.


So at the end of the day, there are some chronic NPLEX 2 areas where students complain. They are usually the areas where either they have very little practical experience (like emergency medicine) or where the degree of detail can get extremely specific (like for botanical medicine). Our suggestion is plan for this by building up your knowledge base every time you study and by doing NPLEX practice exams until you can ace them. Both of those tactics, along with STUDYING REALLY HARD and reading the case answers first, will help the majority of naturopathic students.


As always, best of luck!