May 02, 2008
Pronto Pass - NABPLEX Study Materials
Is anyone studying for the National Boards of Pharmacy exam? I was in your shoes last year (and I scored a 117). I picked up quite a few study guides including the very expensive Pronto Pass cards. What did I think of them? Read on.
I know I haven't blogged here in a while, but while I was studying for a NABPLEX last year I was looking for honest reviews of Pronto Pass and I couldn't find any. I figured I'd give you guys who are studying a head's up this year at least.
I don't think the Pronto Pass cards are worth the small fortune it costs to buy them. APhA has a much better study guide (APhA's Complete Review Of Pharmacy) that costs much less (free with APhA membership).
What don't I like about the pronto pass cards besides the price? Well:
- A lot of the acronyms they brag about on their site are harder to memorize than the actual facts would be. I know, you think something forced would be easy to remember, but these are very ridiculous. Many are very long and don't even make sense in the context they're being used in.
- Everyone who teaches NABPLEX prep will tell you that the key is not in memorizing every tiny fact or every strength or every drug. The NABPLEX is more clinical and problem solving skills (although some odd dosage forms and Coumadin, etc are the exceptions). You need to know brand generic, but you mostly need to know that in a more clinical way. You may need to know if an ACE inhibitor is IV or the odd fact like that, however, the pronto pass cards are way too much memorization information and way too little application information. The APhA book is more like the actual NAPLEX.
- There are way too many cards and way too many topics. You'll wear yourself out, especially if you just finished rotations. I admit that didn't even look at half of them, partly because I was disenchanted. Partly because you can never memorize and apply that much information.
- The cards don't actually teach you how to apply the information, which is again the most important part. When you do you give this drug over that one? Well, I hope the boards don't ask that kind of stuff (and they do).
- You'd think the cards would be easy to carry around and keep up with. I found that sheer volume meant it was harder to keep up with them than my trusty APhA book, which literally followed me everywhere my last few rotations. I guess after carting around DiPiro, the APhA book seems less obtrusive. The thought that you carry one subject until you learn it straight through is a good idea. However, I don't think anyone has the patience to read the same 20-30 cards for an entire lunch hour. Even you do, I think "coming back" to a topic is more helpful that repeating it over and over ad nauseum. When you get bored, you need to move on or your brain glazes over. It's much easier, and for me more effective, to carry the whole book, answer a few questions on one topic, think about those for a bit and go to a new topic, only to come back to the other later. That's the way we've been trained to learn in school. I think a book instead of 100 stacks of cards makes that easier, but you results may vary.
- A lot of the cards are wrong, and it's a good thing I knew enough to know that. If I had only studied the cards, I know I would have missed at least one question (it was on HIV medications).
- I admit I never called and ran through the cards with them. I did get the audio CD. The audio CD was laughable and not at all helpful. Had those people even been to pharmacy school? Had they even stepped foot into a pharmacy? Who doesn't know what Asthma is?!
Bottom line: I guess if you learned absolutely nothing in pharmacy school, the Pronto Pass cards may be great for touching up your pharmacy skills. If you are just looking for a refresher that will prepare you for your boards, they are not only overkill but poorly designed overkill at that. They are pretty and graphic and by god there's an acronym for everything, rather it make sense or not, but really not worth the price.