How to NPLEX I

          NPLEX. The word alone strikes anxiety and fear into anyone who hears it (and knows what it’s about). There are a lot of talks and resources that you can use to help you prepare for these exams. I’ll be sharing what I used for NPLEX 1, but if you have questions about NPLEX 2, another another article by Kristen Harpell is also available on The Vine blog. These are the materials I found helpful – knowing what kind of learner I am. If you like to use imagery, word association, and the Major System (it’s a memory technique you can use to remember numbers) – then these resources will be very helpful for you.


  • USMLE. There’s a lot more material in that book than you need, but I preferred that rather than not learning something I needed. That being said, I didn’t finish reading the book before NPLEX 1. I did go over the biochemistry portion completely, and that is a very important section.

  • Dr. T’s Anatomy notes worked for anatomy since there aren't too many anatomy questions on the exam.  

  • Anderson’s notes are helpful since they are summaries of the topics you need to know, but it is very scattered. Organizing his thoughts onto my own notes helped solidify topics.

  • ND Online Learning Center ( is a very useful tool to do practice questions on. It allows you to quiz yourself on individual or multiple subjects (eg. Biochem on it’s own, or biochem + anatomy + immunology).  I found this extremely helpful for NPLEX 1, but useless for NPLEX 2.

  • is a great website complete with a visual and story to help you remember bacteria, viruses, and parasites – which is perfect for NPLEX 1, and they also have pharmaceuticals for NPLEX 2 (though they go over extra drugs that aren’t on the blueprint)


      Regardless of which exam you are taking, remember, you are #1. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will burn out quickly. Studying for these exams is a marathon, and you can’t do it if you neglect yourself. So do whatever it is you need to do to be healthy and happy. Go to the gym, eat well, take your adaptogens, sing, dance, hang out with friends.  


        Doing these exams can be a lot of pressure – on yourself. It is ok if you don’t pass the exam. Everyone gets through it. I know several people who wrote these exams and failed – myself included – and that shouldn’t make you feel like you are lesser. It just means you need to modify your strategies for studying, comprehension, and examination.  NPLEX is a set of exams that test you on strange things, random things that don’t focus on your strengths or the topics you excel at. They test of a variety of information because we learn about a variety of topics. We learn what MDs need to learn PLUS all the things that make us NDs. Not everyone is good at every modality we are taught, we all have our strengths, and in practice we use those strengths to help patients. However, for now, this is a hoop we all must jump through, but afterwards, it allows us to finally do what we’ve strived to do – practice as Naturopathic Doctors.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me:





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