It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog, mostly because I’ve been very busy finishing up my clinical year, celebrating my birthday, and graduating! It’s so exciting to finally reach this point in my four-year journey! I’m looking forward to starting practice in the fall, but first I must get licensed, which is no small feat. I bet there are a lot of people who don’t really know how a weary naturopathic graduate actually passes muster to be allowed to practice on real people, so I thought I would write a blog about it.
What is NPLEX?
NPLEX stands for Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations. NPLEX is administered by NABNE which stands for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. As you might have gathered, NPLEX examinations are the licensing exams that graduates from accredited naturopathic colleges across North America must write to be licensed. They occur each year in February and August.
There are actually two sets of NPLEX exams. NPLEX I tests biomedical sciences: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry & genetics, microbiology & immunology, and pathology. Theses exams are usually written after two years of naturopathic medical education and fill a full day.
The second set of NPLEX exams cover clinical sciences: diagnosis (physical, clinical, and lab), diagnostic imaging, botanical medicine, nutrition, physical medicine, homeopathy, counseling, behavioral medicine, health psychology, emergency medicine, medical procedures, public health, pharmacology, and research. These exams are written after passing NPLEX I and graduating from an accredited school. There are also two elective examinations: minor surgery and acupuncture and whether you take these depends on the scope of practice in your jurisdiction. These exams take three days to complete and are entirely written (multiple choice).
Ontario Board Examinations
In provinces and states that regulate naturopathic medicine, graduates must also pass local licensing exams to obtain a license for their specific jurisdiction because different provinces and states allow different scopes of practice for naturopathic doctors.
Living in Ontario, I must pass the Ontario Board exams, administrated by the BDDT-N, which stands for Board of Directors of Drugless Therapies – Naturopathy. These exams cover Ontario Jurisprudence and three practical exams in Acupuncture, Instrumentation/Physical Exam and Naturopathic Manipulation over one day.
How do you study for exams?
Preparing for these examinations is a major commitment! I did a lot of work in advance to plan out my study time and resources and am now working through a nine week study schedule using study guides, flashcards, course notes, textbooks, practice (for the practical exams), pictures, rhymes, mnemonic devices, colour coding, highlighters, group study, and so on and so forth to get myself ready. In addition to studying, it is also important to take care of my overall health and well-being through these months, so I also have plans for diet (overall lots of protein, fruits, veggies, water, and green tea), exercise (lots as stress relief and to counter all the sitting I’m doing), supplements, sleep, meditation, and fun (very important)!
Are you writing NPLEX? Check out Pass NPLEX from Dr. Chris Habib, ND for resources!