Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy’s most recent graduates earned the highest first-time pass rate in the state on the two highest-stakes tests necessary to practice pharmacy.
Nearly 85 percent of the Class of 2023 passed the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) on the first try, considerably higher than the 78.6 percent pass rate nationally. On the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE), 88.5 percent of PCSP graduates passed on the first try, compared to 74.4 percent nationally.
The NAPLEX is a comprehensive standard exam created by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to help individual state boards of pharmacy assess each individual’s competency and knowledge so they may earn a license to practice. The MPJE tests understanding of specific laws and regulations for each participating state. Successful exam passage ensures that each licensed pharmacist meets at least the minimum competency standards in each state.
“These results speak to the quality of our students, faculty, staff, and a program that has long been established as a premier pharmacy school in South Carolina and nationally,” said PCSP dean Dr. Giuseppe Gumina. “I am thankful for all their hard work and dedication and proud of this major accomplishment.”
Gumina indicated there are no tricks or shortcuts for schools and their students to pass these high-stakes tests on the first try. However, dedicated staff and faculty armed with a rigorous curriculum and small class sizes that allow students to receive a lot of individual attention help a great deal.
“We simply support students more,” he said. “We follow our students closely, and the fact that we have small classes means we can really get to know them individually and support them more effectively.”
PCSP students are required to complete NAPLEX preparatory modules throughout their fourth year, so their knowledge remains at the forefront of their minds during their rotation year.
“One of the most effective things we’ve been doing for years is requiring them to take these learning modules on all topics to pass their fourth-year requirements,” Gumina said, “which is different than what most other schools were doing, where they were just giving their students access to the prep material.”
So, in addition to their fourth-year rotations, PCSP students are challenged to hone their knowledge and testing skills continuously.
“We’ve been doing this before most other schools, and it’s paying off,” Gumina said.
Students are not the only ones continuously challenging themselves, however.
“We have a great faculty,” he said. “We are always trying to improve the quality of the education we provide. Our curriculum is very strong and dynamic, and we improve it all the time. We tweak, revamp, adjust things, and we continuously improve. Everyone owns the curriculum and the entire program, and everyone is highly invested in them.”