NPLEX Exam (Meaning, Eligibility, Application, Study Hacks, NABNE)

Students in naturopathic programs accredited by the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) must take certain exams (NPLEX) to allow them to practice naturopathic medicine in a US state or Canadian territory that certify naturopaths.

After their graduation, two of such exams they must pass are NPLEX I & II.

What is the NPLEX Exam?

NPLEX stands for Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations.

NPLEX exams are international examinations that test the general knowledge of students in naturopathic programs in different areas such as basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects, and clinical sciences. 

Successfully passing the NPLEX exam is one of the requirements to practice as a naturopathic doctor. Moreover, NPLEX is a two-part exam.

In states that supervise the certification of naturopathic physicians, candidates are expected to write and pass the NPLEX Part I – Biomedical Science and Part II – Core Clinical Science Examination. 

Based on the location candidates prefer to practice, they will also be asked to write and pass the NPLEX Part II Clinical Elective Examinations to meet that region’s certification criterion. 

NPLEX Exam: Part I (Biomedical Science Examination):

This is a joint examination with 100 questions on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry & genetics, microbiology & immunology, and pathology.

The examination is carried out in two sections (morning and afternoon) of 2½ hours each. Students are allowed to write this exam after completing all biomedical science coursework. 

Moreover, this is usually after the second year of the program.

On the other hand, they are expected to pass this exam and graduate from an N.D. school before being granted permission to write the NPLEX Part II – Clinical Science Examinations.

NPLEX Exam: Part II (Core Clinical Science Examinations):

This is a joint, theory-based exam involving 135 questions covering topics such as treatment modalities, and medical interventions.

The exam consists of consecutive clinical summaries accompanied by several questions related to the respective patient’s case.

This exam is carried out in three sections over three days (3½ hours each day).

NPLEX Exam: Part II (Clinical Elective Examinations):

This exam consists of four parts that are required for approval/registration by certain regions. The Elective Acupuncture and Elective Minor Surgery Examinations are theory-based.

The Elective Pharmacology Examination is not theory-based. It includes both case-based and independent items. Candidates must finish the 75 questions within 90 minutes (1½ hours).

These exams are important because they assess whether the students have the overall knowledge of the full purview of naturopathic medicine.

Criteria for Eligibility:

To take the NPLEX Exams, a student must have concluded the relevant academic conditions at an Approved Naturopathic Medical Program (ANMP).

An ANMP is a program approved or pre-approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). 

To gain an Approved Naturopathic Medical Program (ANMP), the school must:

  • Offer two years of graduate-level biomedical science courses as the basis for clinical education.
  • Obtain quality conditions for relevant curriculum and clinical experience.
  • Provide students with the full knowledge of diagnostic techniques that can only be gained through straight exposure with real patients.
  • Collect regulated clinical practice on patients looking for naturopathic care.
  • Have been approved or pre-approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). 

Presently, the following naturopathic medical programs have been accredited:

  • Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, formerly Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM)
  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM)
  • University of Bridgeport – College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM)

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Application Process for NPLEX Exam:

Candidates are expected to submit their applications and make the necessary payments to either write or rewrite the NPLEX Exam using the links on the dashboard of the online profile in the application portal on the NABNE website. 

It is the candidates’ responsibility to observe the instructions needed to complete your application.

Moreover, candidates must read the current Bulletin relating to the exam(s) they are about to take before starting their application.

NB: If you need to add an Elective Examination after submitting your application, contact the State or Province; do not submit another application.

Before the application deadline, you can contact NABNE via their email address. After the application time has expired, you will not be able to add any additional exams.

Choose the NABNE test center where you want to take the exam(s). After the application deadline, they will not be allowed to choose another test venue.

Requirements for NPLEX Exam:

Candidates are to come along with their Social Security (SSN) or Social Insurance Number (SIN).

They must use the same SSN/SIN they gave on their former application to make it easy for NPLEX to link their records. 

They are also to come with a scanned image of their current government-issued means photo identification (such as driver’s license, government-issued photo I.D. card, passport photo page, or passport card).

It is important that the first and last names on the identification they upload be similar to the first and last names they submit on the application form.

On the other hand, it is not mandatory to add the full middle name on the application, and the maximum allowable file size of the image entered must not be more than 1MB. 

Also required is a scanned image of the affidavit confirming an official change of name made before the last time they applied for the NPLEX Exam(for instance, marriage license or name change order).

Payment:

The system will only accept Visa and MasterCard transactions, and payment must be completed while the application is ongoing. 

Leaving the application page without making payment will be void because it will not be possible to come back to it later as the application process will start all over.

Additional tips:

Candidates are to open an online profile and create a password for the current exam they wish to take.

They ought to keep track of their username, the email address they used, and the password they created. 

They also have to open a new online profile, creating a new password each time they want to apply for the NPLEX Exam, even though these candidates have a profile or password for an exam they have written before. 

Note: It is erroneous to create more than one profile for the same exam management. 

This will cause problems when it comes time to obtain their Registration Status or Registration Ticket.

Candidates taking this exam must use the link on their online profile dashboard to complete the exam application.

Documents to Upload on the Profile

Input every information needed on the online application page, which includes: email address (working email for the next six months). NABNE will use it to communicate vital detail.

After that, candidates must upload an image of their current government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, government-issued I.D. card, passport photo page, or passport card).

Next, upload a scanned copy of the affidavit verifying an official change of name made since the last time the application to write an NPLEX Exam was made (if need be).

After submitting the application

Candidates can now go to their emails to receive their Confirmation Receipt. Next, download the NPLEX Blueprint & Study Guide by clicking the link sent in the confirmation.

Roles and Responsibilities of NABNE

NABNE is short for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.

It is an independent, nonprofit agency created to provide certain services to the naturopathic profession and the approval/registration offices for naturopathic practitioners. 

They also function as a supervisory authority, qualifying applicants for the NPLEX Exam, conducting the exams, submitting exam results and transcripts to candidates and supervisory authorities. 

They also function to survey the profession, evaluate the skills that an entry-level N.D. ought to learn, present the skills on which candidates will be assessed, set the NPLEX Exams, determine the number of points passed, and mark the NPLEX Exam.

How to prepare for the NPLEX Exam?

When studying for the NPLEX exam(s), the proper approach is to read the NPLEX Part I and NPLEX Part II official Blueprint & Study guide.

All elements of the exam are repeated with a correct answer and three diversions. 

Although, the questions may be set in a variety of ways.

The NPLEX Part I or Part II Blueprint and Study Guides are revised yearly with information on the NPLEX Exam Administration for August and February.

Those study guides made by individuals or agencies not associated with NPLEX may help study for the exam(s).

NPLEX cannot guarantee that the information in these materials will be identical to the NPLEX exam.

Thus, be well aware that NPLEX does not print full practice exams.

The NPLEX Blueprint and Study Guide contain a limited number of examples of the types of elements one might come across in the examination.

NPLEX has advised candidates to read through the sample question to obtain the full image of the question formats.

Conclusion

NPLEX Exam is held twice a year, in February and August, and can be taken as often as the candidates choose.

All applications, including study guides, transcripts, and manual marking, must be submitted through the NABNE website.

Additionally, all fees must be paid in US dollars through NABNE’s secure online payment system.

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