Pharmacy students excel at practice license test for 15th time


South Dakota State University pharmacy students are among the best in the nation when it comes to taking a key national test required for them to get a license to practice.

 SDSU was one of two schools in the nation to have 100 percent of their students pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) in 2015, according to recently released results. The other school with a flawless pass rate was the University of Pittsburgh.

Other pharmacy schools in the region generally scored between 90 and 95 percent. North Dakota State University had a pass rate of 95.18 percent, University of Minnesota had 94.22 percent and the University of Iowa had 94.55 percent.

 The 2015 test results mark the 15th time SDSU students have scored a 100 percent pass rate on the NAPLEX.

 Pharmacy students have been taking the test since 1998. In that time, 1,041 SDSU students have taken the test — 1,035 have passed.

The exam is administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Students must score at least 75 percent to pass.

“The test is comprised of 185 questions,” said Dennis Hedge, dean of the School of Pharmacy and recently named interim provost. “It takes roughly four hours to complete.”

Stephanie Peterson is a pharmacist at Brother’s Pharmacy. She took the NAPLEX four years ago. 

“It was really tough, but I feel the university did a good job preparing us for it,” she said. “The practice exams helped a lot.”

According to the current statistics, SDSU ranks at the top of the nation for pharmacy schools out of 132 schools.

The success of SDSU’s pharmacy students lies here on campus.

“We have an excellent applicant pool of students in our program that come in with great backgrounds,” Jane Mort said, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy. “We also have an extremely dedicated faculty.”