The NCS Examination
Last weekend I took the NCS test. I hope I never have to take that test again. I've been preparing for nearly two years to take that test. As soon as I finished reading the first question I felt completely unprepared. Having taken the GCS examination last year, I thought I had an idea of what I was in for. I was wrong.
When I took the GCS I was pretty comfortable with my answers. There were a few I wasn't sure about but overall I felt I had adequately answered the questions. Not so with this one. Each question required thought. Some required motion. I moved my legs through the gait cycle several times while sitting in my chair. There were also a few upper-body questions that I physically had to work out. I half-expected one of the proctors to come by and tell me to sit still.
I can't say much about the test or the questions themselves. I can say I felt a sense of relief when I answered the last one. I couldn't decide if I was happier that it was over or sorry I hadn't prepared differently. I thought I knew my stuff going in there. I felt humbled coming out. I'm not saying the test was unfair or wasn't as described. I'm proud to say there were only five questions where I had no clue what the answer was.
I think I can safely say I didn't find the study guide particularly helpful. The one for the GCS helped me develop a plan. This one was more of a checklist of things I would be expected to know. Some practice questions would have been very helpful.
I won't find out the results until mid-June. Some committees will meet between now and then to review the test for flawed items and calculate the passing score. I'm not sure I want to know. I don't think I'd be able to open the envelope for a few days if it came in the next month or so. Maybe that's the real reason the results are delayed. They give us a chance to get past the test so we're not afraid to read our results.
I learned a lot by studying for the thing. I find myself using that knowledge regularly. I think much more about brain anatomy and descending pathways. I'm much more analytical about what I expect during an evaluation. I made numerous learning leaps in the process of preparing. Having taken it, I don't think I prepared properly but I'm proud of what I learned.