Study Tips for Board Exams
As I chatted with some sleep technicians the other night who were concerned about studying for the board exam, I realized no one had ever taught them how to study or take a standardized test effectively. This surprised me since we have to take so many tests in this day and age. Where did the lessons in how to manage our time effectively go? I am not sure, but I thought I would share some of the best studying tips and tricks taught to me.
- Start studying by taking a sample test. This lets you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. You will be amazed what you actually know.
- Look at the test layout or blueprint to help plan your study time more effectively. If 50 percent of the test is on one or two topics than 50 percent of your study time should go into those topics. If 10 percent of the test is on a subject, you should only spend 10 percent of that time studying that topic.
- Using all the senses helps you to better retain information. If you copy black and white information such as formulas and definitions and say then aloud 10 times, you are about 80 percent likely to retain that information. I use note cards for the information so I am killing three birds with one stone; I am reading, writing, and saying out loud (not whispered in my head) the definition I need to retain.
- Buy the test's recommended study book. If it is a sleep test you should have an AASM scoring manual and the articles written by the AASM on titrations. If it respiratory therapy you should use your school textbooks and check the NBRC and AARC websites for articles on new therapies and standard procedures for delivery.
- Give yourself enough time to study. Start studying 6 months prior to the test. Try to set aside a little time each day for studying. If it is a test you can take upon graduation then you should take it as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more information you will lose. Cramming will do nothing but make you nervous and you will not retain the material you need.
- Read the answers before the question. This allows your brain to know what answers are available and let it search for the correct answer to the question.
- Always sleep well while you are studying. We all know that if you do not sleep well the information will not move from short term memory to long term memory.
Standardized testing is a way of life if you want to work in the healthcare field. Using these simple study skills will give you a better chance of passing the test the first time. Remember that the person who passes with a perfect score and the person who passes by one point will still have the same credentials. This is about testing your knowledge about your chosen field and not a way of torturing you.