So, dear readership, when is the last time you took a test? Oh I know it; I’m laughing, too. Hold up, didn’t I finish up taking exams when I finished college (Go Vandals!)?! Not in the Healthcare IT industry! We’ve got Masters and PhDs, MDs, RNs, CPHIMSS, MS, PMP, CPC, RHIA, AHIMA, certificates, etc, etc, etc. Whoa. That’s a lot of letters to cram on your business card. Looks cool, but doesn’t come easy.
I think the last time I took a test was in 2008 or ’09 when I was getting a certificate in employment law and practices; and before that, college exams. However, I am thinking about heading back to graduate school in the next two or three years which means taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as well as loads of tests in the first years of the program.
I also work with several consultants currently pursuing Epic module and PMP certifications all of which require passing exams. A few of them just took their first tests and were rather nervous about the whole ordeal of taking a test for the first time since . . . [fill in the blank]. So, here are a few tips for studying, handling test anxiety and getting through it.
Flashcards – This is a tip compliment of yours truly. The best study method I’ve ever used is flashcards. First, just making them is going to be helpful because you’ll be re-enforcing the concepts through the physical act of writing them down. TYPING DOES NOT COUNT!! (I’m blog yelling here – blelling?) Yes, typing them out would be faster; however won’t provide the neurological connection between hand and brain through writing. Just the simple act of writing important concepts in order to make your flashcards will create memory of your test material. Flashcards tend to be ultimately convenient for the bus ride, airport, lunch hour and the like. It’s amazing what a few moments of studying in the nooks and crannies of your day will do for you.
10 Study Tips – Here is an online list of other study tips. A couple worth mentioning are Don’t Procrastinate and Start with the Most Difficult Subject First. Both of these are the complete opposite of what I have done in the past. Waiting until the last minute to study and avoiding the more difficult topics for whatever reason, avoidance or otherwise is a classic move. Not what we want here. Tackle those subjects and don’t wait!
Test Anxiety – Well, I would love to be able to give you the secret to managing all anxiety surrounding taking an exam . . . but . . . it doesn’t exist. It’s totally natural to be nervous for a test (especially when that certification is on the line). However, I believe it’s the little things that will get us all through our tests. Sufficient preparation, a good night’s sleep the night before, trying to relax, and having a positive attitude are all going to help. My mom would tell you to have a good breakfast, too.
Celebrate – Especially as a professional adult, I think celebrating is justified for passing a test. Congratulations on those two, three, four more letters behind your name.
I used to eat yogurt raisins, too; always seemed to be good luck. Anyone else care to share their tips for successful test taking or just a funny story about a test? Both are welcome. Oh and here is one more “Go Vandals!” since I’ve thought back to college now.