How To Prepare For The Phlebotomy Certification Test

If you are going to be taking the phlebotomy exam soon, you are probably a little nervous. Even if you are a good student, sometimes facing an important test that can either grant or deny your certification is bound to cause at least a little stress.

However, there are things you can do to help you succeed on the phlebotomy exam.  Let’s break the process into two parts – test preparation, and test taking.  This article will give you ideas that will help you perform your best.

Phlebotomy Certification Test Preparation

The following  study skills are important, so try to turn these tips into habits!

1. Don’t Cram! If you try to do all of your studying on the night before the big test, you are far less likely to remember anything. Once you know when the test will be, start planning shorter study sessions once or twice a day for at least a week before the exam. If you are still in class, remember that it is always best to review material right after class when it is still on your mind. Study one topic at a time, try to avoid jumping around in your study material because all learning is like building a house – you can’t put up the roof before the foundation is complete.

2. Preparation and Organization – When you are ready to start studying, carefully gather all of your material so you have it at your fingertips. This can include notes, textbooks, study guides, as well as any test prep guides you may have purchased. Decide what the best environment for you to study in is. Some people prefer a quiet atmosphere with no distractions, while others prefer a busy coffee shop. There is no one right way, just find the way that works for you.

3. Learn In Order – Start by studying the basics, such as definitions. You will find that there are often test questions based on very basic things, like definitions of words. It will also make the test much easier if you are familiar with all of the terms used. Then, move on to the most important information. Don’t try to learn small details until you have mastered the main concepts.

4. Write to Learn – Take notes as you study. Another method is to highlight your book in yellow the first time you work through it. The second time, highlight only the really important information in blue. When you are done, leaf through the book, you will find that the most important information is now green. That’s a great place to focus your attention.  Rewriting material is also a good way to help it stick in your brain – you will be engaging several body systems to do this, and it will help with retention.

5. Space it Out – Take frequent breaks, as often as ten minutes per hour. Like your stomach, your brain needs to digest ideas before it is ready to process new ones. By spreading your studying out over the course of a week, more information will move to long term memory storage, which is far easier to retain than short term memory.

A Word on Phlebotomy Test Prep Books

Phlebotomy training books can be a great resource for you as you study. They introduce material in a new way, which can help you better retain the info. They also give you a chance to work through how the questions will likely be formatted so you are more likely to spot a “trick” question.

However, be sure that you are purchasing a guide through a reputable dealer. Your school bookstore is a great place to start, and you will want to talk to people who have already taken the test to see if they can recommend a specific book to you.

A search for “phlebotomy flashcards” will take you to some neat resources that allow you to print out flashcards with commonly used terms on them. The ASCP also offers online practice tests on their website and be sure you read the ASCP phlebotomy certification requirements.

Don’t let yourself fall for the idea that the questions in the test prep material will be the exact questions on the exam though. Use the tests to assess what areas you need more practice in, and do not let practice tests effect your confidence level. After all, the whole point of practicing is to improve your performance for the big day!

Proven Test Taking Practices

Many people suffer from so-called test anxiety. Even very good students can become so worried about their performance that it will negatively affect their score.

However, there are some ways to reduce your anxiety and up your test score that don’t have anything to do with studying. You know that you should get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast the day of the test, but the following will help you reduce your anxiety.

1. Preview the test before you start. Read the directions, and find out what kind of questions there are (multiple choice, fill in the blank, essay, etc). Determine which of the questions are worth the most points, you will want to make sure you get to all of those.

2. Spend at least one minute relaxing. Close your eyes, tell yourself that you are prepared for this test and you will do well. Many people often feel a sort of panic take over as they look at a test and worry if they will be able to get it done in time. Relax, you will have plenty of time.

3. Begin by answering the questions that do not seem difficult to you. This will increase your confidence, as well as helping you to remember material. After you have completed the easy questions, move on to any that have a high point value. Take your time in answering these, and make sure you answer them from the instructor’s point of view. If you have questions about a test item, be sure to have the instructor clarify before you answer it.

4. If you get stuck on a question, there are three steps to help you get the best answer. First, read the question and underline or circle any key words. Then, if it is a multiple choice question, cross out any answers you know are wrong. Then, look at your remaining answer with the circled keywords. You will most likely have a good feeling about which answer is correct, and most of the time, you will be right!

5. When you think you are done with the test, go back through to make sure you have answered all the questions. Make sure your name and any other important information is complete and accurate. Most phlebotomy written exams have a time limit of one hour. Remember, there are no points for getting done early, so use all of your time!

These test taking tips work for any test. The key is to remain calm and have confidence in yourself and your knowledge.  Remember, you have worked very hard to get to the end of the course, and you deserve to do well!

After the test, make sure to congratulate yourself. You may not have received a perfect score, but you did it!

Be proud of your accomplishments and take that pride with you as you enter the exciting medical field as a licensed Phlebotomist. Your confidence in your knowledge will go a long way as you take your first phlebotomy job!

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