6 Question Strategies for the BOC Exam

As you work through the Board of Certification (BOC) exam, you’ll be taking years of knowledge and applying that knowledge logically. Every question on the BOC exam is different, and every athletic training student is different. No single strategy will work for every single person, and not every strategy will work for every question on the exam. 

We’ve gathered six different question strategies you can use to determine which will work best for you, or which will work best for the question you are answering. 

Read Carefully 

This sounds so simple, but when you are racing the clock, it’s easy to breeze through questions and not read them adequately. Read each question and every answer carefully and all the way through. You need to make sure you understand the question thoroughly and what is being asked. Just be mindful of the clock – don’t waste your time over-reading, either. 

Prefixes & Suffixes

If you are struggling with a word or sentence in the question or answer options, try to dissect the word. Take advantage of any clues the word or sentence is giving you. This is why studying your prefixes and suffixes is important (these are included in ATStudy Buddy All-Access study modules!). Prefixes and suffixes can help you determine the basic meaning of a word. For example, pre- means before, post- means after, pro- is positive, and de- is negative. If you can figure out the general meaning of the word, you can use context clues to help you. 

Contextual Clues

Context clues are helpful for deciphering questions. Look at the immediate context for an indication of what a word might mean if you are not familiar with the word. Even if you can’t fully determine the meaning of the word, you can try to narrow down the possibilities to make an educated guess for the question. 

Hedge Words

Hedge words in BOC exam questions are words such as: likely, sometimes, often, can, may, usually, generally, rarely, mostly, and almost. Hedge words and phrases are used to cover every possibility, and often an answer that seems correct is actually wrong because the hedge word leaves no room for exception. Be cautious, especially when you see the words always and exactly. 

Switchback Words

Switchback words are words and phrases that are often used to alert you to a shift in thought. Common switchback words that you may see on the BOC exam include: although, however, or but. Other phrases you might see could be: on the other hand, while, in spite of, despite, nevertheless, or regardless of. It’s important to try and catch switchback words and phrases because they can change the context of the question and the answer that you choose. 

Use Common Sense

When you are simply stuck, rely on your common sense. Remember, sometimes more than one answer may appear correct, but it’s your job to choose the answer that is the most correct. Don’t read too much into a question – accept the problem at face value. If an answer requires a creative situation, it’s likely that it’s not the correct choice if another response seems more viable. Place the situation in reality and go with the answer that seems most readily apparent. 

Good luck, and happy studying!  

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