While prep for the Board of Certification exam should happen consistently throughout the year, early spring is a time to kick it into high gear as most students take the exam in the March/April exam period. Preparing for the BOC can be a daunting task for athletic training students, but with support, a passing score isn’t difficult to achieve.
You can prepare for the BOC exam with a variety of approaches, and every group of students will react differently. We’ve listed some steps you can take to help you prepare for the BOC exam. All these best practices work for any kind of student in any setting taking an important exam.
Start with Foundational Study Skills
Study skills are key to success on any test or exam, including standardized tests. However, many students don’t learn these skills until after a lot of trial and error, and they’re only seen as a means to an end. Creating these habits will not only help you succeed on the BOC exam but also in college, careers, and life in general.
By developing study skills, you are taking ownership – ownership of your successes, your failures, your time, and your learning. Students who understand they can earn a return on investment from studying define themselves as good students. Motivated, or believing that there will be a result, will help to increase the effort you put towards studying.
Build an Understanding of How the BOC Exam Works
At this point, most athletic training students have taken a variety of different styles of standardized tests. It is critical that you understand how the BOC exam is structured and scored to help you adequately prepare.
Use the Science of Learning to Guide Your Efforts
Cramming for the BOC exam the night before is unlikely to lead to a passing score. Studying is not a one-and-done phenomenon — spaced and retrieval practice are essential elements of long-term retention.
Teachers use the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve to strategically plan review sessions right when the brain needs them. When we practice at increasingly spaced intervals in time, we “catch” the forgetting rate just when it starts to dip. Review sessions are used to spark memory when it starts to fade and help you retain information.
What might spaced practice look like for the BOC exam?
- Take a practice test: Six months to a year before the exam, students should take a practice test to see if they’re ready. In addition to familiarizing them with the exam’s format and pace, it will also help diagnose areas where they might need a little extra practice.
- Start practicing: Students can start practicing the skills by using different review methods (close reading, notecards, quizzes, games, etc.) Doing this 20–30 minutes every other day will be more effective than practicing for four hours once a week.
- Wait: Students should wait to continue studying until they start to forget what they have studied. Then, they should study the concepts again.
- Wait again: Repeat the above for a day longer between sessions.
- And again: Repeat with successively longer intervals between studying, over the course of several weeks.
- Take another practice test: Students should take another practice test to measure their improvement and uncover any further gaps.
- Repeat: Students should repeat all steps above until they feel appropriately prepared for the exam
Uncover Gaps and Accelerate Learning with Adaptive Technology
It’s absolutely crucial that you integrate purposeful technology into your efforts to prepare for the BOC exam. Using technology shouldn’t be forced into every lesson just because it’s there. It should drive instruction and make learning more meaningful for every student.
Adaptive technology is particularly powerful — adaptive programs will identify a student’s gaps in learning and present the information that the student is ready to learn next. It adapts to student needs and returns to key concepts to review based on the pieces where each student needs more practice. Truly adaptive programs will also provide comprehensive reporting to help teachers iterate instruction based on class-wide knowledge gaps ahead of the exam.
Programs like ATStudy Buddy are designed to help you achieve mastery of the domains you’ll be tested on during the BOC exam.
Reviewing, revising, practicing, and preparing…all are essential to a high score on the BOC exam But, so is confidence.
Test anxiety is common in students of all ages, but as your approach the high-stakes, BOC exam, you may experience heightened levels of stress. And, studies have shown that high levels of anxiety can cause lower test scores. There are lots of ways teachers can boost confidence and reduce anxiety in students. A stress assessment, freewriting exercises, and mindfulness can not only reduce stress before an exam but also increase test scores.