The BOC Exam is Just a Game

It all comes down to this. You’re close to finishing your penultimate year of studying athletic training and getting ready to take the athletic training Board of Certification (BOC) exam. 

Feeling ready? Or just tired and grumpy? The pressure of taking your final, big athletic training exam is nerve-wracking. Having said that, I hope you remember that it’s not important to be at the top of your class for the BOC exam (although you should definitely do the best you can). Once you’ve passed and graduated, you can practice athletic training wherever you want. Your future once you’ve left school is wide open to take you wherever you want to go. 

No one will ever know, or probably care, how well you do on the BOC exam. It may sound crazy, but I think it helps to think of exams as a personal game: to see what you remember, and when it’s done, to relax. You’re done! Treating the BOC exam as a game helps keep them in perspective. There is no point in stressing until you’ve received your score. 

Athletic trainers truly don’t have much to be worried about when it comes to exams. Our performance on the BOC exam contributes 0% for most competitive jobs in the most competitive areas. Even if you’re the sort of person who’s going for an illustrious academic career in the future that requires you to have the best grades – no one is going to ask you what you scored on the BOC exam. All that matters is that you passed. 

Treating the BOC exam like a game can be a pretty healthy way of focusing on what matters. It means you’ve worked hard and tried your best, but hopefully also retained a sense of perspective. 

No one will ever care about your grades and your BOC exam score once you’re out in the professional world. All that will matter is that you are providing excellent care to your athletes and patients. Once you’ve passed, it’s up to you to keep your skills sharp through continuing education –  because even after you’re done you’re never going to stop learning. The clinical hours you’ve put in, all the bandaids you’ve applied, the hundreds of taped ankles, the first time you take someone from initial injury to return-to-play – that’s what matters. 

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