The Board of Certification (BOC) exam for athletic trainers is a rigorous test that requires careful preparation and a confident approach. Without proper study techniques and a strong mindset, you may find yourself overwhelmed during the exam. To improve your chances of passing the BOC exam, it is essential to assess and identify your strengths and weaknesses as a test-taker and learner.
So, what is the difference between successful and unsuccessful BOC exam test takers?
Successful BOC Exam Test Takers:
- Possess a solid understanding of athletic training content.
- Approach each question with confidence, believing in their ability to find the correct answer.
- Don’t give up easily when faced with uncertainty. They take the time to carefully analyze the question and evaluate the answer choices.
- Have the skills to correctly interpret the question and remain focused on the key information provided.
Unsuccessful BOC Exam Test Takers:
- Tend to rely on guesswork, assuming they either know or don’t know the answer.
- Memorize facts without fully grasping the underlying principles and concepts.
- Read the question and answers superficially, often selecting an answer based on a hunch or personal feeling rather than critical thinking.
- Base their responses on personal experiences instead of applying athletic training theory.
- Give up quickly without investing enough effort into analyzing questions and answers.
- Struggle to maintain focus throughout the exam.
If you identify as a successful BOC exam test taker, congratulations! The following strategies will further enhance your test-taking skills. For those who align more with unsuccessful test takers, don’t lose hope! With the right approach, you can change your test-taking habits and become successful. By following these strategies, you will increase your chances of passing the BOC exam.
Strategies to Avoid on the BOC Exam:
During athletic training school, you may have developed strategies for answering test questions based on a teacher’s style, focusing on knowledge and comprehension levels. However, these strategies are not effective for the BOC exam. Avoid the following ineffective techniques:
- Cramming facts about injuries, conditions, and athletic training concepts
- Relying on recognition or recall of facts instead of understanding the underlying pathophysiology and patient needs.
- Considering the test question writer and their preferences.
- Predicting answers based on vague memories or question sources.
- Selecting the answer choice that stands out in terms of length.
- Choosing the grammatically correct answer without thorough analysis.
- Defaulting to answer choice (C) when unsure.
Remember, the BOC exam tests your ability to make safe and competent decisions. Therefore, these strategies won’t lead to success.
A Successful Strategy for the BOC Exam: Visualization
Identify whether you predominantly think in words or images, as this will help tailor your study plan to your learning style. Consider the following example:
“An athletic trainer walks into a room and finds an athlete lying on the floor.”
As you read this sentence, did you hear the words in your mind or visualize an athletic trainer entering the room and seeing the athlete on the floor? If you heard the words, you tend to think in words. If you formed a mental image, you think in images.
Students who think in images might struggle with athletic training test questions. They often encounter challenges such as needing to study harder, repeatedly looking up information, or having difficulty understanding procedures without visual aids. If you fall into this category, visualization is crucial. As you prepare for the BOC exam, try to create mental images of terminology, procedures, and diseases. If you come across unfamiliar concepts, find pictures or models to help you visualize and understand them better.
Visualization is also essential when tackling test questions. Picture yourself going through each suggested action as you read the question and answer choices. This technique increases your chances of selecting the correct answer.
Let’s take a look at a sample BOC exam question that requires visualization:
“An athlete in the emergency room has a fracture in the left femur due to a snowboarding accident. The fracture is reduced, and a cast is applied. The athlete is taught how to use crutches to ambulate without bearing weight on the left leg by an athletic trainer. What crutch-walking gait would the athletic trainer expect the athlete to learn?”
- Two-point gait
- Three-point gait
- Four-point gait
- Swing-through gait
If you’re unfamiliar with crutch-walking gaits, don’t panic. Instead, visualize the scenario:
- Imagine a person walking normally, extending the right leg and left arm first, followed by the left leg and right arm.
- Now, picture yourself holding crutches and walking. Each foot and each crutch becomes a point.
- Visualize a person with a full cast on the left leg, never touching the ground.
- Mentally review the answer choices.
By actively visualizing the scenario and options, you improve your chances of selecting the correct answer.
To pass the BOC exam, it is crucial to adopt effective test-taking strategies and develop a confident mindset. Assess your strengths and weaknesses as a test taker and learner, and tailor your study plan accordingly. Avoid ineffective strategies and instead focus on visualization to enhance your understanding and recall of nursing concepts. With the right approach, you can conquer the BOC exam and embark on a successful athletic training career.