To be a certified and well-respected medical assistant, you must take the CMA exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants. With so much riding on your test-taking performance, it’s normal to be nervous. It’s not an easy test, and many students must take both parts more than once in order to pass.
However, it’s possible to pass the test on the first try, as more than half of students do so each year. All you need is proper preparation. If you want to say goodbye to the test and move on to working in the field, use these tips to pass with flying colors.
- Know About the Test
Most of the time, we fear things because we don’t understand them. Take some time before you begin studying to understand the structure of the test.
First of all, the test is taken in two parts. It’s a computerized test with 200 multiple choice questions that test your general knowledge of medical assisting practices and procedures.
The test is worth 500 points, and a passing score is 360 or above. To achieve this score, you’ll need in-depth knowledge of all categories, not perfect knowledge in a single area. Make sure you spread out your study time accordingly.
- Use All Available Tools
You won’t be expected to study for the CMA alone, and there are hundreds of tools and resources available. Aside from purchasing books and software that will help you study and practice for the exam, you might look into websites that offer reviews of test prep books and software, tips and tricks, definitions, insider advice, and more.
Some of the most popular websites for this purpose include:
Visit these websites to broaden your knowledge and find expert advice to help you pass.
Apps can also be used to expand your knowledge and test your skills.
- CMA Test Prep
- CMA Exam Prep 2016
- Medical Assistant Test Prep
These apps are free and many aspiring medical students have found success with their guidance.
- Make a Study Plan
It’s very important to spread out your studying rather than cramming all at once. According to BBC, cramming for tests often sets you up for failure because the brain doesn’t have time to commit the information to memory. It will make terms and concepts seem familiar, but you won’t have an in-depth knowledge of a subject like you’ll need to pass the CMA exam.
By making a study plan, you can spread out your study time and make each session more memorable. Make a schedule at least six weeks in advance of the test, although studying for three months in advance is preferable. Set study sessions of no more than two hours to avoid burnout, and schedule study-free and refresher days to help your brain commit the information to memory.
- Study with a Buddy
There are two good things about studying with a buddy that can help you be better prepared for the CMA exam. First of all, it increases retention, which makes your spread-out study sessions more effective.
Secondly, it boosts your motivation to study. You’re more likely to stick with your schedule if you have a person or group of people depending on your study sessions each day.
- Take Care of Yourself
From all of your studying, you know that a healthy body leads to better brain performance, but sometimes you need a good reminder. As you prepare for the test, improve your eating habits to include more fruits and vegetables. Don’t eat junk food and candy as you study, since it can slow your cognitive function.
Sleeping well and exercising regularly are also key factors in performing well on the test. Before your study sessions, and especially the night before the test, get a full eight hours of undisturbed sleep. Try to go to bed by 10 as well, since going to bed earlier will help you feel more rested when you wake in the morning.
- Boost Study Productivity
For some, studying is a natural habit. Others must use planners, time tables, organizers, and charts displayed on the wall to stay on track. Productive study is very important, especially if you’re short on time, and you can use these tools to make your study more meaningful.
You might also try the Pomodoro study technique. This involves studying for 25 minutes, then taking a break to do something enjoyable for five minutes. You’ll repeat this until your study session is over. Even with the accumulated breaks, many people who use this method find they get much more out of their study sessions.
Prepare with Orion College
The very first step in passing your CMA exam is getting a quality education. At Orion College, we offer a blend of online and on-campus courses for medical assisting that will thoroughly prepare you for the content of the CMA exam. For more information about degree programs, coursework, and how to apply, contact us today!