It’s no surprise that the exams in Respiratory Therapy School are difficult. They’re designed to teach you information that can potentially help save the lives of others. As difficult as they may be, in this article, we’re going to share some test-taking tips that can help.
Becoming good at taking tests is not simply an issue of whether or not you know the material. Becoming a strong test-taker is a skill in and of itself that requires practice.
While, yes, of course it helps to know the information that will be on the test. You can also boost your exam scores just by following some of the test-taking tips that we’ve list below.
So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and dive right in.
1. Tame Your Anxiety
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but a calm and focused brain just simply tests better. Anxiety before a test is natural. In fact, a small amount of anxiety is beneficial. However, too much anxiety and a negative outlook can jeopardize your scores.
There are actions that can be taken to help prevent anxiety from sabotaging your success on tests. Before sitting down to take the exam, make sure that you have a few quiet minutes to yourself to relax and clear your mind.
Meditation is an effective way to relax your mind. If you’re strapped for time, close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Make sure your mindset is positive. If it’s not, change it.
Affirmations are small mantras to focus on and repeat. Create a few simple affirmations for yourself, such as, “this test is an opportunity to prove myself.”
It sounds “woo-woo,” I get it. But trust me, it works.
2. Use the Process of Elimination
Most exam questions in Respiratory Therapy School (including the TMC Exam) are in the multiple choice format. It’s certainly easier having potential answers pre-written for you than writing essay questions and answering fill-in-the-blanks. However, sometimes multiple choice questions and answers are designed to be tricky.
How does one take advantage of multiple-choice testing? Through using the process of elimination.
By eliminating answers that you are certain are wrong, you boost your chances of selecting the right answer. Four options give you a 25% chance of choosing correctly at random. So if you can eliminate one clearly wrong option from the list, now you’re choosing from only three options.
This increases your odds of selecting the correct answer at random up to 33%.
Using the process of elimination gives even an educated guess better odds at being the correct answer. Implementing this strategy will absolutely boost your test-taking skills, as well as your overall scores.
3. Use Your Time Wisely
Time is an extremely valuable asset when it comes to taking an exam. That is why you want to use your time wisely.
If there’s a question that you’re unsure about, put a mark next to it. Then move on to the next question.
That is the key — just move on!
If you sit there thinking too long, you’ll end up wasting valuable time that could have been spent on other questions. So for the ones that you’re totally unsure about, just skip them (for now). Continue taking the test and you can revisit the ones you didn’t know at the end.
Occasionally, by doing this, you’ll learn new information from other questions that can be used to answer the ones that you previously skipped.
If you do run out of time, just make an educated guess on the ones your skipped. A 25% chance of choosing the correct answer at random is better than leaving it unanswered.
4. Compare the Answer Choices to One Another
If you’re unsure about a question, sometimes you can choose the correct answer just by looking at the answer choices.
Look for that one choice that’s totally different from the others. The difference may be anything from a medication classification, type of intervention, or simply the way the answer is worded.
If you’re forced to make a guess anyway, you might as well make it educated. You can look at all the answer choices and choose the one that’s the most unique from the others.
Obviously this isn’t going to work 100% of the time. But sometimes it works and can definitely help boost your exam scores. Like I said, this strategy is meant to help you earn points on questions that you truly have no idea.
5. Identify the Distracting Answers
A lot of multiple choice questions have “distractors.” These are incorrect answers that are there specifically to try to throw you off. What is particularly tricky about some distractors is that these answers may not necessarily be incorrect statements when analyzed independently of the question.
It’s not always a required to choose the correct answer. Instead, you will be required to choose the BEST answer. That’s right. Unfortunately, sometimes there may be more than one correct answer. It’s up to you to choose the best of the two.
To prevent choosing a distractor instead of the correct answer, always re-check your answer against the question. Ask yourself, “does your answer really answer the question?”
Using this strategy can help you choose not only the correct answer but the best answer as well.
6. Practice Does Not Always Make Perfect
Practice does not always make perfect, but it certainly helps. Practicing with questions and answers that are exactly like the ones you’ll see on your exams is extremely important. In fact, it’s one of the best strategies that we recommend to all of our students.
You can learn and memorize the information all day long. That is great. But until you do repetition after repetition of mock exam questions, the information likely just isn’t going to stick.
Going through practice questions can help you become more comfortable with the testing process and flow. Becoming more familiar the questions format and structure will help you test quickly and more efficiently.
The good news is, our website is loaded with resources that can help with your exams.
Here are some of our top recommendations:
- Test Bank – This is a totally free section of our website that has study guides for almost every topic that you’ll cover in Respiratory Therapy School. Each study guide has practice questions that can definitely help with your exams.
- TMC Test Bank – This is our premium bank of TMC Practice Questions that are designed to help you learn every topic you need to know in order to pass the TMC Exam. It’s loaded with hundreds of practice questions and detailed rationales that explain why the answer is correct. Thousands of students have already used it to help pass the exam.
So with that said, our bonus tips is this: Don’t try to go at it alone, because there’s no need for you to.
Use the resources that we have provided for you and I have no doubt that you’ll increase your exam scores in no time.
So there you have it. Now that you’ve learned some of our best test-taking tips, I have no doubt that you can increases your exam scores.
Look, I get it. Respiratory Therapy School is challenging. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to succeed both in school and when preparing for the board exams. With that said, hopefully our study guide and materials keep help make that process a little bit easier for you.
Keep working and studying hard and I can’t wait to hear your success stories in the future. Thank you so much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.
- Utah State University. “Study Smart Model | Academic Success Programs.” USU, www.usu.edu/asp/studysmart. Accessed 30 July 2020.
- “Test Taking Tips | Penn State Learning.” Penn State Learning, pennstatelearning.psu.edu/test-taking-tips. Accessed 30 July 2020.
- “10 Failsafe Test-Taking Tips” Psychology Today, 8 Oct. 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/10-failsafe-test-taking-tips.