There are two main certification criteria for medical assistants; The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). As per the norm, you must pass a certification exam before becoming either a Registered Medical Assistant or a Certified Medical Assistant. Both credentials serve the same purpose in the long run.
Whichever your preference, you must be asking yourself; how do you pass the certification exam? The good thing is you can kill two birds with one stone; hence the following tips should be your blueprint on how to pass the CMA/RMA exam the first time. Now pay a closer attention.
Know What to Expect
The first unwritten rule of battle; thou shall know your opponent. Think of the certification exam as an opponent that is trying to get you down by evaluating how much you know about medical assistance. The best possible way you can defeat that opponent is by showing up mentally prepared with knowledge. It is only logical that if you know the format and content of your scheduled exam, it will be easier to prepare.
For instance, the CMA exam includes 200 multiple choices with a minimum pass rate of 430 points. On the other hand, the RMA exam usually entails 210 questions with a minimum pass rate of 70. Of course, you also have to keep note of the exam content outline to know the topics that you should study before the test.
Create a Study Timetable
After figuring out the content that will be examined on your medical assistant test, it would be prudent to create a study timetable to keep track of your progress. As the saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Obviously, the medical assistant timetable should include the 3 categories that you won’t miss in any CMA/RMA exam; General, Administrative and Clinical topics. However, you should put more time on the sub-categories that you didn’t fully understand during your training program.
Studying for at least 2 or 3 hours a day should give you sufficient time to cover all grounds provided you have 2 or 3 months before the certification exam.
Develop a Study Strategy
Forget reading the notes like a robot and focus on active learning methods that are fun. Try something new like using flashcards or a wallboard when you’re trying to memorize medical terminologies. Additionally, instead of copying the important details word for word, you could write the notes in your own word.
There are also numerous Youtube tutorials, study apps, audiobooks that could make it easier for you to study and understand the concepts. Don’t just know the ‘how’ but understand the ‘why’.
Enroll in a Review Course
There are many options available for review courses depending on the medical assistant credential you’re seeking. For example, the American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers online review courses to anybody who is waiting to sit for the RMA exam. For those who are waiting to sit for the CMA exam, they have to seek a review course that adheres to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) guidelines.
Nevertheless, if you want to take it a little further, you can form a study group to discuss what you’ve studied. The more you talk about a certain topic, the more likely you will remember during your exam.
Take Plenty of Practice Questions
Even planes must go through a bunch of tests to make sure they’re ready for a safe takeoff. The same standards should be applied when preparing the CMA/RMA exam. Apart from giving you the confidence to face the actual certification exam without fear, the practice questions should be used to identify your weak areas.
Just like how aviation students utilize a flight simulator to re-create a flight, a mock test should mimic the real thing. For instance, if you’re expected to complete the actual CMA exam in 3 hours and 15 minutes, so should your mock exam. Fortunately, there are numerous websites that offer mock CMA/RMA exams.
On the contrary, failing a mock exam is not a sign that you will fail the actual certification exam. It just means that you aren’t ready for the CMA/RMA exam yet. If it happens, you need to highlight the questions that you failed to answer and focus on the topics being examined. There is always room for improvement. However, if you’re constantly answering most of the practice questions beyond the minimum threshold necessary for a pass, it means you’re ready for the actual exam.
Don’t be that guy who is studying at midnight and expecting the alarm to go off at 6 a.m. in the morning so you can prepare for your certification exam. In other words, get sufficient sleep and don’t cram before the certification exam. Usually, most people start to get nervous when they cram for an exam setting off a chain reaction that would negatively affect their performance. Hence, it would be suitable to reschedule the CMA/RMA exam than to cram and cause a nervous ripple effect.
Parting shot: As long as you follow the above tips, passing the CMA/RMA the first time should not be a problem to you. Time is of the essence and the earlier you start, the better your edge.