So you made it through Pharmacology, Retail Labs and Pharmaceutical Calculations! You feel pretty good about what you’ve accomplished thus far, but now it’s time to prepare for the final exam.
Why does that term consume us with fear? Well, here’s a pretty funny definition of “final exam” from the online Urban Dictionary: “A monster of a test that takes a tremendous amount of time and effort!”
Suddenly you feel very nervous and you begin doubting yourself and your abilities. In fact, you’re so nervous that you can’t bring yourself to decide on a date for your exam! It’s pretty normal to feel a little nervous and stressed before an exam, just about everyone does, and a touch of nervous anticipation can actually help your performance while you’re taking the exam. Hopefully I can provide some information that can also help your performance!
The first thing I would suggest is this—SET A DATE! Once that date is set, it motivates you to buckle down and get busy studying!
When it was time for me to take the PTCB exam, I remember putting it off and putting it off. I would study for it whenever it was convenient. However, when I finally scheduled the date, I took my studying very seriously.
Also, please don’t set the date for your certification exam 6 months after graduation! You do your very best on any type of exam while everything is still fresh in your mind. Calculations is one of those skills that you lose the edge to if you are not constantly reviewing it. The same holds true with knowing your medications. Take the exam while all that information is at your fingertips.
Secondly, use the resources provided!
• Take the time to read through the Final Exam Preparation module, focusing on the Final Exam Preparation Tips and listening to the Final Exam Webinar. There’s a reason this information is here!
• Go to the Pharm Tech forum and download the final exam study guide, and scour CareerStep’s blog for previous articles that might contain final exam study tips (like this one, this one, and this one).
• Go through the Calculations module one more time, making sure you understand how to do the types of problems you struggled with the first time around.
• Up until the time you click the Start Final Exam, review your medication flashcards!
Finally, have faith and confidence in yourself! Try to stay calm and collected. You have worked really hard to get to this point so don’t let your fears get the best of you. Think of your first attempt as a skills assessment rather than a test. Don’t let the fact that this test is named the “final exam” scare you!
Can I end with a memorable quote from Harry Potter? “Remember, fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself!” Good luck!