Anyone pursuing a medical assistant career should give strong consideration to taking the CMA exam. Obtaining a certification can give you a competitive edge when you are seeking full-time employment in your chosen field. If you opt to take this important exam, then you’re going to want to make sure you study thoroughly as the exam is difficult to pass. Not many students succeed on their first attempt, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred. You can be among those small few if you take these helpful study tips for aspiring medical assistants seeking their certification.

1. Understanding the Test

Any good preparatory regimen starts by knowing just what you are up against in the CMA exam. It’s important to understand the test and how it works, including the types of questions you should expect to face and the different categories that will be covered. Those categories include a clinical portion, an administrative category, and then general questions. The questions are wide-ranging from topics such as psychology to information technology to office management.

2. Exam Format

You know what the categories are and how much time you have to finish completing them, but you should also be aware that clinical and medical care are major topics throughout the test. It will be helpful to know that you have a time limit of forty minutes over four consecutive periods to answer the questions in all three categories. When each period is over, you have a chance to take a short break before the next one begins. Do some research on the format of the exam you will be taking so you are better prepared to study the topics that are going to be covered and, more importantly, know which segments have a bigger impact on your overall scoring when everything is tallied up. Certain areas account for more of your score than others.

3. Preparing to Study

Your strategy for studying is just as important as actually studying. So set yourself up for success from the start by preparing a game plan for your study habits. Don’t expect to get it all done 48 hours before you’re set to take the exam. A comprehensive, long-term approach that relies on short sessions over an extended period of time will be far more effective in helping you pass the test with flying colors.

4. Seeking Out Good Resources

Class notes, textbooks, study guides, these are all helpful tools to getting you ready to pass the exam. But you may also find more vital study aids from medical assistants who have obtained their certifications ahead of you and you may even enlist further help from your instructor. Of course, you can also locate a wealth of resources online like Medical Assistant EDU which has plenty of useful information to give any student a leg up on studying for the exam.

5. Mind Your Well-being

Studying can take a lot out of you, particularly when your stress levels begin to rise and you grow more nervous about taking the test. That’s why it’s important to eat healthily and get enough sleep, so that your brain functions at peak performance and you retain all of the information you’re trying to remember for the test. The more you take care of yourself, the better you’re likely to do come exam day.