Playing the supporting roles to star surgeons, surgical technologists help ensure surgeries run smoothly, from preparing patients' incision sites to sterilizing the surgical environment and equipment. Give yourself at least two months to prep for the exam you need to pass to gain entry to the medical field. Remember -- the point of studying isn't to remember enough to pass the exam; the point is to have the knowledge and skills necessary to assist during real life surgeries.
Obtain the candidate bulletin for the specific exam you will be taking, whether its through the National Center for Competency Testing, The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Healthcare Association. Get a clear understanding of the concepts you will need to understand, explain or demonstrate.
Take the appropriate practice test for your scheduled exam to get a good idea of which concepts you need to tackle first. Use your score to determine areas of strength and weakness. Take practice exams periodically until your exam date, to keep track of what you should be studying.
Use study aids to help you digest complex information. Helpful resources include flashcards, notes and textbooks from your education and training program, charts, graphs and drawings. Write important facts on index cards and place them where you will see them often -- on your refrigerator, for example -- or on your bathroom mirror. The trick is to move the information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory using subtle repetition.
Maintain a consistent study schedule to keep from having to cram just before the test. Study for three to four hours every day, but rotate the subject matter to keep from getting bored with spending too long on one topic. Always study in a quiet, well-lit location with minimal distractions. Work with a group periodically to boost your understanding of the subject matter, since the best way to ensure you have learned something is to be able to explain it to someone else.
Take a break from studying the night before the exam to relax your mind. Get a full night’s rest and start the test day with a filling, yet nutritious meal that won’t leave you drained. Refrain from caffeinated and/or sugary drinks as well, to keep from feeling jittery or causing a sugar-induced crash in energy during the exam.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.