Passing Scores for the ASCP Exams
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is a professional association for pathology-related careers and offers certification exams to candidates who qualify.
But unlike some certification exams, if two people talk about taking their ASCP test they may not be talking about the same one. In fact, the ASCP offers over 20 different certifications for positions ranging from medical laboratory technician to medical laboratory scientist to technologist in cytogenetics.
While the ASCP offers a wide range of professional certifications, all of the tests are scored on a scale from 0-999. A passing score is generally 400, so that's the target number you're looking for.
Understanding the CAT System
The ASCP exams are taken using Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT), which is a computer model that writes the test as the candidate takes it. How does this work? The test draws from a large bank of questions, all of varying difficulty levels. When you answer one question, the computer determines whether it was a correct or incorrect answer. If it was correct, your next question will be more difficult. The questions will keep getting more difficult until you answer a question incorrectly, at which point the next question will be less difficult. This is what an adaptive testing model looks like. The test is therefore tailored to each examinee.
So, how does the test actually generate a score using this model? Your correct answers are assigned a point value. Since questions differ in difficulty level, they are also worth different amounts of points. A correct answer on an easy question is worth less points than a correct answer on a difficult one. Each question's value is calibrated by its level of difficulty.
When you've completed the test, the computer will generate your final score. This scaled score is based on the total point value of the questions you answered correctly. There is no curve in relation to the other candidates since each test is tailored to a particular examinee.
When you receive your score, you should also be able to see a breakdown of your performance by content area if you did not pass. This information allows you to see where you did the best and where you need more practice.
If you fail to pass the ASCP exam, you can apply to retake it. You will have to pay a new application fee to do so, and you can do this up to five times per eligibility route for most ASCP exams. The retake process is something that the ASCP will set in motion; it will contact you when the official scores for your exam are released and provide you with the information on setting up a new exam.
If you're getting ready to sit for your first test attempt, check out the study resources below to find lessons and quizzes designed to help you get the highest score possible. If you're preparing for a retake, you can also use these resources in conjunction with your score report to focus on the area or areas where you'd like to put in a better performance.
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- M (ASCP) Technologist in Microbiology: Study Guide & Exam Prep
- MB (ASCP) Technologist in Molecular Biology: Study Guide & Exam Prep
- MLT (ASCP) Medical Laboratory Technician: Study Guide & Exam Prep