Preparing for the ASCP Exam
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers over 20 professional certification exams through its Board of Certification (BOC). ASCP exams are a big deal, so let's break down the process of preparing for one of these tests.
Applying and Registering
The first step is to create an account on the ASCP BOC's website and apply for the exam. Again, there are over 20 examinations offered by the BOC, so make sure you're applying for the correct one. Each exam has its own application requirements.
The application will likely require you to submit a few supporting documents, such as transcripts or experience documentation forms. You will also have to pay an application fee, which also varies by exam. If you expect that you'll require accommodations in accordance with the ADA or other circumstances, you must submit supporting documentation to the BOC during the application process. Everything must be submitted to the BOC within 30 days of when the application process began.
Once the application is reviewed and accepted, you will be able to register for an exam date and location through Pearson VUE. Candidates will be given a three-month window and must select an exam date within that period.
From this point until the exam date, you can expect to spend a lot of time studying. Each exam has its own focus, and there are test prep resources available for every exam through either the BOC or private companies. These can cost a bit of money, but some people find them extremely helpful. There are several informational and test prep resources available to you through Study.com. For information on the exam, articles, and practice tests, check out the ASCP Information Guide. There are also specific study guides with dozens of lessons for the (M) ASCP Technologist in Microbiology, (MB) ASCP Technologist in Molecular Biology, C (ASCP) Technologist in Chemistry, and (MLT) ASCP Medical Laboratory Technician exams.
Throughout this time, candidates must also take care of themselves. It can be tempting to throw all of your energy into studying, but this can leave your body and mind exhausted and more susceptible to illness. Get sleep, eat well, and exercise. In addition, you may think about visiting the testing center so that you know where it is and how long it will take to get there. These may not be things you want to discover on the day of the exam.
Throughout this time, also continue to check your email and ASCP BOC portal in case there are any updates about your exam.
The Day of the Exam
On the day of the exam, make sure you have everything you will need to take the test. Most importantly, this refers to your identification. An ID is required in order to be granted admission to the testing center. That ID must meet the following requirements:
- The ID must be current (not expired)
- The ID must be government issued
- The ID must contain a photograph and signature
- The first and last name on the ID must match the name on the application
Acceptable forms of ID include a driver's license, a state ID card, a passport, or an alien registration card/permanent resident card. Student and employee IDs are not valid forms of identification.
With your appropriate ID in hand, plan to arrive at the testing center early. In fact, you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the test. This gives the testing center time to check you in and familiarize you with the testing rules. You will not be allowed to bring any personal items into the testing center and may be asked to remove large jewelry or accessories. Accommodations will be made for religious or cultural attire. You do not need to bring writing supplies, as you will be provided with these if necessary. Non-programmable calculators are acceptable.