How to Pass the ASCP Exam

Passing the ASCP Exams

An ASCP exam is a big deal, and naturally candidates may be interested in doing all they can in order to pass. Passing one of these exams requires a few simple strategies: understanding the exam, studying, taking care of yourself, and knowing what to expect on test day.

Understanding the ASCP Exams

The first step to passing an ASCP exam is to understand your test. The ASCP examinations use Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). What this means is that the computer will start by selecting a question from a large bank of questions, sorted by difficulty and exam topic. If you answer a question correctly, your next question will be a little more difficult. If you answer incorrectly, your next question will be a little easier. In this way, the test adapts to a test-taker.

Most ASCP exams include 100 multiple-choice questions, but since the questions are of various difficulty levels, each can be worth a different amount of points. It's important to make your best attempt on all of them because you'll need to correctly answer enough difficult questions to earn the minimum passing score.

It's also important to remember that you are looking for the best answer of the options provided. This test is trying to evaluate not only your knowledge of related theory and lab procedures but also your judgment and ability to apply them when assessing and evaluating a situation.

To make sure you fully understand what's being asked and to avoid costly mistakes, take the time to carefully read all questions and test directions. Remember that you can also go back and check your responses at the end of the test and change any answers you weren't sure about. It might be a good idea to leave yourself enough testing time to do this. Most exams last two and a half hours.

Finding Out What to Expect on Test Day

Of course, understanding the test won't do you much good if you don't actually prepare for it. Some general prep strategies include:

Talk to your peers. To help study for your ASCP exam, talk to people who have been through it before.

Take care of yourself. In addition to studying, you can prepare for the exam by caring for your own physical and mental wellbeing. While it's easy to obsess over studying, this can leave the mind and body exhausted, reducing concentration and memory retention as well as increasing the risk of illness.

Familiarize yourself with the testing location. You can also help ensure you pass the exam by avoiding simple mistakes that will disqualify you from taking the test. Consider visiting the testing center in the days before the exam to learn exactly where it is and how long it will take to get there. Expect to be at the testing center early (the requirement is to be there 30 minutes before the exam starts), and make sure you have a valid form of identification ready.

Studying for Your Exam

Consult the BOC website for information about your test. You may also want to consider purchasing test prep resources. The BOC offers exam outlines, lists of suggested reading, study guides, and practice tests. For additional help check out some of these resources available through

Continue reading: ASCPI vs ASCP

The American Society for Clinical Pathology provides credentials for medical laboratory professionals in many fields and specialties. Read on to learn more about ASCP credentialing exams and how an ASCP credential can enrich your laboratory career.

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