Before you start working as a medical assistant, you may want to take and pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. As a CMA, you will have a true professional edge over others. In fact, more and more medical and health care employers now have certification as a minimum requirement for their staff.
What Can You Expect?
The CMA examination is fully computerized. You will have to answer around 200 multiple choice questions. The test will start with a 15 minute tutorial, but you can skip this if you want. Once you have completed or skipped the tutorial, the actual test will start. You have 3 hours and 15 minutes to answer all of the questions, which is done in four blocks of 40 minutes each. If you fail, you can retake the exam within 90 days without having to retake your classes to become certified.
How to Increase Your Chances of Passing the Exam
Four things are very beneficial if you want to increase your chances of passing. First of all, make sure you have kept up-to-date with your class material and read it all again. Secondly, study like you have never studied before. Thirdly, consider taking a review course. Finally, make sure you sit for a few practice exams. Many of these are available for free online.
Your Class Materials
When you go to a vocation school or community college, you will actually start to prepare for the exam. During your training, you will take part in classes that introduce you to medical terminologies, office practices, lab procedures, first aid, patient relations, clinical and pharmacology procedures. These are the same topics that are covered in the exam itself.
If at all possible, you should get extra tutoring in these specific classes from the beginning. This way, you will be sure that your truly comprehend the subject when you start. If you don’t grasp the information, after all, you will also struggle to answer the questions during the exam.
Study and Study Some More
It goes without saying that you need to study, and study hard. You need to come up with a proper study routine. As such, start by studying the outlines of the content. According to the AAMA, there are a number of study subjects that have to be covered. You can reference you own study materials against that. Next, make sure that you don’t cram before the examination. Instead, plan your time properly and take regular breaks. If you cram, you are more likely to be anxious, which can have a negative effect on your test results. Finally, consider joining a study group. It is always a good idea to get different and fresh perspectives on things. Additionally, research has shown that being in a study group helps you better memorize and remember information.
Consider Taking a Review Course
Review courses are great to help you refresh your memory. Additionally, it will help to calm you down when you see that you are retaining the necessary information. Unfortunately, there are no review courses offered directly by the AAMA nationally. However, some local chapters offer them, as do some colleges and vocational institutions.
Take Practice Exams
Finally, there are a number of places you can go to and take a practice exam. This can be really beneficial in terms of showing you where you need to focus on more. Do make sure that you take AAMA-approved practice exams, such as the ones they offer online themselves. If you don’t take one that is approved, you may actually be taking a test full of mistakes or outdated information. Another benefit of taking practice exams is that it gives you a feel for the actual test.
Once you feel you are ready to take the test, you need to apply to the AAMA. They will then book you in to take the test as soon as possible at a chapter that is close to you. Good luck!