After providing a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the ASCP Exam, the real challenge begins. On this post, I will share my experiences before, during, and after exam.

Q: How long did you review for the MLS ASCP Exam?

A: 1 month. However, I was studying for the local board exam since June, and took the exam on September. Then, I rested for a month, and studied again on November, before I took the ASCP exam on the first week of December. So technically I was studying for more or less 5 months.

Q: Where did you attend review for the exam?

A: I took the fast-track course offered by LEMAR Review Center. It’s a week of intense recap about the lessons of each subjects.

Q: What are your review materials? Can I have a link?

A: Aside from the review materials I got from LEMAR and ACTS (my review center for local board exam), I studied Polansky, and answered questionnaires from Harr and BOC. Aside from Polansky, I can’t give any link since I bought copies of the questionnaires in Mendiola. You may also want to read Ciulla to get in-depth explanations.

Q: How long should I study for the exam? 

A: This depends on you. In my case, I was studying and answering questionnaires at least 6 hours a day or less since  I was only doing a recap review, and not an intensive one, which I did during my local board exam review.

TIP: Create a schedule you can commit.

Q: On which subjects or topics should I focus during review?

A: Learning is subjective, so this, again, depends on your capability. There are 7 subjects to study. Here’s a link of the exam outline. In my case, I focused on Blood Banking, Immunology & Serology, and Hematology as these subjects have different scopes compared to the local board exam. I also tried to answer questionnaires in Harr, and BOC (for Blood Banking Questions only).

Q: What should I bring during the exam? What should I expect in the testing site?

A: Bring 2-3 valid I.D. and your receipt. Make sure to arrive an hour before your exam so you still have time to think clearly and prepare. I was able to skim some parts of my reviewer before entering the testing site. Inside, you are not allowed to do anything, but wait for further instructions. The people were strict, so make sure to listen well, and follow the rules. Don’t wear too much jewelries since you have to put it all in the locker together with your bag. Cellphones are not allowed inside, and you have to turn off all your gadgets before entering the testing site. For girls with long hair, bring a ponytail holder just in case they ask you to tie your hair. Calculator and a white board (where you can write your formula or calculations) are also provided. During the exam, there were only two of us  taking the MLS Exam, and the others were taking the NCLEX.

Q: How much time was given during the exam?

A: I think we were given 2 hours. There were 100 computer-generated questions that covered 7 subjects. That means, its a different exam set to every taker, but since it’s computer-generated, some questions may appear once or twice on your set. And 80-90% of the questions have also appeared on the previous exam taken by the previous takers– and that is why recalls* are very essential.

During the exam, takers are allowed go to the restroom, but take note that the time will still be running.

Q: How much points should I acquire to pass the exam?

You need to score at least 400 points out of 1,000 points to pass the exam. Every question has an equivalent point. For example, if you get an easy question, you can get 5-10 points; for difficult questions, you can earn up to 25-50 points. Make sure to study for lab panels in Blood Banking, slide pictures of RBC and WBC in Hematology, and pictures of fungi morphology in Microbiology since you can get 25-50 points per questions on these topics when you answer them correctly.

Q: I heard the computer they use has an “adaptive testing mode” program. What does it mean?

A: I’m not sure if this is true, but I think it’s possible. The first part of my exam were basic questions, and around the middle part of the exam (items #40-70-ish??), there were lots of Blood Bank panels, and case studies, which were very hard. Around the last part of the exam (items #71-100), I was getting easy to moderate levels of questions.

This means the computer may adapt depending on your need. If you still have to accumulate bigger points, the computer will throw much more difficult questions, so you can reach the passing score. If your score is above 400 points, then the computer will either give you easy or moderate questions.

Q: Do you have a strategy for passing the exam?

A: You are only given 2 hours for the exam. If you aren’t sure with your answers on some question, you may skip it by “flagging” the item. You can tick off questions you want to answer for later. Be aware of the time remaining, and make sure to review the whole set before submitting your answers.

As much as possible, be familiar with the principles and theories of blood transfusion, ABO Discrepancies, Rh blood group, and crossmatching. In my case, I was given a lot of case studies. On these questions, I was given choices like, “there is no discrepancy” , or “there is no error in the procedure”, or “There is discrepancy in AHG or IS Phase” and stuff similar to that. I also encountered questions about which blood type and why should it be transfused, (e.g. Mother is Type O -, and baby is Type A+) so answers were more like a sentence type (e.g. Type O RBCs should be given because…). I didn’t have computations in my exam set, and there were only 5-8 pictures of WBC and RBC Abnormalities given. Memorize not only the names, but also the causes for certain abnormalities.

Q: How will I know if I passed the exam? 

A: After answering the questions you flagged, and everything is already finalized, you can tell the proctor that you’re finished. The results will be revealed on the monitor afterwards. You will receive an e-mail from the ASCP about your result and score after a week or two.

Q: Can you give me recalls on the exam?

A: Unfortunately, I can’t give the recalls given by the review center since it’s not mine to share to begin with. It would be unfair for the review centers if I post their compiled recalls here. However, these are the questions (and my answers) I personally encountered during my exam.

  1. Rapid test for Legionella? Urine Ag
  2. Magnesium is monitored in case of? pre-eclampsia
  3. In Auramine-Rhodamine staining, KMNO4 acts as? quenching agent
  4. HbA1c is dependent with? RBC lifespan
  5. Anti-smooth muscle Ab is seen in? Chronic Active Hepatitis
  6. What is the next thing to do when retics are seen in smear? Stain to detect Heinz Bodies
  7. Which chemistry panel is fit for Hemolytic Anemia? Increase B1, Normal urine bilirubin, Increase urine urobilinogen
  8. Cushing Syndrome causes? Hyperglycemia
  9. Picture of Cold Agglutinin Disease asking its cause
  10. Which disease has low level of EPO? Polycythemia vera

 

*Notes:

  • Recalls are list of questions and answers encountered by previous takers of the exam
  • If you have any questions, comment below or like my facebook fan page and shoot me a message!