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How to Prepare Yourself for a Medical Certification Exam

How to Prepare Yourself for a Medical Certification Exam

Photo of Greta

by Greta Kviklyte

Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.

posted on Mar 18, 2015, at 9:48 pm


LET’S FACE IT: studying for medical certification exams is not an easy task. In fact, it’s a daunting task that many medical professionals put off, or simply do not do at all. This results in wasted time, money and an overall sense of discouragement. If you are a healthcare professional with a medical certification final approaching, it is crucial to adapt your study habits for success in your PALS, ACLS, or BLS certification exam.

How to Prepare for a Medical Certification Exam?

Below, we’ve listed our top 5 tips to better prepare yourself for a passing score on your final exam.

students studying together

1. Break a sweat

While regular cardiovascular physical activity seems unrelated to improved studying, researchers from The University of Texas – Dallas published a
study that found a positive correlation between regular physical activity and improved brain retention and health. Not only is cardio healthy for your physical fitness, but also it is also healthy for your brain function and cognitive abilities.

You don’t have to run five miles everyday before an exam to see the benefits. Simply jogging, swimming, dancing or cycling for just 20 minutes a day will increase your energy levels, reduce stress, and improve retention – factors in which all can increase your final medical certification exam score tremendously.

2. Don’t stuff yourself

Reaching for the extra cup of coffee as your eyelids become heavy during your 6-hour-long study session? We’ve all been there. Cramming, however, is not beneficial, especially in the long run.

Psychologist Doug Rohrer from the University of South Florida conducted a
study that tested the cramming theory. His results proved that “overlearning”, or attempting to learn more material immediately after mastering new material, is wasted time. Humans simply do not have the cognitive ability or capacity to memorize huge chunks of information at one time, and remember the information after the test.

On the other hand, interval studying works. Consider distributing your learning in periods of 20 minutes to an hour, taking multiple breaks as needed in between.

3. Catch some ZZZs

Ever pulled an “all-nighter” and still performed poorly on the exam? While many stay up all night cramming to perform better on the exam, sleep deprivation leads to absentmindedness, lethargy, irritability and an overall sense of not feeling well. According to Steve Holbrook for the
U.S News and World Report, “all-nighters” cause forgetfulness, does not work long term, will poorly affect grades, and is ineffective. Furthermore, the alertness you might feel, or your “second wind” of energy is actually a very temporary feeling of excitement prior to bedtime.

4. Change of scenery

Sick of sitting in the same spot, staring at the same thing? Spending days and nights on your desk alone can be boring and frustrating, resulting in ineffective studying for ACLS, PALS and BLS certification exams. Instead, switch it up by changing locations. Simply changing the room you’re in, or stepping outside, can make all he difference.

According to the New York Times article Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits, simply alternating rooms while studying actually improves retention.

Studying for your next medical certification exam doesn’t have to be a burden. Try implementing these simple techniques for greater success within your certification or recertification process.

We want to know: What are your favorite tips on effective studying?

About Greta

Greta is a dedicated life saver and a distinguished expert in the field of medical content creation and editing. Her impressive array of certifications in ACLS, CPR, PALS, and BLS underscores her commitment to excellence in the medical field. With over four years of invaluable experience in medical education, Greta plays an indispensable role within the Advanced Medical Certification team, shaping the way healthcare professionals around the world acquire and apply vital knowledge.

Greta's profound expertise serves as the driving force behind the development and distribution of medical content that has significantly enhanced the capabilities of countless healthcare practitioners across the globe.

In addition to her medical qualifications, Greta holds a prestigious academic distinction in Marketing and Global Business from Vilnius University. Her academic journey has been enriched by immersive studies in Slovakia and Portugal during her time as an exchange student, providing her with a global perspective that complements her medical expertise.

Beyond her professional commitments, Greta possesses a genuine passion for global exploration, with a particular focus on immersing herself in diverse cultures and appreciating the intricacies of the natural world. While residing in Vilnius, Lithuania, she continues to make substantial contributions to the field of medical education, leaving an indelible mark on the sector.

Reach out to Greta at


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