Exam Preparation Content
The ABA is committed to offering a written examination that is comprehensive, that tests current audiological practice, and that is valid and reliable. To that end, the ABA continuously reviews and revises its specialty certification exams.
The ABA utilizes a private testing agency that revises the specialty certification examinations on an ongoing basis to ensure it tests current audiological practice and is valid and fair to candidates.
There are several series of reviews, checks and balances to be sure candidates are given the best and fairest exam possible. Several groups of currently certified audiologists from around the country volunteer their time to work with ABA's professional testing agencie, Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), to assure a fair and credible exam.
The ABA monitors the performance of each individual test questions There are occasions when, despite all the checks and reviews that are done, that an individual test question performs differently in an actual testing situation than expected. If it appears that the questions was misleading or had more than one correct answer, the ABA may opt to allow more than one answer to be accepted as correct, or might score the question correct for everyone. This way, no candidate is unfairly penalized for a flaw in test construction.
The specialty certification exams are intended to assess your mastery of the body of knowledge required to perform pediatric audiology or cochlear implant tasks. The knowledge and tasks that are being tested are based on current practice - or what tasks professionals perform on the job. It is testing what are commonly accepted as best practices around those tasks - not how your organization or you personally carry out those duties.
The ABA specialty certification exams are generalist, baseline exams and do not focus on any one area of cochlear implants. Rather, the exam is based on the expectation that you have a basic working knowledge of a variety of techniques and practices in the specific area in which you are being tested.
No two candidates come to the exam with the same knowledge base. Since experience and educational backgrounds are unique, these differences must be taken into consideration when determining a study method. The majority of individuals become involved in some form of exam preparation. Because the exams measure mastery of the application of the body of knowledge, it is impossible to train or teach to the exam. The best preparation is to understand the knowledge requirements (the Test Content Outline) and their application to cochlear implant practice.
An audiologist who has met the eligibility requirements to sit for a specialty examination should have the knowledge needed to take and pass the examination. However, the ABA does recommend that you review the content areas covered on the exam by using the Test Content Outline. You might want to review the Test Content Outline for topics or subtopics with which you are less familiar. If you find a particular area with which you are not familiar or comfortable, that would be an area on which to focus your study or review. Or, you may want to do a surface review of all the content areas, even those you believe you know well.
How Should You Review for the Exam?
- Review the Test Content Outline against what your own personal, professional experience has been
- Once you have identified areas for review, select and read a publication off of the Resource Reading List (PDF) that addresses the areas you have identified
- Form an informal study group with other colleagues in the area who are planning to take the examination; you can benefit from the diverse experience of others and provide an alternate perspective.
- Review materials independently, determining for yourself on which content areas to focus
- Participate in more structured review environments, perhaps with individuals who are already certified in cochlear implants.
While there is not one "best way" to study, what is important is to develop your own plan for studying. Set aside some time each week for several weeks, or months, prior to the exam to devote to some form of preparation.
What is most important is that this type of review cannot be left until the last minute. A hasty, tense reading of a wealth of information will not be effective.