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PCE Exam Prep Study Tips

PCE exam prep can be overwhelming. I totally get that, I’ve been there.  My biggest compliant when I was studying for the PCE was the lack of guidance on how to effectively prepare for the exam.  I had papers everywhere, course notes all over my apartment.  I had no studying guidelines, no mock exams, and no idea what I was doing.  It was so stressful! I was blindly trying to understand, retain, and apply a whole degree’s worth of knowledge in complete chaos. One simple tip would have changed this entire experience for me, and I am happy to share it with you.  Are you ready for it?  Here it is…Study to mimic the exam experience.

Yup, that’s the big secret. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Here’s 3 tips on what I mean:

1. Apply the knowledge clinically

Just being familiar with the material is not the same as understanding it. Your brain won’t retain information unless it interacts with it somehow, so reading and re-reading without practical application is no better than skimming.  The best way to apply your learning when preparing for the PCE is to apply the knowledge clinically.  Your exam is almost exclusively vignette style questions. That means every question will be based on a detailed clinical scenario, and will test your ability to apply knowledge to practice.  When you are studying, come up with 2-3 clinical questions about each topic, then use the information you are reviewing to answer each clinical question.  You can trade questions with your classmates to make a bank of practice review scenarios.  There are also several tools and social accounts that post weekly study topics to help you “hone in” on your studying.  EPE is just one PCE exam prep tool that does this.  You can find us on Instagram @epe_pt_study.

PCE exam prep on a tablet

2. Use mock exams

More and more PCE mock exam databases and resources are emerging, some of them free, but most have paid access.  The expense is worth it. Studies have shown that students who tested themselves after reviewing a topic retained up to 50% more of the material than students who opt not to take a test. Challenging small banks of multiple-choice questions at intervals between topics or review sessions has the most benefit on information retention.  EPE has built in a mini review quiz at the end of each module, and you can access banks of mini mock exams, as well as a full 200 question mock exam.  Each mock exam or question you find on EPE will be written in the same vignette style of questioning and and timed to the same allotment you will have on your actual PCE. Studying that mimics the exam experience.  (LINK:) Wondering how well you are doing in your PCE exam prep?  Take our timed Where are you at quiz here.

3. Go digital

You want to make your studying as close to the exam experience as possible.  The PCE is digital, 4 hours of multiple choice questions on a computer.  So why are you still using paper notes and textbooks?  If you can, use digital study tools and mock exams to help you review the material, and recreate the exam experience to give your brain context for the actual exam experience. Take the time to apply these few tips. They will make the exam experience more familiar, improving your recall in a stressful situation.  You got this!

Want to check out what EPE has to offer? Try if free HERE.