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PCE Exam Prep Study Tips


PCE exam prep can be overwhelming. I totally get that, I’ve been there myself, and 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 study 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 PCE exam study 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 three PCE exam prep study tips that will implement this effectively:


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 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  review questions.


2. Use mock exams to study. 

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. Using multiple-choice questions while studying will help you interpret and internalize the information, which increases your understanding and ultimately your retention. EPE has incorporated a mini review quiz at the end of each module, several mini mock exams, as well as a full 200 question mock exam  (consider it mandatory to do a full mock exam before the written exam, it’s the best PCE exam prep you can get). When you are looking for mock exams and questions, try to find ones written in the same vignette-style of questioning as the actual PCE. This is critical to preparing for the exam experience. If you use only recall-style question to practice it can hurt your performance on the exam. Learn more about question styles in our blog post of question styles here.   

Wondering how well you are doing with your PCE exam prep?  Take our FREE Where Are You At quiz.


3. Go digital.

You want to make your studying as close to the exam experience as possible.  The PCE is digital, 4 hour multiple choice exam completed 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. 

Check out EPE for a digital PCE exam prep experience.

Taking the time to apply these few tips will not only make the exam experience more familiar on exam day, it will improve your recall under pressure.  You got this!

Amy Fahlman,

EPE Co-Founder