You know that an AMT certification exam asks you to answer a lot of questions, but you probably have your own questions about the exam. Read this insider's view of exam questions and how they are composed.
By Jeff Lavender, MT(AMT)
When I was preparing to take a professional certification exam, I wondered how the questions would appear and if I was prepared to answer.
Now that I have passed the exams, and also serve on AMT committees that help develop the certifications’ test questions, I would like to share a few insights into how AMT's exams are developed. Ideally, this may give you some reassurance that your test is rigorous but fair, which is why so many people want AMT certification.
I am currently active on the Examination, Qualification and Standards (EQS) committees that develop, write, and review and revise the exam questions for RPT, RMA, and CMLA. We work on the questions. The statistical analyses and outcomes reporting is managed by the PhD-level professional psychometricians who are on staff with AMT. Here is some insider information on how we develop those questions. (What I'm about to say applies to all AMT exams, not just the disciplines for which I serve currently).
Unlike some certification exams out there for allied health, AMT's exams are intentionally focused on real-world tasks rather than theory or academic topics. Questions are written based on the tasks that it’s expected you could perform on the job. In other words, we aren't going to necessarily test you on everything you learned in school, especially theory.
For reference to those test topics, AMT makes available the exam outlines. (These are the most downloaded documents from the AMT website, by the way.) All the exam questions fall under the bullets on the outline. You can find the outlines here.
Each test question is carefully crafted to be understood in a positive, straight forward manner. It is never our intention to "trick" you, but rather to ensure that you have the basic, entry-level knowledge to perform your job. There are no "negative” questions. Negative questions are those that have as answers “all of the following except,” or “which of the following is NOT.” None of the answers are “all of the above” or “none of the above.” Typically, AMT exams don’t include True/False questions. Please note that these are general rules for questions. Occasionally, one might appear, but it’s our intention to keep questions as straight-forward and clear as possible.
None of the questions are written to be answered as essay, short-answer, or fill-in-the-blank. They are all multiple-choice questions. The best way to answer these is to completely read the question, then read all the choices. Next, eliminate the choices you know are wrong. Finally, select the best answer remaining. By eliminating the known wrong answers first, you increase your odds of answering correctly if you don't know the answer right away.
Essentially, my message is that if you know the material, there is no reason to not answer the questions correctly. Relax, take a deep breath, and just tell us what you know.
Jeff Lavender MBA, MT(AMT) is a past president of the AMT board of directors. In addition to currently serving on EQS committees with AMT, he teaches the didactic portion of phlebotomy for medical assistants and edits and manages an online phlebotomy course.