If you have not already heard the news, let me be the first to share some new information about becoming a CBET. The “test” will be delivered in an electronic format beginning this spring. This change brings on many advantages for the test taker. One of the biggest advantages to the test taker is more testing sites. As the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s (AAMI’s) March 1, 2011, press release stated: “Now there will be more than 200 testing centers, compared to 30 sites for previous exams.” This will alleviate much of the stress of travel and the possible expense of hotel stays for the majority of certification seekers.
To find out where you may be able to take the test, AAMI has published all the testing sites, and all you have to do is put in your zip code and it will display the nearest testing center. While using the Web site, I punched in my zip code only to find out, much to my surprise, that the closest testing site for me would be Caldwell Community College, where I work. The Web site for testing centers is listed, along with other sites I will discuss in this article, in the sidebar below.
Another advantage that comes with the new format will be the examination period. In the past, the test has been administered on one set date. Now the test is administered in a 2-week window, and this will apply to both the spring and fall testing schedules. This spring, the testing window will begin on May 5, 2012, and run through May 19. However, you still will have to select your date and time of testing, but you are not tied to the testing date that has been established in the past. This gives you—the test taker—a little more flexibility on when you take your exam. Therefore, if your schedule does not fit the exam date, you have 2 weeks to pick an exam date that will better fit your schedule. As stated, the fall and spring tests will have the 2-week window, but, sticking with tradition, you can always take the exam at the AAMI convention, which will be held this year in Charlotte, NC.
When I first read the press release, I was very pleased with the new format and the addition of testing centers. However, it did raise many questions. For instance, is the test still 150 questions? Are the percentages of questions still the same as in the past? Has the time limit changed for the test? Will test results be available as soon as the test is complete? With all these changes and questions I had, I went straight to the source to find answers. I contacted Iman Hannon, certification manager for AAMI and the International Certification Commission (ICC). She was gracious enough to answer all my questions in an extremely timely manner. Iman relayed to me that the test is still 150 questions, so you still have to have 105 correct answers to pass. She also shared that the time limit has changed, from 4 hours to 3 hours.
IT Added to the Mix
The most important change I can see is the test itself has changed in the percentage of questions. As Iman explained, the percentages have changed because of the addition of the section of questions related to information technologies. This was bound to happen as several questions about networking have found their way onto the exam. Now, there is an official section to cover these types of questions. The new section is called Healthcare Information Technology and will cover many aspects of a BMET’s work, such as the electronic medical record (EMR), cabling, and other information that used to be considered part of the IT realm. Please see the sidebar to find the link given to me by Iman for the new test “breakdown.”
Revisiting a Question
My last concern about the new format was, would the test taker be able to review questions already answered, and could a test taker skip a question and return later during the testing time? The answer is yes. This was very reassuring, as I always advise students to answer what you know then go back to the questions where you are not sure about the answer. Often, a question later in the test may jog your memory about a former question, so being able to go back and forth in the electronic format was most important. Not only is this possible, but the new format will have the correct calculator you can use on the computer and all formulas you would need to complete the exam.
Not only did I find out about my concerns with the new testing format, Iman provided a link to see a sample of the electronic test. I strongly suggest anyone who is planning to take the test to check out the link, listed in the sidebar, that gives an idea of what to expect in this new format.
Overall, I am very pleased with the new format and the information provided by AAMI, ICC, and the Professional Testing Corp. I hope you find this information useful, and I look forward to providing more information in subsequent articles about certification. I would also like to thank Iman Hannon for providing much of this information and the links. For a more detailed look at the exam and the new format, be sure to check out the links.
John Noblitt, MAEd, CBET, is the BMET program director at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Hudson, NC. For more information, contact .