Test Prep and Its Importance

In recent years, a great debate has raged over the use of standardized testing to measure someone’s knowledge and/or ability.

Test Prep Importance

However, detractors have not come up with another way to objectively measure one student against their peers, so we’re left with them so that those who have to make admission decisions can do so, especially for highly competitive slots.


This is a prime example of the problems that college admissions professionals can face if they are left without some way to measure a potential student’s baseline education. There are over 16,000 public school districts in the United States, and that does not take into account parochial/private schools and homeschooling.

That is where these mainstays of many a high schooler’s nightmares come into play. Although they can wreak havoc upon a child’s nervous system, those charged with filling slots at a college or university need to be able to compare student A from Sacramento, California, with student B from Cincinnati, Ohio.

It can also be a determining factor in every incoming freshman’s success since they can measure a person’s need for a remedial class or two so that they don’t end up flunking out.

Long before the Internet was a thing, there were study guides, tutoring schools, and example tests using questions from previous versions. But now, kids can bring the tutors right into their own study area, and if they have a dream college that they want to attend, they just might be able to find help directly from that institution.

Med School

Now, let’s say you have finished all that work, attended your classes, received a bachelor’s degree, and decided that you want an advanced degree, say to become a physician. You’ve taken your MCAT and have been admitted into one of the excellent medical schools situated across America.

You know there is a lot of hard work ahead of you, a lot of classroom work and all sorts of science labs, but at least those stupid standardized tests are behind you, right? Not so fast.

Deciding that you wanted to be a doctor has gotten you this far, but now you face another question.

Where do you want to specialize once you get your MD? Pediatrics? Sports medicine? Somewhere along the lines of your third year in medical school, you going to have to take “shelf exams,” and you’re going to want a good place to get answers to the questions for medical students asked on them.

The tests assess a wide range of knowledge over what are viewed as the areas that build the foundations of all medical disciplines.

They are put together by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) — no, not THAT kind of medical examiner — and the results will give you and your advisors or mentors an indication of which path might be the best to pursue.

Also Read: Career Tips for After College

After Graduation

If you had graduated from law school, you would have to take the bar exam, but since you chose med school, you need to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE®). It’s not just one more standardized test that you will have to sweat through.

It’s a three-tiered system, and how well you do can determine a good deal of your career path. There are approximately 70 licensing boards representing each state/territory of the country, and they each get to set their own minimum standards.

Once you have “hung out your shingle,” you are not done with classes and learning yet, or ever during your career. Every one of those licensing jurisdictions requires continuing education (CE) on the part of their MDs, and the requirements can vary widely.

For example, Alabama requires 12 hours per year every year, while Kansas sets that to be 50 hours. The boards are free to determine the length of time between CE certifications. For example, Illinois requires 150 hours over a three-year stretch, which on average is the same as Kansas. However, you could split it up as 30/60/60 over the period.

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