You began preparing for this examination the first time you set foot in an athletic training class or covered a practice or game. The certification examination reflects the culmination of your knowledge and clinical skills. Although you should have been exposed to a significant amount of the information that will appear on the examination during the course of your classroom education and practical experience, you should still take time to prepare for it. Your success on test day depends on that preparation.
It is best to begin preparing well in advance of the test date. This process may be considered as "refreshing" the knowledge you have already gained. "Cramming" information just before the examination is discouraged because it could result in more confusion than learning. Do not take the test before you are prepared. Students are often anxious to take the examination as soon as they are eligible, but being eligible is not the same as being prepared. Taking the examination before you are prepared could result in failure, which does nothing to help your confidence, your motivation to study more, or your bank balance. Wait until you have had sufficient time to prepare for the examination, even if that means delaying the examination date. Preparing well will also help you avoid the increased strain on your budget of paying the fees to retake the exam if you are unsuccessful on your first attempt. That being said, it is best to take the examination as close to graduation as your preparation allows while the material is still fresh. Being away from the material for too long may have a negative effect on outcome.
Do not view the examination as an obstacle. Rather, view it as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of athletic training. The right frame of mind is essential for success. You have already started your preparation by familiarizing yourself with the general composition and structure of the test, as discussed in Chapter 3. In this chapter we discuss how to make final preparations for the examination and create a study plan to help you achieve your goals.
One of the first steps in preparing is to create a budget. In addition to the approximate $300 cost of registering for the exam, you should also budget for fees to travel to the testing center. (For a complete list of testing center locations, see the CASTLE Worldwide Web site at www.castleworldwide.com.) If the testing site is several hours from your school or home, you may choose to spend the night in a hotel near the testing site the night before. Such planning allows you to arrive at the testing site well rested, and you will not have to worry about missing your test due to unforeseen circumstances, such as oversleeping or travel delays due to weather or accidents.