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You began preparing for this examination the first time you set foot in an athletic training class or provided healthcare during a practice session or match. The certification examination is simply a way for you to demonstrate the knowledge and clinical skills you have gained during your professional preparation. You have been exposed to a significant amount of the information that will appear on the examination during your classroom education and practical experience, but you should still take time to prepare. Your success on examination day depends on that preparation.

It is best to begin preparing well in advance of your examination date. You should think of this 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. One word of caution: Do not take the test before you are prepared. Students are often eager 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 or your motivation to study more. Wait until you have had sufficient time to prepare for the examination, even if that means delaying your examination date. Preparing well will also help you avoid the increased strain on your budget of paying the fees to retake the examination. That being said, it is best to take the examination as close to graduation as your preparation allows, while the material is still fresh.

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 familiarized yourself with the general composition and structure of the test and explored strategies for approaching the various types of questions you will encounter. In this chapter, we discuss how to make final preparations for the examination, and you will be given the tools to 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 application fee of $35 for National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) members or $60 for non-NATA members and the $300 examination fee, you should also budget for fees to travel to the testing center. (For a complete list of testing center locations, see the Castle Worldwide website at If the testing site is several hours from your school or home, you may choose to stay in a hotel near the testing site the night before your examination. Such planning allows you to arrive at the testing site well rested and without the added worry of missing your test due to unforeseen circumstances, such as oversleeping or travel ...

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