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Preparing Respiratory Care Students for the TMC Exam in an Online Environment

Preparation for the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) should start day one for respiratory care students. With classes online, this might look different from how it typically has in the past. Even though the normal delivery of education has been changed to online learning, there are still many ways students can feel confident taking the TMC.

Case Studies, Clinical Simulations and Clinical Skills

Ultimately, case studies and clinical simulations help students understand patient care through providing real-life patient management scenarios. They also allow students to prepare for a computerized test-taking experience. The clinical simulations challenge students to think about what they would do in the clinical setting and prepare them for the real-world. By experiencing the questions in case studies, the students are better prepared for the types of questions (application level and above questions) they will experience when taking the TMC. They begin to understand that the questions are not just asking for a correct answer, it’s asking for the best answer.

Clinical Skills also helps students prepare for what they might experience in the clinical setting online. It connects the classroom to the application of providing proper care in the clinical environment, giving nervous students the confidence to perform well in the field and build practice beforehand. A checklist allows students the opportunity to see how well they’ve done, and educators can use this information to give students challenges of what they may see in a controlled environment.

Practice Question Types

Content-specific assessments, like practice tests, allows your students to study and assess their knowledge. Detailed rationales for each question help students reinforce the understanding of key concepts and help to develop sound clinical reasoning skills. Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) provides a way for students to test their knowledge and can be a great way to keep students engaged online. Assign quizzing on a more regular basis to build up to practice tests to prepare them for the certification exam throughout your course or program.

For students who take these assessments or quizzes often, faculty can recommend students keep a journal with rationales for wrong questions. Oftentimes, even when they get it right and it’s a guess, they still should keep that rationale because they need to know why it was correct or incorrect. The journal can also be used as a study guide for exams.

Exam Content

Having your students download the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) detailed content outline for the TMC and the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE) at the beginning of the program gives students a view on the topics covered in class and how they will be highlighted in the certification exams. They also help the student to see what’s weighted heavier in the exam  content outline, and what students really need to know. Students who start preparing that way will feel more confident as they approach the certification exam with experience on the types of questions that are on the TMC and CSE.

To mimic the certification exam, The HESI Respiratory Care Exam is designed to be like the TMC. It also shows acceptable and recommended performance and compares it to national scores. The HESI score is a predictor of the TMC exam, and there’s a conversion score that students will see on the exam. Have students take this exam as seriously as possible so they can see how they would perform on the actual certification exam. Using this assessment tool prepares students for success when taking the certification exams.

Learn more about Elsevier's Clinical Simulations