Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, offers an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology that prepares students to become a certified veterinary technician by successfully completing the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The Program of Veterinary Technology has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association since 1992.
Faculty in the college’s veterinary technology program have found that the HESI Veterinary Technology Exit Exam prepares students to take the VTNE by providing a realistic simulation of computer-based testing using high-quality test questions.
The HESI Veterinary Technology Exit Exam “is a great way for students to know how they’re doing and to prepare for the VTNE exam,’ says Tricia Luddecke, BA, CVT, an Adjunct Professor in the Program of Veterinary Technology at Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. The program has been using the HESI Exit Exam since 2013. “Those who have succeeded on the HESI Exit Exam seem to do significantly better on the VTNE,’ Luddecke says.
Filling a Need
Luddecke designed a VTNE capstone review course that students would take before they sit for the board exam. “We cover the major criteria that are in the VTNE and use practice examinations to help students prepare,’ she says.
The paper/pencil based practice exams didn’t mirror the computer-based experience students would have when taking the VTNE, so Luddecke embraced the HESI Veterinary Technology Exit Exam, which follows the content outline that matches the latest VTNE. She and her students have found it to be an excellent preparation tool. “With paper/pencil oriented practice tests, the rationale is sometimes there and sometimes not,’ Luddecke says. “There are a lot of adjustments students need to make when taking a test on the computer.’
She says those adjustments include knowing how to record the answer, knowing how to navigate the website, and knowing how to use a calculator on the computer, which is something students don’t have the opportunity to do with a paper/pencil test. “The resounding reason we are using the HESI Exit Exam is that out of the 10 students who took the pilot test, three scored below the accepted score and those three also didn’t pass the VTNE,’ she says. “Those students who met the recommended score from Elsevier also passed the real VTNE as well, so I think there’s a great correlation between preparing by using that test and the grade on the board exam.’
Providing High-Quality Content
“It was great to find something that is challenging enough for the students, but isn’t so challenging that they feel overwhelmed,’ she says. “All the questions are exactly where they should be in terms of difficulty and the rationale behind the question.’
Students who miss a question can review the rationale for all the answers so they can identify if they simply misread the question or if they need to review related content. Although the accepted score is 600, Luddecke prefers her students reach the recommended score of 650 or higher so they understand their knowledge strengths and weaknesses and are well prepared. “Then they know they are fully prepared and they aren’t quite so nervous going into the real examination,’ she says.
Enhancing Student Confidence
Students completed an exit survey providing feedback about the review course. “An outstanding number of students have said that they really enjoyed the HESI exam experience,’ she notes. “They loved the fact that it was computer-based like the VTNE is, that there’s a timer involved in it, they have the four choices to pick from, and that everything was the same way the VTNE is set up, so it was great practice to prepare them for the actual test.’
Luddecke keeps in touch with many of her students after they have taken the VTNE, and says, “It’s nice to hear back from them that the HESI Exit Exam prepared them well and helped them identify areas of weakness so they could continue to prepare on their own.’
Exit Exam Reporting
Luddecke finds the reporting function for the Exit Exam valuable. “It’s very interesting to see each student’s progress,’ she says. “During the test, I can see where they are struggling.’ After the exam, she reviews aggregate and individual results for her class. “It’s nice to see things very pictorially; it makes it very clear,’ Luddecke says of the graphs that accompany the reports.