Becoming a Phlebotomy Technician is not as complicated as you might think. You must qualify for the examination by fulfilling specific criteria, but otherwise, the Phlebotomy Exam isn’t difficult to pass. Sitting for the exam could be a mandatory qualification for you, but it depends on the state.
Hence, if you want to work as a phlebotomist at a hospital, medical center, donation, or other places, you must know the Phlebotomy Exam. While the technical name of the exam differs from one state to another, they all cover the same topics.
Hence, you must know a vital piece of information is how these exams are graded. That will give you an idea of what to expect from the exam and what score you should aim for. This article will discuss Phlebotomy Exam scores, including the grading system and what to do if you fail.
What Does the Phlebotomy Exam Cover?
Not all states will require you to sit for an examination to acquire your phlebotomy license. However, more often than not, your state will ask for official certification. Hence, you must be aware of the different paths you can take, as there are 6 various programs offered.
These are the 6 different certifications you can acquire through the following associations:
- American Society Clinical Pathology (ASCPPhlebotomy)
- Association of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPTPhlebotomy)
- American Medical Technologists (AMTPhlebotomy)
- National Health Career Association (NHAPhlebotomy)
- American Medical Certification Association (AMCAPhlebotomy)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NNCTPhlebotomy)
Remember that all phlebotomy topics and examinations span the same outline and general information. That being said, they do differ slightly. You’ll find that each program has a somewhat different percentage for each topic, and the topics also vary slightly.
Here are the topic outlines for each examination, according to the organization:
- Circulatory System
- Specimen Collection
- Specimen Handling, Processing, and Transport
- Waives and Point-of-care Testing (POCT)
- Non-blood Specimens
- Laboratory Operations
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Blood Specimen Collection
- Non-blood Specimen Collection
- Specimen, Handling, and Processing
- Laboratory Operations
- Obtaining Blood Samples
- Specimen Collection and Processing
- Time Management and Assignment Organization
- Professional Communications
- Clerical Skills and Duties
- Safety Standards and Procedures
- Legal, Ethical, and Professional Considerations
- Terminology, Anatomy, and Physiology
- Phlebotomy Fundamentals
- Special Collections
- Routine Blood Collections
- Patient Preparation
- Safety and Compliance
- Processing Specimens
- Safety and Infection Control
- Specimen Collection and Processing
- Order and Equipment Selection
- Patient ID and Site Preparation
- Patient Care
- Quality and Professional Issues
- Infection Control and Safety
- Terms and Anatomy
- Patient ID and Site Preparation
- Collection, Problems, and Corrections
- Orders and Equipment Selection
How to Determine Phlebotomy Exam Score?
All the various phlebotomy examinations use a scaled system. Some are socred out of 500, while others are graded out of 1,000. Generally, it does not matter the scale used, as all the exams use the same grading method. However, the passing score might vary slightly.
So, how is the phlebotomy exam scored? There is a system used called the psychometric procedure. It’s a very standard setting used in routine examinations. While some exams wait for candidates to finish their exam to create the grading system, this is not applicable here.
So what happens is NHA uses a criterion-referenced standard setting. The criteria for the exam are determined before the test. Hence, the passing score is often determined before you even sit for the examination and is often a standard passing grade.
Here is the passing score for the phlebotomy exam:
- ASCP Phlebotomy: 400/999
- ASPT Phlebotomy: 70/100
- AMT Phlebotomy: 70/100
- NHA Phlebotomy: 390/500
- AMCA Phlebotomy: 69% of questions should be correctly
- NCCT Phlebotomy: 70/100
Hence, you can see the general trend. No matter which exam you’re sitting for, you’re most likely to have to answer approximately 70% of questions correctly.
What’s the Highest Score You Can Get on the Phlebotomy Exam?
All the programs have a pass or fail system, so there is a minimum score you should reach, which is discussed above. However, sometimes students are interested in what maximum score they can achieve, simply to see how proficient and robust they are when it comes to phlebotomy.
However, we all want to know the NHA phlebotomy exam’s highest score. However, there is no specific high score, as one can get all the answers correct. Hence, you shouldn’t aim to get the “highest score.” However, you can always answer all the questions correctly, but that isn’t the point of the exam.
The phlebotomy exam aims to test how confident and qualified you can become a certified professional in the field. Hence, you need to prove that you can become a professional in phlebotomy.
But is the phlebotomist test hard? Well, it all depends on how you react to taking a test. For instance, many people are incredibly nervous before an exam, often setting them off track. That’s why confidence is critical for any of the phlebotomy exams.
So keep in mind that the exam is extensive. Most phlebotomy exams take more than 2 hours. Even if the content is relatively easy, the duration can get to you. It can be very taxing and nerve-wracking sitting there for hours.
But let’s consider the statistics. Asking is the NHA phlebotomy exam hard requires some reflection on the statistics and the passing rate for the exam. The tricky part of the statistics is that NHA’s official website says that only 63% of candidates successfully pass the examination, which isn’t a high score.
However, according to some testing centers and online preparation sites, their passing rates are around 90%. That means that most candidates that prepare properly through courses and study materials have a higher chance of passing the exam simply because of the time they invest in preparing themselves.
So, what can you do about it? You might currently be freaking out, maybe because you have been scoring around 70% on your practice tests, and you’re afraid you won’t achieve the passing grade on the actual test.
The number one thing you can do is take an intense breath and figure out your game plan. That’s mainly because stressing too much about any aspect of life will most likely result in lower grades or overall performance.
What if You Fail to Pass the NHA Exam?
Don’t stress about failing once or twice, although that definitely should not be the aim. For instance, if you prepare adequately, you’ll be able to repeat the exam. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay the full fee again, and it doesn’t waver. Hence, we recommend you try your best to pass on your first attempt.
If you fail to pass the NHA exam on your first try, then it’s highly likely that you simply did not prepare properly. You haven’t tested yourself enough through past exams and phlebotomy exam practice questions. Hence, that’s the first step you need to take when preparing for the second, third, or fourth time.
If you fail the exam, here is what to expect according to the number of attempts:
- After your first attempt, you’ll have to wait for 30 days and pay the whole fee
- After your second attempt, you’ll have to wait for 30 days and pay the entire fee
- After your third attempt, you’ll have to wait for 12 months and pay the whole fee
- After your fourth attempt(or more), you’ll have to wait for 12 months and pay the entire fee
However, we offer some study and prep times. If you find yourself in such a situation, possibly failed once or twice, here is how to ensure you pass on your next attempt:
- Complete at least 2,000 sample questions before going into the exam
- Log into your online student portal through the official webpage. Then, find your report under “Results .”You can find a detailed score report there. This will tell you how to study more efficiently and which aspects to work on.
- Reach out to someone. If you know someone currently lavishing in the phlebotomy career, ask for help. You can also ask someone to help you practice and revise, maybe through some flashcards.
- Find a way to lower your stress before the exam and even while studying for the exam. While you’re preparing, you might find yourself overwhelmed and worrying about the information you’re not confident about. However, that could be a slippery slope.
Wrapping Things Up: How is the Phlebotomy Exam Scored?
All in all, the Phlebotomy Exam scoring system depends on multiple factors. However, keep in mind that the passing exam score is determined before sitting for the test. Hence, it does not really work according to a curve system. Moreover, around 90% of candidates who invest in online courses through education prep websites pass on their first attempt.
So, consider investing in the most affordable yet efficient material out there. That could include online courses, sample exams, flashcards, and study guides. Overall, the most vital preparation you can do is lower your stress levels when it comes to the exam. You can do that in numerous ways, including taking breaks, having fun studying, and being confident about your knowledge through good practice.