Is the ABO Test Hard?

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Are you considering a career in the field of opticianry? If yes, there are several courses to learn and exams to pass. One of such exams is the ABO certification test, an exam recognized as the entry path into the practice of opticianry. You’re probably wondering what the ABO certification course is like, what it entails, and how difficult the ABO test questions are. Don’t be scared because the test is not as difficult as many claim. It has a high pass rate and can be retaken several times. You just need to develop a preparation strategy that suits you and work hard. There are many resources available, and this guide will review some of them. But before then, let’s find out exactly what the ABO certification test is.

What is the ABO Certification Test?What is the ABO Certification Test?

ABO-NCLE is an abbreviation for The American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners. The ABO-NCLE is a nationally recognized organization charged with certificate issuance to opticians. The organization, which started issuing certificates in 1976, has become the industry standard, and all prospective opticians are required to earn their certification before practicing. It’s important to also mention that the ABO-NCLE is a nonprofit organization that has established standards of excellence for professionals dispensing eyewear.

So what’s the ABO Basic Certification

The ABO Basic Certification is the starting point for aspiring opticians. The test is designed to test your knowledge about opticianry practice before you officially begin practicing. It’s the first of the many advanced certifications you’ll earn to improve the trajectory of your professional career as an optician. Let’s mention, at this point, that the certificate is quite different from an operating license. While different states have different criteria for acquiring a license, the ABO certification is usually a common starting point. The exam you’ll pass to learn this certification is called the ABO  certification test. This article would serve as a guide that provides all the necessary information while helping you prepare for the test.

How Many Questions are in the ABO Exam?

How Many Questions are in the ABO Exam?

“How many questions are in the ABO Exam?” “is the ABO test hard?” These are questions we get from aspiring candidates every time. The American Board of Optometry Certification exam is a computer-based multiple-choice test emphasizing patient assessment and management. The test focuses on assessing clinical knowledge and skills. Therefore, its questions will mostly focus on these areas, not the didactic details.

The exam comprises 160 single-response multiple-choice questions. However, only 140 of the questions are scored. The other 20 are non-scored pilot questions. You’ll have four hours to answer all the ABO test questions without any scheduled break. But you’re permitted to take a break if you want, although your time will continue to count down.

What is a Passing Score for the ABO Exam?

What is a Passing Score for the ABO Exam?

The ABO test passing score is 70%. The National Contact Lens Examiners (CLRE) requires a passing score of 72%. However, note that the scaled score is different from the raw score. While the raw score is the total number of questions you answered correctly, the scaled score is the percentage of questions you scored correctly.

How Hard is the ABO Exam?

How Hard is the ABO Exam?

Many candidates for this exam believe it is probably more challenging than people expect, and people will likely take preparations for granted. Most candidates are already working in the field. They practice optics and expect the test to reflect the knowledge they get from their jobs every day. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case because the National Board does not only bring questions from routine practice.

But well, you only need 70% to pass, and the body places the pass rate at 63%, so you may not need to worry too much. Chances also exist that only 20-30% of the above figure just passed. This means they’d probably not have passed if they failed 2 or 3 more questions. So, it also boils down to luck.

But you don’t want to push your luck too much, do you? And that’s why you need the right ABO test prep strategies to pass. The next section of this article covers that.

5 Tips to Pass the ABO Exam

5 Tips to Pass the ABO Exam

However you choose to look at it, the truth remains that the ABO is a pretty difficult exam that needs adequate preparation. And since passing is a prerequisite for earning the ABO certification that qualifies you to enter the optometry field, you know it’s a very important exam. While there’s a significant pass rate in exams, there are still failures. And the reason for most failure stories is the lack of adequate preparations. But what preparation is adequate preparation? We’ll find out. Here are some preparatory tips to help prepare you physically and psychologically for the ABO exam. Remember to personalize the tips and only choose the ones that best suit your learning style.

Memorize Vital Information

You know this point already. You can’t take any book or material to the exam venue, but you must remember vital information. A part of the exam features questions relating to basic definitions in opticianry and would need you to remember the concepts you studied fast. You should have information like the layers of the cornea, the muscles that control the eyes’ movement, and the rules for prism, compounding, and canceling in your head before the test date.

Practice Until it Hurts 

Although the ABO questions are usually designed to vary in wording and structure, they are generally from the same topics. So contact practice can help to get you familiar with question looks. There are many websites featuring test banks of several questions designed like the ABO computer-based questions to help you. You can always become a member of one of these websites to access the questions in it for practice purposes. In addition to familiarizing you with question structures, constant practice also helps you develop the confidence you’ll need going into the exam date.

Learn to Draw The Prism Questions Out

During the exam, you’ll be given a piece of scratch paper for a reason. We guarantee that not drawing your prism questions out may set you up for failure. Since you’ve drawn it out several times during your practice, it’ll not be difficult to draw it out and detect your answers on the exam date.

Choose What Works for You

This point is for people in a class group, apprentice program, or attachment. Your class group may suggest learning methods like group studies. While this is an effective learning method, it doesn’t work for everyone. Therefore, if you’re not a fan of group study, there’s no point in joining it. Instead, find the right study technique that works for you and stick with it. This way, you’ll be able to utilize your time more efficiently and put yourself ahead of the learning curve as you prepare for the ABO exam.

Leverage Study Resources

The ABO Exam is very popular, so many resources are available for it. In the past, ABO exam candidates were urged to have one book that has it all, the System for Ophthalmic Dispensing by Brooks and Borish. But these days, there are so many other choices of study material out there.

A quick search on the internet will reveal numerous test-prep manuals with real ABO test questions, flashcards, online courses, and other multimedia combinations from recognized companies. These sources are great, and many contain core optical material presented in an easy-to-use format. So, you can pick as many as you want and use them to study and practice for the test.

Wrapping Things Up: Is the ABO Test Hard? 

There you have it, a detailed look at the ABO test. The American Board of Optometry board certification exam features 100 questions of varying difficulty. This means that some of the questions will be easy, some medium, and some challenging. While all questions carry equal marks, not all questions look the same. Therefore, we recommend breezing through the easier questions before going to the more difficult ones.

Whatever is the case, remember that you’ll need adequate ABO test prep to pass the ABO exams. This article highlights some of the best strategies to prepare for the test. But in the end, it boils down to how hungry you are to pass the exam and the level of seriousness you put into the preparatory phase. There are many resources to help, from textbooks to flashcards and practice materials. There are tons of online forums where you can find fellow candidates. Join these forums for constant updates and tips on how to go about the exams. Good luck!

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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