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5 Disadvantages of Taking a Hodge-Podge Approach

You risk not passing the exam

When people call me and say they’ve failed the lactation consultant exam, the first thing I ask is, “Did you take a comprehensive course?” I ask that, because I know that being exposed to the right content is the first and most critical aspect of passing any exam. Anyone who doesn’t do it is losing out on a solid preparation.

Let me explain what I mean by the “hodge-podge” approach. It means that the person took 2 credits here, 3 credits there, 5 credits in another place — whatever is cheap, interesting and easy — until those hours added up to 95.

It’s easy to let the “95” number distract from the fact that it’s supposed to represent learning about the many different topics that will be on the exam.

With no previous exam experience, and no expert guidance, how could you possibly study the topics that are likely to appear on the exam? How could any candidate prepare to pass a comprehensive exam without taking a comprehensive course?  

You might “lose” your credits

What do I mean by that?  

Losing recognition

Remember, now, the person’s plan is to just keep accumulating hours until they add up to 95. However, there’s a possible down side to that. If IBLCE looks at the certificates you submit, and they decide that you’ve got a few that don’t “count” toward your 95 hours, you’re hosed!

Does it happen often? NO, honestly, it doesn’t happen often. But there is no way to tell whether they will accept or reject your hours until you’ve submitted them. By then, if you have hours that don’t count, you’ve lost money — and probably a lot of time.  

Losing your certificate

You must have a paper trail to show that you have earned all 95 of these hours.

I’ve heard all sorts of stories from people who have not been able to retrieve their course certificate, for one reason or another. One woman said her house burned. Another person said she had gotten a divorce, and her ex-husband was living in the house where the course certificate was, and she didn’t want to go back in there to get it!

You name it, I’ve heard it! One woman called and offered to buy me lunch if I could replace her course certificate from several years ago! (Luckily, I could, even without the bribe!) 

Losing count

You counted wrong!

One woman emailed us on a long weekend. She was ready to apply for the IBCLC exam, and she gathered her bunch of course certificates. She had thought she was set. But alas! She realized she had added her hours incorrectly — she had only 87 hours!

See, IBLCE doesn’t care if you have 87, or 88, or 90, or 94 ½. Unless you have all 95 hours, you’re not eligible to sit for the exam! 

You will probably pay more in the long haul

Let me show you.  

Some people see the price of a comprehensive course, and they almost choke. Let’s say the course is $1,000. People say, oh, I can’t afford that. What they really mean is that they can’t pay that money all at once. OK, well, I understand that. And that’s why we offer a payment plan for our customers.

But in the long haul, you can easily end up paying more more money with the hodge-podge approach that the comprehensive approach. And oh-the-the-way: you’re likely to be paying more money for an inferior preparation.   

You’re building your future on a foundation that is soft like sand

People tell me they want to be a professional. They tell me they don’t want just a job; they say they want a career. Okay! Then why would you get your hours here or there, whatever is cheap and convenient.  

Wouldn’t you want to be a professional who builds a rock solid foundation?  

The end game isn’t getting your hours; the end game is passing the exam

In all of the years that I’ve been doing this, the wannabees ask me, “How many hours do I need to have?” The people who have failed are just about the only ones who ask me, “What do I need to do in order to pass next time?” Oh. If only they had asked that question before they started with their hodge-podge approach!  

I’ll say it again: The IBCLCexam is a high-stakes, career-critical exam, so don’t take chances. Take a comprehensive course to ensure you know what it’s about. Hundreds of people fail the exam every year. Don’t risk being one of them.  

How do you plan to get your 95 hours? Tell me in the comments below!

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