Everyone seems to think they need to set aside entire days to study. Maybe you do. But maybe you don’t, and you can have exam success in just a short time! A better strategy for exam success is to do small chunks every day. In just 30 minutes a day, you can prepare yourself well for the lactation consultant exam. Read on!
10 minutes a day
Your theme here is “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
Hunker down over the facts, basic concepts, and more. Start with terminology. I cannot overemphasize this point. Over the years, I’ve realized that many, many people miss items on the IBLCE Exam because they don’t know what the words are. If you don’t know…
- what amazia or philtrum or dysplasia is, you’d better start looking up those words.
- the difference between macromastia and hypermastia, get that straight right now.
- the meaning of a confidence interval, a p value, or a cofounding variable, you’d better look it up.
I recommend our popular flash cards app, available from the App Store and on GooglePlay. (Originally, I created flash cards for myself, then realized everyone else loved them, too!) I also offer a free resource of lactation terms you should know.
Some words, though, are more complicated than just their definitions.
- If you don’t know if leptin is a disease or a hormone or an alien space ship, get a grip on it, now.
- If you think hands-on pumping is the same as hand massage or the same as hand expression or the same as regular old, garden-variety pumping, you need to sort them all out in the next month.
- And, if you can’t write a few sentences describing to a colleague the meaning of secretory activationor biological nurturing, you’ll need to nail down the relevant information, soon!
5 minutes a day
Your theme here is “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Remember that half of the exam questions are images. They can be photos, drawings, charts, graphs, or whatever. But mostly they will be photos. Your best resource for this my Guide to Decoding Lactation Photos Workbook, along with the The Breastfeeding Atlas by Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover. Yes, they are a little pricey, but it’s well worth it. In my Decoding book, I walk you through how to tell what’s what. If you do a few pages for 5 minutes a day you’ll have much or most of it done. (I even give you questions at the end of each chapter!)
Can’t spend the bucks on the books? OK, start looking at more babies and mothers! Honestly, if you’re in an elevator with a kid, try guessing his age! Anything that exposes you to, or focuses you on the visual mode is helpful. You really, really need to start becoming familiar with images, not just words.
5 minutes a day
Your theme here is “Pursue What’s New.”
I do believe that it’s “fair game” for IBLCE to ask you for the “new” answer to a question to make sure you aren’t stuck on the “old” answer.
But over the years, I’ve realized that it’s the new topics that emerge. So for example, 10 years ago, skin-to-skin contact wasn’t such a big deal; now it is. And 10 years ago, “safe sleep” wasn’t as big of a deal as it is now. So be sure you are up-to-date on the latest issues for exam success.
9 minutes a day
Your theme here is “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”
Most people learn by doing. So pick an activity that you can do, not just read or view or listen to. If you attended my Lactation Exam Review course, you already have questions in your account. Use them, re-use them, shuffle them. Curse at them, if you wish — but do something with them! Do more than just answer those questions; read the rationale for why the right answer is right, and the wrong option is wrong.
If those questions from your course aren’t enough to keep you occupied, we have another 525 in our Practice Exams, and another 160 in our Drill Questions that you can purchase. That’s more than 750 questions, which should be more than enough to keep you busy and ensure that you’re exam-ready!
However, if you don’t enjoy answering questions, no worries, there are plenty of other things to do. Our most popular resource is our flash card set.
Funny: A woman bought the pack of flash cards that deal with research. It’s a little unusual for someone to purchase only one pack, but we didn’t say anything, and neither did she. Two weeks later, though, she called the office and said that she had bought the pack of flash cards mostly because I had said I use them myself, but she felt that flash cards were more for kids, and not for adults. After using the flash cards for several days, she realized how effective they are. She bought all of the other sets!
But here’s the thing: The flash cards work only if you do them over and over and over again until you master them. You can’t do them once and assume the information is going to stick.
But if you hate flash cards, I have plenty of other ideas for your active learning pleasure, that is. Those of you who took my Comprehensive Lactation Course will find plenty of focus questions scattered throughout the course manual. Better yet, try the matching questions. See the matching exercise for what infection is spread by what means? Try that one, for openers. (Those who took my Review course, have some focus questions and matching exercises, too, but not as many.)
1 minute a day
Your theme here is, “I’ve Got This.”
Tell yourself that you are a totally smart person, that you’ve got brains and clinical experience, and that you’ve just moved into the passing zone of this journey! Feel stressed?
Please consider hypnosis. Many people who suffer from test anxiety find fast improvement with hypnosis. We sell this hypnosis CD because we know that for many people test anxiety is a score-killer. Consider using it for exam success.
How many minutes a day do you spend studying for the exam! Tell me how you’ll achieve exam success in the comments section below!