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Streamline Your Study for a 90-Hour Course

Woman in black shirt smiling holding a book.

First-time candidates know they need to complete 90 hours of lactation-specific education to meet the IBLCE’s exam eligibility requirements. What they don’t know is how to “streamline” their study to meet the application deadline. Let me give a few tips and a few cautions.

Get real

You might be able to shave off a few hours if you’re a fast learner. But more importantly, don’t waste time. You could end up spending 120 hours or more if you don’t use your time wisely and streamline your study.

Get set up to study

So many people lose time trying to get their stuff together before they even sit down to study. I’ve given some tips on what to do before you submit your application.

Map your plan

Instead of sitting down and moving aimlessly, make a roadmap for yourself. Figure out how many days you have, then consider how long it will take you to move through the competencies and the disciplines (and subtopics).

Build in some days off.

You can comfortably do all that you need to do in order to meet the upcoming deadline. But you do need to step on the gas, not the brake!

Tackle the content

Just diving in and reading the words is okay, but not very efficient.

I’ve suggested several ways to tackle the content. For example, I like to use the THIEVES method, but you might like the PQ4R method.

Focus on finishing

The IBLCE™ says you need to have acquired the 90 hours. They don’t say you need to have mastered the material!

Usually, there’s about 4-5 months from the application deadline until when you actually take the exam. Hence, you still have time to hunker down over the harder stuff.

If you’re taking my online 90-hour course, you must learn enough to answer the questions at the end of each unit. Those questions are much easier than the application-level items you’ll find on the IBLCE exam. But you won’t get credit for completing the course unless you can answer those end-of-unit questions correctly, so get going if you plan to streamline your study!

Speed up the audio or the video

When I calculate the number of minutes/hours it takes for people to complete the course, I assume they are listening to the audio or the video at regular speed. But that doesn’t mean you need to.

You can try listening at 1½ times the speed. If you do that with a 30-minute video, you could finish listening within 20 minutes, and streamline your study.

Read the objectives

I know, I know, people blow by the objectives. But as a very conscientious instructional designer, I am careful to match the objectives to the end-of-unit tests.

For example, if the objective says:

  • review, that means I’m assuming you already more or less know the material (usually from your healthcare science course.)
  • list, just be prepared to make a list; no details or in-depth description.
  • relate, you need to work a little harder; that means you need to be prepared to see the relationship between one concept and another.
  • compare, you’ll need to see the similarities and differences of two different things.
  • formulate, you’ll need to come up with a course of action for something, usually clinical management.

So don’t overthink the lower-level objectives (e.g., list, identify, etc.) and slow down a bit for the moderate-level objectives (e.g., relate, compare, etc.) and definitely hunker down over the higher-level objectives (e.g., formulate, generate etc.)   

Stop obsessing over how long it takes

IBLCE requires 90 hours of lactation-specific education. I use a scientifically-proven method for calculating the number of hours it will take for the reading, listening/viewing, and end-of-unit test items. Furthermore, for years, we have asked course attendees to record how long it takes them to complete the assignments.

Nearly all report 85-95 hours. There are some outliers.

There aren’t any real shortcuts to learning. Get organized with materials, content and study techniques, focus on the objectives, and keep your foot on the gas. Don’t fret about how long it will take. That just saps your energy!

How are you moving along in your 90 hours of lactation education? Have you found ways to streamline your studies? Tell me your tips in the comments below!

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3 Comments

  1. Dian Byrde

    I am finding it real difficult to settle into in good study habit, having not study for exams nearly 20 years. I am easily distracted. It is as though I am not retaining anything. I took a break over the holiday and will be starting again in a few days. Any advice? Thank you.

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Not retaining information is a common problem. I have several recommendations, but the PQ4R method is classic. You should also try Walter Pauk’s method of “recitation.” It sounds goofy, but it works for students at Cornell, and it can work for you! And speaking of “Cornell”, you might want to take Cornell Notes as you go along. To me, the real trick of staying focused and beating distraction is staying active. Hence, writing short, succinct notes, or doing recitation, keeps you active instead of just having information pass into your eyeball without making it up to your brain. Believe me, I get it! Don’t try to be perfect with these methods. Just start doing one of them and you’ll improve your focus as you go along. In my comprehensive 90-hour course, I give many objectives for each chunk. Most people blow by these, but the objective tells you what you need to get out of the material.

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