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Why You Might Have Failed the IBCLC Exam

Failing an exam hurts. You’ve worked hard to complete all the eligibility requirements, you’ve spent hundreds of dollars to sit for the exam, you’ve taken off time from work, and studied your resources (I hope!). Yet you failed. To pass the next time, you’ll need to figure out why you failed the IBCLC exam this time.

You didn’t adequately explore the exam

Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of candidates who just didn’t know what they were getting into.

I’ve often asked candidates, “Did you download IBLCE’s Detailed Content Outline?” Very few tell me that they have.

Not knowing what you’re facing is a big clue to discovering why you failed the IBCLC Exam.

You focused on eligibility, not outcomes

Many people inquire, “How do I get my 95 hours of lactation specific education to sit for the IBCLC exam?” 

I ask them, “Do you want to sit for the exam, or do you want to actually pass the exam?”

The IBLCE’s requirement for 95 hours of lactation education is the minimum guideline for exam eligibility.

You took courses that were interesting, cheap, and convenient

It’s human nature to want to take short courses that are interesting, cheap, and convenient. Trouble is, the IBCLC exam is boring, expensive, and tough.

Many candidates use — as I liked to call it — the “hodge-podge” approach. That’s when you get 4 hours of education here, 5 hours there, and 3 hours in the next place until all of the hours add up to 95. The hours are interesting, cheap, and convenient — and sometimes, free!

This approach simply doesn’t provide the information you need. And, it’s a very likely explanation for why you failed the IBCLC exam.

When people call our office and say they failed, the first question we ask is, “Did you take a comprehensive course?” In all except a rare case or two, the answer is, “No.”

If you are facing one comprehensive exam, you need one comprehensive course! It just makes sense. Our 95-hour comprehensive Lactation Education Course is designed to help you succeed with a clear roadmap.

You sat, but you didn’t learn

Sorry to say it so bluntly, but yeah, not actually learning can be a major reason for why you failed the IBCLC exam.

If you have done nothing more than sit and passively allowed yourself to be taught, that’s not the same as learning. Very few of us can learn that way. Rather, we need to do active learning, and get feedback.

When designing a course, I pick from 5 different teaching methods. But you can do the same for yourself when you’re trying to learn the material. Take a look at those 5 different methods, and use more than one to learn your material.

You didn’t review and retain the information

Once you learn the pertinent information, you need to retain it; without a clear plan for reviewing information, you’re not likely to call up that old information when you need it.

So, let’s say you completed all your 95 hours of lactation specific education. Done! But what was most important? What did you struggle to master? What do you have trouble retaining?

Some years ago, a candidate in my review course asked me, “What is most important to study for the IBCLC Exam?” I was happy to give her — and now you — my answer!

Be mindful; reflect on why you failed the IBCLC exam

We’re happy to take phone calls or emails and help you figure out why you failed the IBCLC exam. But in the end, you’re the only one who knows that answer.

I’ve helped many people who have failed the IBCLC exam. I’ve created a special package to help those who have failed, including those who have failed more than once. I’m confident I can help you, too!

If you know of someone who has failed the IBCLC exam, please share this helpful post with them and let them know they’re not alone!

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