How Do I Prepare for the VTNE?
Published on October 4, 2019 by arothstein
A career as a veterinary technician is an excellent choice for anyone who loves animals and wants to devote their life caring for them. A vet tech earns an Animal Science or Veterinary Technology associate degree and is certified or licensed in the state in which they live. Working as a vet tech presents a lot of challenges, but it’s one of the most rewarding careers for an animal lover. The class at the vocational school prepares you to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) exam.
What is the VTNE?
When a vet tech student has earned their associate degree, they must pass state and national exams to become a licensed veterinary technician. The VTNE or Veterinary Technician National Exam is the examination that prospective vet techs must pass to practice as a vet tech.
The AAVSB or American Association of Veterinary State Boards oversees the development and administration of the exam. However, the AAVSB isn’t responsible for credentialing vet techs. The VTNE is given to graduates of vet tech schools to test their competency to practice as a vet tech.
To take the VTNE, you must be a graduate of a veterinary technician degree program at a school that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Students have three opportunities to take the exam: in the spring, summer, or winter.
What’s Covered in the VTNE?
The VTNE is multiple-choice exam, taken online, and consists of 150 questions and 20 pilot questions. The pilot questions are included for use as test development for future exams. The pilot questions aren’t counted as part of the final grade. The exam features nine domains or areas of focus and includes:
- Animal Care and Nursing
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Emergency Medicine/Critical Care
- Laboratory Procedures
- Pain Management/Analgesia
- Pharmacy & Pharmacology
- Surgical Nursing
The nine areas are the most important for vet tech graduates working in a clinical practice. The AAVSB offers four practice versions of the VTNE that can be taken online. The tests cover material in each of the nine domains. Each of the practice tests consists of 75, multiple-choice questions. Students have 90 minutes in which to complete the test.
A selection of study guides is available to download to prepare you for the VTNE. The guides feature questions that are likely to be included on the exam.
The test prep materials vary but usually includes:
- A preview of the written exam
- Tips for answering the questions
- A comprehensive overview of each domain
- Practice questions and an answer key
Each section in VTNE study guides covers a review of the material covered under each of the nine domains.
Passing Score for the VTNE
Students receive a preliminary pass or fail grade for the VTNE when they complete the test. The scores for the VTNE are scaled and not raw. The student may receive one of two different scored, scale types, depending on the state in which they live.
The final grade for the test in some states ranges from 200 to 800. In other states, the exam is graded from 0 to 100 with a passing grade of 70. The test scores are under the jurisdiction of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Local authorities may have their own scoring requirements.
How to Prepare for the Test
Getting stressed before an exam is a normal part of student life; getting ready for the VTNE is no exception. Some of the recommendations for vet tech students to mitigate stress are taking brief breaks between study sessions and spending time with your pets. Here are some other suggestions on how to prepare for the exam.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Some students wouldn’t take this seriously, but it’s essential to keep yourself healthy. Eating properly, getting a lot of sleep, and drinking plenty of water are all essential. Eating balanced meals and avoiding a lot of junk food will give you more energy and stamina. Proper hydration is often overlooked, and dehydration has pronounced negative effects on the body and mind. Determine the amount of water you should be drinking and drink several glasses throughout the day.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep Before the Exam
It’s essential to get at least six hours of sleep the night before you take the VTNE. REM sleep aids in improving your memory and occurs later in the sleep cycle.
Stress Management Techniques
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a beneficial technique to try when your muscles are tight from too much stress. PMR is even more effective when it’s used in conjunction with deep breathing exercises. When done correctly, one should better soon after completing these techniques.
Compose a checklist or outline of what you have to study before the exam. Take extra time with any problem areas. Organize all your study materials and keep them in a place that’s readily available. Organize all your notebooks, textbooks, and materials for class and keep them in a handy place.
Write Down Your Notes
A study conducted by NPR has stated that students retain more of the information when they’re studying for exams if they write everything down. Keep a notebook available.
Take Practice Exams
There’s a variety of practice exams you can take. Some of the VTNE practice exams are designed to take one time, and others are subscription-based. A lot of the practice tests are timed, so they’re similar to taking the actual exam and give you an idea of how much time you’re going to need.
Get A Change of Scenery
An important tip is not to study at the same time each day, and don’t wait until 10 or 11 at night to study. Changing study locations will keep you from getting distracted. Study in a different location instead of just your room. Go to the library or plan to study with a friend who is also committed to minimizing distractions.
Study in Groups
The main reason that study groups work so effectively is that students can accelerate what they learn when they study with others. Quizzing each other and comparing notes are two ways that study groups accelerate learning. Students that work in groups can see how others study and take notes. Someone in the group may use different methods that make it easier to retain information.
When you study with a group and don’t understand something in the material, you can ask someone to clarify the text immediately instead of worrying about it for hours. Another excellent reason to study with a group is that they meet at specific times so you can’t put off studying.
Flashcards as a Study Aid
Flashcards are one of the most effective memory-aid tools to use when studying for an exam. One of the best things about using the cards is that you can take them with you everywhere and study at any time. A lot of sites offer digital cards that are effective for vet tech students when they’re studying for the VTNE. Another advantage of flashcards is that you can break down what you learn and explore the most relevant elements of the topic.
Learn from Instructors and Mentors
Learning from mentors and instructors is more effective than relying on what you learn from studying and class time. Learning from one modality isn’t nearly as efficient as working with a mentor. Also, talk to current vet techs and learn what worked best for them.
Eat A Good Breakfast Before the Test
A well-balanced meal before you take the test can make the difference between passing and failing. Stay away from foods and drinks that are high in carbs, sugar, and caffeine before you take the exam.
Watch Your Diet
Alcoholic beverages and foods that are high in carbs will make you feel lethargic. Snack foods and sugary drinks are not what you need before you take the test. Foods low in carbs, salads, and fresh fruits are a better alternative before you take the VTNE. Save the “goodies” for a celebration after you pass the exam.
The most effective methods of studying for the VTNE can help you retain more information and achieve a higher score. The most important things to remember to get a high score on the VTNE exam are the environment in which you study and a positive attitude. Keep distractions to a minimum when you’re studying for the VTNE exam and be realistic about your study schedule.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about how to prepare for the VTNE interest you? Need to attend a vet tech program before you take the VTNE exam? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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