I failed the ASCP exam

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WhiskeySlick in California

33 months ago

Sorry to hear. Most people take the test within weeks of graduating, do you think your extended time off influenced your outcome?

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ifwisheswerehorses in Centerport, New York

33 months ago

Calimedtech said: I was shocked. I have been training for three years and I took a few months off after graduating to study 6 hours a day 5 days a week for the exam and I failed........ust wanted to share this, I think I learned that too much studying for one thing can make your mind dull to it. I'm giving my mind a break...

More than likely you tried to overstudy. Which review book did you use? (or did you just rely on your school notes) The ASCP is a very comprehensive test, and if you tried to remember every single detail it will scramble your mind more. Make sure you focus on the main points in each area first. It's ok, just take it again in 3 months! This time you know how the questions are worded and how to study better. Remember it's not 40% pass, it's based on a point system that adds up to 999. If your points add up and over 400, then you pass. Easy questions are worth very little points, and hard questions are worth more points. If you answer a question wrong, you get no points. Did you noticed if you answer a easy question right, it gets harder and harder? Hence, if you constantly get easy questions(as in very general questions like what is myleoperoxidase used to stain?) then it's not a good sign. But keep trying!

Honestly, if you can not pass even though you had 3 months without work to study, I would seriously think about it before working & trying to take the test! Good Luck!

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Steph in Sampaloc, Philippines

33 months ago

I'm sorry to hear that. There's nothing wrong with letting your mind rest for a while (especially after the studying schedule you went through), but I hope you can bounce back from this soon. I guess you could maybe try using a different review book when you're ready to try again...best of luck.

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Steph in Sampaloc, Philippines

33 months ago

By the way, I don't know if you already know about this website, but I used it just for practice when I was reviewing for the exam:

www.labce.com/start.aspx

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Calimedtech

32 months ago

Whiskeyslick, everybody told me that I should take the tests right after graduation. Perhaps that did effect me. I am usually a really good independent studier though, I often do better on tests that I train myself for. I think the main problem with me was that my mind was so droned out from studying for the test day in and day out. It caused my mind to feel rejecting of the test almost, like when you eat too much of something and you just can't have anymore for a while. Haha that probably sounds ridiculous but it's what my mind was telling me.

ifwisheswerehorses, I used the CLS review book w/ the Harr author, I used this while I was training in clinicals to supplement the tests and processes I was being trained in and also during the past 3 month study period. I also used the quick review cards for CLS. The cards were helpful for reviewing equations and ranges. I also used labce.com for one month of the study session because it was mandatory for my school. I think maybe I had too many different methods for studying. Thank you for the encouragement, and awesome screen name.

Steph, thank you for the advice, I will use labce. Is that what you mainly used to study with?

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ifwisheswerehorses in Centerport, New York

32 months ago

Calimedtech said: Whiskeyslick, ever....

ifwisheswerehorses, I used the CLS review book w/ the Harr author, I used this while I was training in clinicals to supplement the tests and processes I was being trained in and also during the past 3 month study period. I also used the quick review cards for CLS. The cards were helpful for reviewing equations and ranges. I also used labce.com for one month of the study session because it was mandatory for my school. I think maybe I had too many different methods for studying. Thank you for the encouragement, and awesome screen name.

Steph, thank you for the advice, I will use labce. Is that what you mainly used to study with?

You could be right. Perhaps focus on the review cards only, and then use what you learn from your review cards to answer the questions on labce. This one you narrow your focus. But honestly, it looks like you were well prepared and I do believe you were overwhelmed when coming to test day. I would advise you not to study at all the day before the test. I have a feeling you will pass the next time! Good Luck.

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NJmedtech in Piscataway, New Jersey

32 months ago

Here is my problem and I need some serious advice. I graduated from a NACCLS accredited program over 4 years ago, and never ended up working in the lab after my rotations. Now I want to move into the lab due to flexibility with schedule. My problem is I never took my ASCP exam right away and now I am trying to study for it. Did I just wait way to long to even try? Its like relearning everything. What should I do?

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WhiskeySlick in California

32 months ago

NJmedtech in Piscataway, New Jersey said: Here is my problem and I need some serious advice. I graduated from a NACCLS accredited program over 4 years ago, and never ended up working in the lab after my rotations. Now I want to move into the lab due to flexibility with schedule. My problem is I never took my ASCP exam right away and now I am trying to study for it. Did I just wait way to long to even try? Its like relearning everything. What should I do?

Simple: relearn everything.

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samantha in Union City, California

28 months ago

i took the mls exam earlier today and my preliminary report showed "failed". i graduated a year ago from the philippines, i studied a straight six months went through three reviewers including the ascp boc study guide and also the labce online practice exams. i do admit that maybe i overstudied and completely blanked out earlier. i am also a very nervous person, i had a very stressful couple of months while studying. i will definitely retake the ex as soon as possible, tho this time... i plan on fewer study hours a day. dont want to overwhelm myself again. hopefully the next time around i wont be as nervous at all. but i amconfident in my abilities, i guess it was the nerves.

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please advice in Elizabeth, New Jersey

28 months ago

am getting ready for the ascp exam using the BOC 4th ed book, the prenticehall and review cards...however, am getting nervous because when i read the reviews online, some people are saying the BOC book is useless, others are saying it is. please would someone who succeeded advice me...what study materials did you use or would recommend? thanks.

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Ghadir Shahin in Hammonton, New Jersey

27 months ago

Calimedtech said: I was shocked. I have been training for three years and I took a few months off after graduating to study 6 hours a day 5 days a week for the exam and I failed it. I only needed a 40% and I failed. I can't believe it. A lot of stressful things happened the week before but that shouldn't have mattered, and I wasn't stressed for the exam.

I don't know what to do. I don't know if I should just get any job with my degree and then retake it and pass sometime in the future. I interviewed for lab jobs with no certification and was declined for all of them because of my lack of work experience in a lab and because I wasn't yet certified. I am shocked. It may have been from too much studying so that when I actually sat down for the exam my mind was in the drone state of not really being active for the test. Because I am really just burned out from thinking about that test. I spent three months with that on my mind, praying even, every time I began the day studying for it. I feel like I let my family down.

It's just sort of maddening, because I could have been working for those three months and making money at any job instead of studying, and I probably would have passed it. It's only a 40% to pass, I feel like a screw up. Don't let this discourage anyone, I just wanted to share this, I think I learned that too much studying for one thing can make your mind dull to it. I'm giving my mind a break...

please can i know from where did you study?

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KT(MT) in Sterling Heights, Michigan

27 months ago

OH. I also had access to some online quiz thing + the polansky flashcards. I didn't use any of those either. Sorry my previous post was so long. Haha. Just trying to help!

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jojo in Sterling Heights, Michigan

27 months ago

KT(MT) in Sterling Heights, Michigan said: OH. I also had access to some online quiz thing + the polansky flashcards. I didn't use any of those either. Sorry my previous post was so long. Haha. Just trying to help!

Hi KTmt, i was wondering which internship did you go to? i am in sterling heights as well applying for next year and im undecided on which one to go to yet. and are you looking for a job now that you passed? how is that going?

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KT(MT) in Huntington Woods, Michigan

27 months ago

I went through the MTIMPM match. If you snag a spot in any of the 4 hospitals offered in the match, you'll be golden! It doesn't matter which one. Grapevine says the majority of St. johns, beaumont, and hurleys graduating class this year all passed the first try. Idk about DMC.

I had a job within a month of graduating the internship, before I took my test. I was working in the lab + studying. Everyone in my class had jobs within 2 months.

The hard part isn't finding a job, the hard part is getting that internship and passing the exam. Focus on that.

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jojo in Sterling Heights, Michigan

27 months ago

KT(MT) in Huntington Woods, Michigan said: I went through the MTIMPM match. If you snag a spot in any of the 4 hospitals offered in the match, you'll be golden! It doesn't matter which one. Grapevine says the majority of St. johns, beaumont, and hurleys graduating class this year all passed the first try. Idk about DMC.

I had a job within a month of graduating the internship, before I took my test. I was working in the lab + studying. Everyone in my class had jobs within 2 months.

The hard part isn't finding a job, the hard part is getting that internship and passing the exam. Focus on that.

i also dont mean to be nosey, but what were the starting pay offered to you for the jobs you applied to?

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KT(MT) in Sterling Heights, Michigan

26 months ago

Everyone I know is starting out making between $19-$24/hr.

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jojo in Sterling Heights, Michigan

26 months ago

thats great, thank you

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ANA313 in Dearborn, Michigan

21 months ago

I have signed up for the ASCP exam four weeks ago and i still haven't heard anything from them yet. Anybody knows how long does it take till you get a letter from them?

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ANA313 in Dearborn, Michigan

21 months ago

I have found it hard to find a job without being certified. I have been applying for the past three months but no luck yet.

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ANA313 in Dearborn, Michigan

21 months ago

................

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jojo in Sterling Heights, Michigan

21 months ago

where did u do your internship at?

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hdeeb in Hamden, Connecticut

21 months ago

Hello there, I took my ASCP exam yesterday and I pass!!!
Now I am thinking to take another certification that's may support my situation in the career market, is there is any certification is required or preferable by employers?
Suggestions are highly welcomed.
Thank you and good luck for all.

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ANA313 in Michigan

21 months ago

Congratulations hdeeb. I am in the process of scheduling an appointment to take the ASCP. what resources did you use for studying? thank you in advance.........

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Randy in Omaha, Nebraska

21 months ago

NJmedtech in Piscataway, New Jersey said: Here is my problem and I need some serious advice. I graduated from a NACCLS accredited program over 4 years ago, and never ended up working in the lab after my rotations. Now I want to move into the lab due to flexibility with schedule. My problem is I never took my ASCP exam right away and now I am trying to study for it. Did I just wait way to long to even try? Its like relearning everything. What should I do?

This advice might be coming a little late, but here is what happened to me. I was working in the lab at the Red Cross right after graduation. Because of family reasons and working in the worst lab in town, I was not sure being a Med Tech was what I really wanted to do. I did not take the certification exam after graduation, which eveyone I know suggests you do. The reason I did not take it after graduation is because i knew i would not pass it. I did not do stellar in Med Tech school, but i did get through the program. So I ended up working in the Red Cross labs in a non-certified position making less money then a Med Tech would have. Four years later, I decided this was stupid and I should try and take the test. Besides I was runninhg out of time. You have only five years from graduation to sit for the certification test. so I paid them my 200 dollars or what ever it was, and set a date to take the test. I gave myself six months of study time. I studied about 2 hours per day, more on the week ends. I used my school notes and texts books only. I did not use any study guides. I did take a couple practice exams but i found they just discourged me since I always did poorly on them. I took the certifaction exam in July and passed on the first try with a score of 460. When I took the exam, just went through it once. I did not go back and change any of my answers and second guesse my self. When you do pass your test, you are going to impress alot of people.

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Pappenheimer Air Force Style in Dayton, Ohio

21 months ago

First off, the green BOC ASCP book is a worthless piece of you know what. That is the least rated book among MLS/CLS graduates based off on verbal feedback from my peers throughout the US. Second, internship and on bench experience with theory knowledge through books is the best teacher. Without on bench experience as a generalist you are at a disadvantage, therefore you must make up for the lack of it. You can do this by reading (for example; "Basic Routine/Principles & Techniques" by Turgeon. This covers basic bench work/routines that you will likely encounter in the ASCP MLS exam. The test is not solely on what you know, it is more of problem solving/critical thinking and analyzing, more of piecing together a puzzle <--- This you can't teach, no matter how hard you study. If you are a nervous test-taker, cannot handle time pressure plus a below average critical thinking skills, you can kiss that six-figure MLS job goodbye.

Few of my review reading lists were:

1. Outline CLS: Prentice Hall by Donna Leech
2. Bottom Line Approach by: Jarreau
3. Basic Routine Techniques by: Turgeon
4. Compiled notes from college
5. Read some specialty subject books from different sections

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TFarnon in Sparks, Nevada

20 months ago

I finished my CLS program in May 2010, and didn't sit for the exam until today. I passed the exam.

I don't think I would have done much better had I take the exam days after finishing my program, but I also don't think I would have done worse.

I did see some questions which were straight from the BOC book (maybe 5 to 10 out of 100). I also bought the online practice exam package from ASCP and the labce.com online practice exam package. I started sort of studying in January of this year when I got laid off, but I didn't spend more than an hour a night studying or taking practice tests. I used the practice tests to determine where I thought I was weakest, and then would go look up stuff (online) on the subjects I had missed questions on. I thought that the BOC book, and both practice exam packages were helpful to refresh my memory.

There were also questions on the exam that drew on my non-CLS experience. I had bachelor's degrees in biology and chemistry plus nine years' experience in a university medical research lab doing molecular biology before I entered the CLS program. I couldn't have answered some of the questions without that knowledge.

There were a fair number of questions on material I know we didn't cover in my CLS program, maybe 5 to 10 questions out of 100. And if I hadn't done a good internship in my program? I would have been sunk.

Overall, though, I simply had to take a deep breath and think my way through the less-familiar questions. I guess this is what another MT/CLS/MLS was trying to say when she emphasized having an adequate science background. If you can take what you know from all sources, rearrange it and put it together to find a sensible answer, you can pass the test.

I don't know my score yet, and to be honest I don't care. What I care about is that I passed.

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ANA313 in Michigan

20 months ago

Congratulations on passing the exam. I am scheduled to take the exam in 4 days.

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ANA313 in Michigan

20 months ago

I took my ASCP 2 hours ago and I pass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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MedTek in Michigan

20 months ago

Hello,

I applied for a full time medical technologist position and was called for an interview and everything went well. There are 2 positions available, a full time and a contingent. The start date for the full is the third week of May and the contingent position is as soon as possible. I was offered the contingent position instead of the full time and I don't know if i should accept it. It will be my first job as med tech and I am just confused why would they offer me the contingent instead of the other position i applied for. Any insights would be helpful............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lot in Torrance, California

20 months ago

TFarnon in Sparks, Nevada said: I finished my CLS program in May 2010, and didn't sit for the exam until today. I passed the exam.

I don't think I would have done much better had I take the exam days after finishing my program, but I also don't think I would have done worse.

I did see some questions which were straight from the BOC book (maybe 5 to 10 out of 100). I also bought the online practice exam package from ASCP and the labce.com online practice exam package. I started sort of studying in January of this year when I got laid off, but I didn't spend more than an hour a night studying or taking practice tests. I used the practice tests to determine where I thought I was weakest, and then would go look up stuff (online) on the subjects I had missed questions on. I thought that the BOC book, and both practice exam packages were helpful to refresh my memory.

There were also questions on the exam that drew on my non-CLS experience. I had bachelor's degrees in biology and chemistry plus nine years' experience in a university medical research lab doing molecular biology before I entered the CLS program. I couldn't have answered some of the questions without that knowledge.

There were a fair number of questions on material I know we didn't cover in my CLS program, maybe 5 to 10 questions out of 100. And if I hadn't done a good internship in my program? I would have been sunk.

Overall, though, I simply had to take a deep breath and think my way through the less-familiar questions. I guess this is what another MT/CLS/MLS was trying to say when she emphasized having an adequate science background. If you can take what you know from all sources, rearrange it and put it together to find a sensible answer, you can pass the test.

I don't know my score yet, and to be honest I don't care. What I care about is that I passed.

Hey TF! Congratulations on passing. Is it possible to work in Nevada having only CLS certificate? Thanks!

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TFarnon in Sparks, Nevada

20 months ago

In addition to passing the exam, you have to have the education (certificate or degree) and/or MLT plus 1 year training in order to be licensed by the state. If you "only" have the CLS certificate plus a bachelor's degree in a related field (e.g. biology, biochemistry or chemistry, you may have to call and speak to the people in the state licensing agency directly to clarify that your certificate (assuming the program was long enough) is the relevant training as required by statute. I don't know what the situation is for non-US certificates or degrees.

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astar13 in Fargo, North Dakota

18 months ago

Hi,

I graduated in August of 2009 and went directly into Graduate school for a masters program in another clinical field. I did work one year as an MT as board eligible right after graduation in 2009 and then moved on to clinical rotations for my new career. Well years went by until I decided to get certified for a number of reasons. One was for a fall back career and another was so that I legally can do ABGs in the operating room at a moments notice. I first started this endeavor of studying 6 months ago the feeling of having to climb a mountain. Honestly, it was enjoyable to review laboratory science post school years. I failed the first test by 4 points 396 with a weakness in Micro (poopy) and laboratory operations. So.... I studied harder on those subjects. Took the test again and failed by 6 points with my strong points in Micro and laboratory science and my new weak points in Blood bank and Micro. I decided to do more broad studying and try not to focus too much on details. It worked. I took the exam today and I passed. I don't know my score yet.

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Shelly Willems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

18 months ago

LOL, would you say 8, 10, sometimes 12 hours a day for the past 11 days and planning on doing that for 4 more days is too much? I just don't ever want to study again!

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G Tues in Chicago, Illinois

8 months ago

ANA313 in Dearborn, Michigan said: I have signed up for the ASCP exam four weeks ago and i still haven't heard anything from them yet. Anybody knows how long does it take till you get a letter from them?

The customer service is truly atrocious at ASCP; getting through to a human much less the appropriate human... (Jean M Dillon manager)

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LC in San Luis Obispo, California

8 months ago

I Failed my first time :( but passed my second. Use the study method at myascpstudyguide.com. Everyone studies different and the resources ASCP gives are horrible...

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proteus_mirabilis in Staten Island, New York

8 months ago

taking my test this coming week...getting like 70% on the practice exam and like 53% on the adaptive test...i am not sure that i am well prepared to take the exam

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MLT_girl in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

7 months ago

OMG, I'm taking my mlt exam next week and I'm so nervous. I don't know if I'm going to pass this time again. The first time when I take the exam, I was so nervous that I only take 40 mins to do the exam and I failed. So, I took a 6 months break since I don't have money to retake the exam. What do I do to calm my nervousness?

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proteus_mirabilis in Staten Island, New York

7 months ago

good news guy i passed...still don't know how i did it. labce does teach you how to make educated guesses

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melech19 in Lebanon, New Hampshire

7 months ago

I would recommend the book by Lela Buckingham, 2nd edition. As far as any one source goes, this should serve you well. The two books co-edited by Greg Tsongalis, as well as the 5th edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell by Alberts et al. complement Buckingham.

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melech19 in Lebanon, New Hampshire

7 months ago

Also, I spent as much time as possible for 2.5 months to learn the basics (Alberts) through all the sophisticated techniques (Buckingham, Tsongalis) for the MB exam. You really have to know everything, as some of the questions ask about specific viral strains, for example which of 4 HPV strains leads to ovarian cancer, and which strain of HCV is easiest to treat and which most difficult. Also, the number or triplet repeats that determine Fragile X syndrome and Huntington Disease and which technique you would use to quantify the repeats: Southern, PCR, dideoxy-sequencing, etc. The latest edition of Thompson and Thompson Medical Genetics is helpful in the sense that it has about 43 case studies of various diseases, in addition to other didactic material. Spending too much time with it, however, leads you too far astray.

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MilainRI in East Greenwich, Rhode Island

7 months ago

melech19 in Lebanon, New Hampshire said: Also, I spent as much time as possible for 2.5 months to learn the basics (Alberts) through all the sophisticated techniques (Buckingham, Tsongalis) for the MB exam. You really have to know everything, as some of the questions ask about specific viral strains, for example which of 4 HPV strains leads to ovarian cancer, and which strain of HCV is easiest to treat and which most difficult. Also, the number or triplet repeats that determine Fragile X syndrome and Huntington Disease and which technique you would use to quantify the repeats: Southern, PCR, dideoxy-sequencing, etc. The latest edition of Thompson and Thompson Medical Genetics is helpful in the sense that it has about 43 case studies of various diseases, in addition to other didactic material. Spending too much time with it, however, leads you too far astray.

thanks for this great information!!! I would like to take the mb(ascp) but have never worked in it, I am a MT(ASCP) so it will purely be book study- I have all the references you suggest (my employer has them for me to borrow) any other suggestions? Would appreciate any other tips you have/used to help you? It seems so overwhelming to study for this? thanks and congrats on passing your mb(ascp)!!!

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melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire

7 months ago

Thanks. The only reason I took the exam was to make a transition from basic research to a clinical molecular diagnostics. I have a Ph.D. in pharmacology and have worked 28 years in an academic molecular biology setting, but still had to use route 3 in order to apply for the MB exam. Also, much to my surprise, my basic science knowledge provided at most about 25-30% of what I needed to pass this exam. Many of the PCR- and hybridization-based assays, as well as the licensure-related lab procedures, I had never heard of. In any event, my research career is over due to funding issues, and I have not heard from the molecular diagnostics places to which I have applied.

Again, if you know Buckingham inside and out, I think you should pass the exam. Also know your DNA polymerases (not covered in detail in Buckingham)! They ask several questions about the functions of DNA polymerases alpha through epsilon, designations I had never learned. They show you a picture of a replicating piece of double-stranded DNA and ask you which polymerase is priming, extending, proof-reading, whether on the leading or the lagging strand. Also, know the polymerase that replicates mitochondrial DNA, and be thoroughly familiar with mitochondrial gene, itself.

Regarding diseases, know the location of nt and aa mutations for the common ones like Leiden V and Hb in sickle cell, and how you would determine the number of triplet repeats in Huntington, Fragile X. Also, know the cut-off number of repeats that are necessary to consider these genes pathological. Know parentage/paternity graphs. Whatever you don't think you understand, refer to Alberts. In fact, I would suggest you read the related chapters in Alberts to get a good grounding and to allow the other books to make sense to you.

As they suggest, don't cram at the last minute. Allow yourself the ~ full 3 months to study several hours a day so that the material becomes second hand to you. Be rested on exam day!

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Blue in New York, New York

7 months ago

Is it easy to get a new graduate job in nyc?

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melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire

7 months ago

Blue in New York, New York said: Is it easy to get a new graduate job in nyc?

If there were, and it paid enough, I would jump at. I can't find anything, myself. There are few jobs that can cover housing expenses.

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Chris in New York, New York

7 months ago

melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire said: If there were, and it paid enough, I would jump at. I can't find anything, myself. There are few jobs that can cover housing expenses.

But you live in New Hampshire?

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melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire

7 months ago

Yes, but there are few opportunities hear. I have been looking at the NY metropolitan area.

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chris in New York, New York

7 months ago

melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire said: Yes, but there are few opportunities hear. I have been looking at the NY metropolitan area.

How long have you been looking? No luck whatsoever finding an entry level job in nyc?

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melech19 in Hanover, New Hampshire

7 months ago

Well, I have a Ph.D. in academia, but I have already lost my track record with regard to publications and grants. Although, I now have an MB certification for ASCP, I can only enter that field as a technologist, as a level equal to someone with an associates or BS. Since I don't have clinical experience, I can't even enter the molecular diagnostics area. It was all a shot in the dark, but I can see there is no future in what I did.

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Chris in New York, New York

7 months ago

If you have a phd why not with a pharmaceutical company like Merck? You can't get an entry level job as a technologist?

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Pappenheimer in Wappingers Falls, New York

6 months ago

proteus_mirabilis in Staten Island, New York said: good news guy i passed...still don't know how i did it. labce does teach you how to make educated guesses

Did you get your official results yet? I'm taking the exam in (basically) 2 days (I take it on Tuesday), and I'm trying to see how much of a chance I've got. I've been primarily been using Polansky's cards, Sawyer's review book, and LabCE, and I've discussed select topics with a friend. On LabCE, I've been averaging 54% on the CATs and 68% on the other exams. I graduated only 2 weeks ago (though I completed my clinicals back in early December).

I'm just really nervous now.

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