Pupillary Pathways

Keep Calm and Pass the NBEO

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Nov 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM
Amanda Dexter
Dr. Amanda K. Dexter received her optometric training at Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California, where she was Class of 2010 Valedictorian. She also completed a residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in San Diego, California. Dr. Dexter is the Manager and Program Coordinator for OptoPrep, the premiere online study resource for the NBEO Part I & II.

keep-calm-and-pass-your-test-7.pngNBEO Part 2 is only a couple of days away! You’ve been studying hard over the past few months to prepare for this test, you’ve had many late nights trying to juggle study time and your clinic schedule, an you’ve sacrificed spending time with your friends and family, all to make sure you are fully ready for this big day. And you are! You are smart. You are prepared. And you will do great! 

We’ve put together a few tips for you to keep you on top of your game come test day, help you manage the inevitable stress and nervousness that will ensue, and to increase your chances of successfully passing the NBEO Part 2. Good luck!

Take a Study Break

Take a break from studying the day before the NBEO. Go shopping, go out to dinner with your friends, or go for a nice hike to get some fresh air and sunshine. Do anything but stay inside and study all day. Clear your mind and get your body moving and your blood flowing. This will help to relax you and calm your nerves. 

Get Some Sleep

Being well rested is one of the most important, yet most overlooked ways to stay healthy. Studies have shown that people who get a good night’s sleep the day before a big test do better than those who stay up studying and cramming all night. Your memory recall and focus will be much better if you’ve had enough rest. Remember, your brain and body need sleep to function optimally! 

Have a Good Breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast the day of your test. Healthy food like whole-grain cereal, toast, eggs, milk, fruit and yogurt will give you an energy boost to get through the test. Avoid eating too much which can upset your stomach, and sugary or fatty foods which can make you crash in the middle of your test. 

Get Psyched Up

As you are driving to your testing center throw on your favorite tunes, turn up the volume and sing along! This will help you start the day out with a positive attitude and take a bit of the edge off. Although taking the NBEO is stressful, you should also see it as another event that will take you one step closer to becoming a doctor, and that is something to celebrate! 

Read the Questions and Answers Carefully

Read each question slowly and carefully. Pay attention to the details of each question and don’t make assumptions about what the question might be asking or implying. Also make sure that you read every answer option before making your final decision. Many questions will ask for the most common or best answer, so you may answer a question incorrectly if you don’t read all of the options. 

Address Each Question Individually

As you take the NBEO, you will find that there are several questions that you simply don’t know the answer to, and that is ok. If you don’t know an answer or get stuck, don’t obsess over it. Instead, answer the question the best you can, or skip over the question and come back to it later. Other parts of the test may actually give you some information that can help you out with prior questions you are unsure of. 

Don’t Panic! 

If you feel yourself sweating, clenching, or your mind starting to get off track, take a minute and try to relax as much as possible. Wiggle your fingers and toes, take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes. Make sure that you are sitting comfortably in your chair and keep your posture loose. Think positive thoughts and tell yourself that you can get through this. Remember that tests are made to see what you do know, and not what you don’t know. It’s ok to miss some questions; everyone will. 

Pace Yourself

Remember that each session of NBEO Part 2 consists of 175 questions to answer in 3 1/2 hours. That leaves you a little over a minute to answer each question. Some questions will take you only a few seconds, while others can take a couple of minutes. You don’t have to watch the clock for each question, but checking every half an hour or so is a good way to make sure that you are staying on track and not falling behind pace. 

Don’t Get Distracted

There will likely be a bunch of other students at the same testing center as you. Try to pretend like you are the only person in the room. If they look nervous, that could make you feel nervous. On the other hand, if they look confident it could make you wonder why it is so easy for them; like they know something that you don’t. Also, don’t get anxious if you see people finishing the test and leaving early; its not a race. Only focus on yourself and what you are doing and try to ignore everything else around you. 

Review Your Answers

If you have a few minutes left over after you have answered all of your questions, take advantage of your extra time and review your answers. You may have read a question wrong, or incorrectly clicked an answer that you didn’t mean to, so correcting obvious or careless mistakes will help boost your score. But remember, the first answer you put is more often the correct one. Don’t doubt every answer that you recheck. 

One Last Important Thing… 

Once the test is over, try not to think about it or obsess over it for a little while. Instead of worrying about something that you cannot change, reward yourself for all the hard work you put in and for making it through the test. Go and hang out with your friends or family, or do something that makes you happy. You deserve it!

-Dr. Dexter

The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®

We’ve put together a ton of great tips and tricks for studying for Part I of NBEO along with two tailored study programs that will help you thoroughly prepare for the big day. Remember, you’ve made it this far and you can totally do this!

Some of the Top 15 Tips include:

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format
  • Tackle the Weak Subjects Early
  • Start Sooner and Ease Into It
  • ...and 12 more!

NBEO Part I Study Guide The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I

Topics: NBEO, Stress, Testing