Having graduated from a training program accredited by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), the next step is to take the AAVSB Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Once you clear this exam, you’ll earn your credentials and the necessary licensing to practice as a veterinary technician

Before you begin preparing for the VTNE exam, check for the eligibility requirements outlined by your state. You’ll also want to apply to take the exam online at the AAVSB website, which requires the creation of an account. Here’s what you need to know when preparing for the exam. 

1.  Learn Everything You Can About the VTNE Exam

When signing up for the VTNE exam, you might want to take the time to find out what to expect. For instance, you’ll pay $325 for the test along with additional charges for the study materials. The exams are organized three times a year so you can plan your schedule accordingly. Students have the option of taking the three-hour test in English or French. You’ll answer a total of 170 multiple choice questions but only 150 are scored. 

A pen on answer sheet for multiple choice questions, 7 Tips for Preparing for the VTNE Exam - I Love Veterinary

2. VTNE Exams Include Study Material in Different Categories

Expect that the coursework you’ll prepare will have categories such as:

  • Laboratory procedures
  • Diagnostic imaging like x-rays and ultrasounds
  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Anesthesia
  • Performing Dental procedures
  • Pain management and analgesia
  • Surgical nursing
  • Animal care and nursing
  • Emergency medicine and critical care
  • Administering medications and vaccinations
  • Restraining animals when examining them

Vet vaccinating dog, 7 Tips for Preparing for the VTNE Exam - I Love Veterinary

3. Start Prepping and Studying Well Ahead of the Exam

Set up a schedule for preparing for the VTNE exam and start studying at least three months ahead of time. Know that the course materials are extensive and trying to cover them in say, a week or two before the exam may not be enough to score well. Create a timeframe for covering each of the topics by splitting up the topics into segments. Keep your texts, notes, and online resources organized so that you know exactly how to reference them. 

4. Get Online Prepping Tools

You can find great online tools where you can take the VTNE practice test to evaluate how well you’re prepared. The practice questions are designed specifically like the real tests to give students an overview of the expected format and the type of questions. You can also time yourself and brush up the areas where you think you’re falling behind. Some of these tools require you to subscribe while others are provided for a single session. 

5. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise, sleep, and nutritious meals are highly essential to equip and fortify your mind to function well. Drink lots of water and avoid unhealthy snacking when you’re spending long hours studying at night. You’ll also want to create a regular routine for mealtimes and study sessions that will keep you on top of the preparations.

Healthy Lifestyle concept, 7 Tips for Preparing for the VTNE Exam - I Love Veterinary

6. Integrate Better Retention Practices

Several learning strategies help you with better retention of the material. For instance, write notes by hand instead of just reading. You’ll be able to remember them better. Switch between topics from time to time so your mind can focus better. When you start to feel fatigued, try a different location for studying like in the library or the yard outside. You could also take your books to the park and study in the open for a while.

The change of scenery and fresh air helps your mind retain better. Sign up for a study group when preparing for the VTNE exam and prevent boredom by choosing different times for your learning sessions. Like, for instance, in the morning when you’re fresh from a good night’s sleep. 

Student studying in park, 7 Tips for Preparing for the VTNE Exam - I Love Veterinary

7. Try Getting Hands-On Experience

The best way to learn about any field is by getting practical hands-on experience. Look around for a clinic in your area, and volunteer a couple of hours whenever you can find the time. You’ll have the opportunity to see how experienced vets work and gain insights into the job. The small practical tips you pick up will prove invaluable when you’re giving the exam. Ask detailed questions about the typical challenges seasoned doctors faced and how they work around them.

Preparing for the VTNE exam can be a painless practice with the right tools. Use whatever strategies work best for you and you’re sure to ace the exam.