Achieving your Resident Assessment Coordinator—Certified (RAC-CT®) certification is a tremendous accomplishment for a nurse assessment coordinator in long-term care; however, the road isn’t easy. It takes hours of studying, in-depth learning and critical thinking, and focus to complete the 10 courses and pass the exams. If you are considering embarking on your certification journey or are working through the process already, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you work toward earning your RAC-CT.
1. Choose the Format that Fits Your Learning Style
AAPACN offers multiple formats to provide you with options for your best learning experience. If you prefer to read on paper, there are printed manuals you can read, and AAPACN takes care of the printing for you. You also have the option of learning online with a combined PDF option of the material that you can print on your own. Also, AAPACN offers in-person and virtual workshops. You can attend a convenient in-person workshop in a city near you or a virtual workshop from the convenience of your own home for a more social learning experience with a Master Teacher.
Choosing the right format with your preferred learning style will help you navigate the material easier and boost your quality of learning.
2. Have a Dedicated Learning Time and Environment
Before you even get started, make sure to dedicate a block of time where you won’t be interrupted and find an environment conducive to learning. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a study environment:
- Don’t try to study at work in between tasks. There’s too much going on, and you’re less likely to absorb the material.
- Make sure your space is clear of clutter. Having a clean desk and room to work in can often help clear away distractions and boost your mind toward learning.
- Don’t get distracted by social media. (Unless it’s by people cheering you on as you work toward this goal. If that’s the case, thank them for their support quickly and get back to studying as soon as you can).
- Find the atmosphere that works best for you, whether that’s a quiet space or a room full of people or one with music playing.
3. Pace Yourself
All education content has a one-year expiration from the time of purchase. Each RAC-CT course has an associated exam that you have three attempts to pass. If you exhaust the three attempts, you can request an additional three attempts. If you do not pass after six attempts, you will need to wait one year before taking the certification exam again.
The exam is not timed, and you do not have to complete it in one sitting. All exams are auto-saved. That means that while you are working within the exam, it automatically saves periodically as you are going through it. If you need to close the exam and walk away, when you return, it will ask you if you want to resume.
Also, be sure to take breaks and reflect on the information presented to you. You don’t want to get overwhelmed, and the exams require a lot of critical thinking. The answers will not be handed to you directly in the content, so take time to consider what you are learning.
4. Utilize Your Approved Resources
The RAC-CT exams are an open-book format. You are able to refer to your online materials, the RAI User’s Manual, workshop PowerPoints, and printed manuals to review the lessons that you learned, and AAPACN encourages you to do this.
Please note: You cannot seek assistance from other individuals when completing the exam. AAPACN does not tolerate cheating or any breach of academic or professional ethics that may compromise the security or integrity of its exams.
5. Don’t Try Back-to-Back Exam Attempts
What if you attempted your first exam and despite all your preparation, you failed it? Don’t get discouraged! The RAC-CT is a very difficult certification in the long-term care field; however, you do get three exam attempts per course.
If you fail an exam, do not try to immediately retake it. Most people who attempt this method fail their second attempt. It is better to go back to studying and then retake the exam again in a few days when you are ready.
Remember, the RAC-CT certification is meant to challenge you. It is hard because it is valuable. It is a verification of your mastery of the RAI process and MDS knowledge required to perform your job well. It is designed for your professional growth and development. When you finally pass your exams, take pride in knowing this is a huge achievement and you worked so hard to get here. YOU DID IT! Be proud. You are RAC-CT!
Review the RAC-CT Candidate Handbook to learn more about this certification before you get started, including the Body of Knowledge, who is eligible to take the exams, and recertification requirements.