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
AANAC 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 AANAC takes care of the printing for you. You also have the option of learning online in the AANAClassroom with a combined PDF option of the material that you can print on your own. Or, you can attend a convenient in-person workshop in a city near you 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
Once opened, you have 90 days to complete each RAC-CT course and exam. Be sure to take your time and work on the courses one or two at a time. Don’t try to launch and attempt all 10 courses at once or you may run into a problem where some of your courses timeout before completion.
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 AANAC encourages you to do this.
Please note: You cannot seek assistance from other individuals when completing the exam. AANAC 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, and 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.
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.