Tips for Taking Medical Transcription Tests

When you start looking for a medical transcription job, you will likely be faced with some testing during the application process. Understanding how the tests work and what they’re really testing is key for you to master these assessments.

Conquer the testing mind game

Pre-employment tests are a psychological challenge as much as an intellectual one. Pre-employment tests check up on your technical knowledge, but they also assess additional things, like your ability to follow instructions, deal with technical matters, and make judgment calls.

If you’re like many people, when you’re put on the spot, you may seize up to some extent and not perform to your true level. A large part of that is simply fear of the unknown. That’s why you should never apply to your first-choice employer first.

Instead, pick a potential employer farther down on your list. Apply, take its transcription test, interview as appropriate, and repeat. If you’re like most new grads, you’ll probably fail a pre-employment test or two. Rest assured that the earth will not part beneath your feet and swallow you whole should this occur.

Also, keep in mind that if the sample dictations are insanely difficult, it’s quite likely the real dictators on the account are, too. If that’s the case, ending up with a different employer may not be such a bad thing.

After you have a few rounds under your belt, it’s likely your test anxiety will be substantially reduced, and you may even have found your future employer earlier than expected.

Medical transcription knowledge assessment

The knowledge assessment is usually administered first to weed out candidates who don’t know -ectomy from -otomy or can’t easily distinguish between words like their, they’re, and there. It consists of multiple choice questions about medical terminology, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. Occasionally, a few fill-in-the-blank questions will be thrown in. It generally covers very straightforward stuff you’ll have no problem with if you’ve completed a solid MT training program.

Meet the transcription challenge

The transcription portion typically includes several sample dictations at varying levels of difficulty. At least one of them is likely to be very difficult to understand, possibly to the point where only a seasoned medical transcriptionist with samples from the same dictator to refer to could get it completely right.

Because you don’t have those, you’re really not expected to achieve perfection. Do your best to avoid leaving blanks, but keep in mind that the company may be checking what you’ll do when you encounter impossible dictation, so don’t be afraid to demonstrate!

Transcription tools to use

Web-based employment tests are usually open book, just like real transcription. Have your references at your fingertips. If you use web-based resources, open them in additional browser tabs before starting the test, so they’ll be loaded and ready to go.

When it comes to completing the transcription portion, the two things that matter most are sound quality and how much control you have over the playback process. You’ll likely get clearer sound through headphones than through your computer’s speakers, so make sure they’re plugged in and working.

If you’re able to download the sample dictation to your computer and use transcription software to transcribe it instead of playing it via your default web browser settings, you’ll almost certainly achieve vastly better sound quality than you would playing it via your default web browser settings.

You’ll also be able to speed up, slow down, and rewind the transcription files using the transcription foot pedal you used in school, which is much easier than constantly interrupting your transcription to accomplish the same things with the keyboard. If you recently graduated from a medical transcription school, you may be able to do this by using the software and foot pedal you used while training.

Many applicants are either unaware of this possibility or are unable to pull it off, so if you can do it, you’ll already have an edge over other applicants, and your recruiter will likely be impressed by how much you correctly transcribe in comparison. Hint: You don’t necessarily need to mention how you leveraged technology to do it.

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