RE: Info on HT Exam

From:"Molinari, Betsy"

I also have to recommend the workbook from the Michigan Society of Histology. It was a tremendous study aid.  One of the suggestions I got from a "histonetter" (sorry I cannot remember your name) was to take a week off to organize your notes and then the week off before your exam to focus entirely on studying. I cannot emphasis the importance of studying that Peggy advises, carry your study aids with you everywhere. Also find other HT/HTL's in your area...alot of them have material that might be helpful and are usually more than willing to help, at least this was the case in my situation. A lot of these people are "histonetters" and I would like to thank them all. Good luck.

Betsy Molinari HT(ASCP)

Texas Heart Institute

Houston, Texas 77373


-----Original Message-----
From: Lee & Peggy Wenk []
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 7:07 PM
To: Banjo Adesuyi;
Subject: Re: Info on HT Exam


On the ASCP HT written exam, there are 100 questions, all multiple choice.


You will find out your score 5-10 days after the exam.


(By comparison, previous to the use of the computer - it used to be 200 questions, and took 2 months to get your scores.)


The pass mark is 400. However, this is a scaled score, which is probably different than any type of exam you have ever taken. It is NOT a percentage score. And you don't need a certain number of questions (out of the 100) correct.


Each question is rated as to its "degree of difficulty". The harder the question, the higher the degree of difficulty. The easier the question, the lower the degree of difficulty.


Theoretically, the questions could range from infinitely easy to infinitely difficult. However, asking an infinitely easy question does not help separate those people who know their histology material from those who do not, because EVERYONE would get this type of question CORRECT. Conversely, asking an infinitely hard question does not help to separate those who know their histology from those who do not, because EVERYONE would get this type of question WRONG.


So ASCP asks questions in the medium range - medium easy to medium to medium hard.


ASCP uses numbers to state how hard or easy the questions are. The range they use is 100-999. A question that has a 100 mark is a very easy question. A question with a 900 mark is a very hard question. A question with 352 is easier than a 469 which is easier than a 537, etc.


To pass, you must be able to answer questions in the 400 range or higher.


I think of it in a vertical chart.


999 - hardest












400 - minimum pass score






100 - easiest questions


So, ASCP will ask you some starting questions in various degree of difficulty ranges, to find out which ones you get right and which ones you get wrong. That will set up your approximate level of ability (300 range, 500 range, whatever). Let's say you come in at the 250 range. The computer will then ask you a slightly harder question (let's say 256). If you get that correct, it will ask you a slightly harder question (let's say 261). If you get that correct, it will ask you a harder question (say, 264). If you get it wrong, the computer will ask you an easier question (say, drop you from 261 to 258).


So, every time you get a question right, you get a harder question. Every time you get one wrong, the computer asks you an easier question. But to pass, your LAST answer/question has to be ABOVE the 400 degree of difficulty mark. If the last question/answer is below 400, you did not pass. Even if some of your questions/answers were above the 400. It comes down to the last question - but you arrived at the last question via how you answered the previous 99.


The problem is - anyone taking the exam does not know if they are answering a 200 question, or a 600 question.


The computer is designed to find out each person's level of knowledge. So by about 1/2 way through the exam, you are probably getting 1/2 of the questions right, and 1/2 wrong. Because it is right at your level of ability.


If someone didn't study hard, or didn't study the right material, and is in the 200 degree of difficulty range, they will be thinking the questions are HARD - and they ARE hard for this person, because the questions are at THIS PERSON's level of ability. If someone studied alot, or studied the right material, they may be in the 600 range, thinking the questions are hard - and they ARE hard for them, because these questions are at THEIR level of ability.


So everyone walks out of there, thinking they failed, no matter what their score is. Because the computer is testing each person at their level of ability.


In fact, the couple of people who told me that this was the easiest test they have ever taken - all failed. Of course, I know other people who said it was hard and also failed. And people who said it was hard, and did pass. But I've never heard anyone say it was easy and passed. Nearly everyone says it is hard. And nearly everyone comes out convinced they have failed.


And remember - approximately 50% of the people DO fail. And about 50% pass. This has been consistent for at least 15 years, that I've been paying attention to the scores.


So study alot. And I mean A LOT!!!! Use the Carson book, and the Sheehan. (For HTL, I would also recommend the Bancroft/Gamble book.) Learn all the reagents in each fixative and stain, and what each does. Get an atlas of histology and know what different tissues look like, what the different cells are called, what they do, and what special stains are needed to demonstrate them. Get the self-assessment exam booklets from NSH, and practice taking multiple choice question exams. Study, STUDY, STUDY!


Good luck, and hope this helps.


Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS

Schools of Histotechnology

William Beaumont Hospital

Royal Oak, MI 48073

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 7:31 PM

Subject: Info on HT Exam



  Please I want some informations on the HT- Multiple Choice Exams.  I want to know how many questions altogether in the theory paper( i.e Multiple choice)? And also what is the pass mark? And Is it possible for somebody to know the marks/scores immediately after taking the test?

     I will be very happy, If you can provide me with all these informations.

     Thanking you all for your usual co-operation.



Adesuyi Banjo.


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