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