20 Test-Taking Tips for Your Next Exam

Taking exams can be challenging for many people. Some may have trouble memorizing information, while others may experience anxiety related to taking tests.

We understand this, and we’re here to help! We have compiled a list of 20 test-taking tips to help you do better on your next exam. Read on to discover our top tips!

Tip #1: Schedule numerous study sessions to review the exam material. Giving yourself plenty of time to study will help you better learn and retain the information for your exam.

Tip #2: Utilize different study methods like flashcards, visual images, reading the material, practicing problems, review your notes, and teaching the topic to someone else.

Tip #3: Choose a study location that is quiet and free from distractions, like the library or a quiet room at home. It’s hard to stay focused on studying for your test when you are constantly being interrupted.

Tip #4: Find a study buddy or join a study group and work together to prepare for your exam. If possible, find someone who is preparing for the same exam as you, so you can help each other study.

Tip #5: Reduce test anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, picturing happy places, and thinking happy thoughts. It’s hard to focus on studying when you are super stressed out about the exam.

Tip #6: Give yourself positive affirmations and visualize yourself doing well on the test. You can say things like, “I am relaxed and fully prepared to take the exam” or “I am going to do great on the test”.

Tip #7: Get a good night’s sleep before your exam so that you will be awake, refreshed, and ready to go. It’s hard to think clearly when we don’t get enough sleep, so this is essential to do before a test.

Tip #8: Eat a healthy meal before taking your test, as this will give you the energy you need to focus. Try to stay away from too much sugar. While sugar gives you energy at first, you then feel a crash where you have reduced energy, and you don’t want to crash during your exam.

Tip #9: Stay hydrated by drinking water before your exam. Our bodies use water for many functions and without enough of it, things do not work properly. For example, dehydration can cause headaches, and a headache is the last thing you want when taking a test.

Tip #10: Be on time or early for the exam if possible, so you have a moment to relax and clear your thoughts before taking the test. This also gives you the chance to ask any last-minute questions.

Tip #11: Have all the necessary supplies you will need to successfully complete your exam. This could include things like a pencil, calculator, notebook for working out problems or writing essay responses, your class notes, or something else.

Tip #12: Maintain a positive attitude before, during, and after you take your text. Having a positive attitude can help you be more relaxed, reduce your test anxiety, and give you more confidence.

Tip #13: Carefully read the directions for the test and for each question before you answer it. It’s easy to get answers wrong when you don’t fully understand the directions.

Tip #14: Briefly look over the entire exam before you begin. This will help give you an idea of how much time you have to spend on each question or section of questions.

Tip #15: Skip hard questions and return to them after completing all the other questions on the test. Spending too much time on the hard questions as you go may not leave you enough time to complete the whole exam.

Tip #16: Don’t let yourself get frustrated while you are taking the exam, even if you do not know all the answers. When we get frustrated, we don’t think as clearly, and this can prevent us from doing our best on the test.

Tip #17: Choose the answer that makes the most sense to you If you have no idea what it could be and have to guess. It’s better to at least try instead of just leaving the answer blank.

Tip #18: Leave time to review your answers at the end of the exam. Leaving extra time to go back and look everything over can help ensure that you haven’t missed any questions and have completed all parts of the exam correctly.

Tip #19: Do something for yourself after the exam to help relieve any stress you are feeling. It could be something like a relaxing nature walk, hanging out with friends, or watching your favorite TV show.

Tip #20: Review your results when you receive your test back. Think about what worked well and what you could do better next time. Then, take this information and use it when preparing for your next exam.

We hope these tips will help you create good study habits, manage text anxiety, prepare for your exams, and give you the confidence to succeed at taking them!

If you’re looking for a school that offers academic support personalized to you, then United Career Institute may be a great choice! Learn more about our healthcare programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Billing/Administration. Contact us today to get started!

Advantages of Practical Nursing

If you have always dreamed of becoming a nurse, starting a career in practical nursing may be the perfect choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you have the opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives every day when you go to work.

There are many advantages of choosing a career in practical nursing, such as being able to start your career quicker, the opportunity to advance your nursing career, and enjoying more meaningful work.

Start Your Career Quicker

One of the top advantages for those who want to become a licensed practical nurse is the ability to start their career quicker. Most practical nursing programs are completed in 12 months, which means that you can finish school and graduate faster.
In comparison, many other healthcare degree programs take years to complete. Nursing programs at more traditional schools require years of general education classes before you are even accepted into nursing school, with many never being accepted at all.

At United, we designed our Practical Nursing program to be direct admission. This means that you don’t have to waste precious time and money taking years of general education classes. For those who are accepted into the Practical Nursing program at United, you will start your nursing classes immediately. Our direct admission policy allows you to get into your dream nursing career faster.

Advance Your Nursing Career

There is a positive job outlook for those who choose to pursue a career as a practical nurse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about 60,700 job openings for licensed practical nurses on average each year for the next decade in the United States. The growth rate for LPNs during the same time period is projected to be 9%, which means healthcare employers will need to hire even more LPNs in the future.

Starting your healthcare career as a licensed practical nurse gives you the opportunity for upward career mobility in the future. Since those choosing a career as an LPN are able to finish school so quickly and get started in their careers sooner, they gain valuable real-world experience that will be extremely helpful in any future educational pursuits.

For example, some people start their careers as an LPN and work for a couple years, and then go back to school to earn a degree in registered nursing. With LPN to RN bridge programs, this process can be even more streamlined. For those who want to go even further, there are also nursing master’s degrees that you could pursue.

Enjoy More Meaningful Work

Another top advantage of becoming an LPN is the opportunity to enjoy more meaningful and fulfilling work. When people are having health issues and interacting with healthcare professionals, this is when they need supported the most. As a nurse, you can offer your patients the kindness, compassion, and caring nature that will make a huge difference for them in tough moments.

Nurses not only get to provide comfort to their patients, but they also get to empower them and their families to take care of their health. For example, if a patient comes in with an open wound, as a nurse you will care for the wound and instruct the patient how to care for the wound themselves once they get home. By empowering the patient with information on how to correctly care for their wound at home, you are lessening the chance of complications like an infection.

United’s Practical Nursing Program

Our direct admission Practical Nursing program here at United offers students the ability to train for a new career as a licensed practical nurse and graduate in only 12 months. Students complete comprehensive nursing courses and are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN* exam.

While completing their practical nursing training, students learn a variety of hands-on skills including how to conduct physical assessments, care for wounds, perform IV therapy, monitor vital signs, collect medical specimens, and perform routine lab tests.

Upon graduation, practical nursing professionals have the opportunity to work in different types of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, doctor’s offices, and long-term care facilities.

We offer Practical Nursing programs at both our Irwin Campus and our Mt. Braddock Campus, so you can train for your new career closer to home. Contact us today to start your path to an exciting practical nursing career!


*Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

Aileen Luckowski – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to one of our co-Students of the Month, Aileen Luckowski! Aileen is a Practical Nursing student at United Career Institute.

While she has attended other post-secondary institutions, Aileen felt that United was her best option. “I’ve attended post-secondary education before, but I really felt like United being a smaller campus, was best for my learning style,” she said.

Prior to enrolling in United’s Practical Nursing program, Aileen was working a steady job, but she constantly felt that she needed more from her life. “Before I decided to attend United, I was working full time as a VIP Butler at a casino.  Although it was a very financially stable job, I left every day feeling as if I was meant to do something much more in life, which is why I chose to pursue Nursing. I chose Nursing because I want to help people and know I make a difference every day,” she said.

Aileen did her homework when it came to choosing nursing schools. She loved that she could get a very well-rounded education at United. She said, “I chose United because of their excellent NCLEX- PN* pass rates, small class sizes, and knowledgeable instructors.  The instructors came from all aspects of nursing, so I knew I’d get an in-depth education.  There was no other institution around that offered instructors with OR, maternity, pediatrics, behavioral health, and long-term care experience all under one roof.”

In addition to the well-rounded education she receives, Aileen chose United because of the small school atmosphere. “My favorite part of attending United would probably be the home-like classroom experience. Larger schools sit you in a large lecture hall, and you’re really just a number,” she said.

Aileen graduates from United in a few short weeks, and she is so excited to share that she already has a job lined up! “My ideal job after graduation would be in an emergency department. Luckily, with the skills I’ve attained at United, I’ve already been offered and accepted a full-time position in my local hospital’s emergency department.  It’s a great feeling knowing that in a little over a month, I’ll be graduated and starting my nursing career in the department I had my sights set on,” she said.

Although she is almost done with her United experience, Aileen still has big goals for her educational future! “In five years, I’d like to be beginning my Master’s Program for Family Nurse Practitioner,” she says.

As a final thought, Aileen said, “I would refer friends to United because I myself am a success story considering I’m in my late 30’s with a teenager, and I was able to do this program with the backing of great instructors and a good classmate support system.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request information here!

*Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

Sakya Baker – Student Highlight

Practical Nursing student, Sakya Baker, began her journey with United Career Institute in April 2021. United is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an important advantage in Sakya’s search for schools. Another reason Sakya chose United was the location. The campus is located on Lincoln Highway in Irwin and is easily accessible from the turnpike and surrounding areas in Westmoreland County.

Before attending United, Sakya was a CNA for 15 years. She always wanted to further her education but did not feel she had the support system. Now she’s got her amazing support system and an 11-year-old daughter cheering her on! Sakya says, “a big part of her support system is the staff members at United Career Institute, who really want to see you succeed.”

United Career Institute prides itself on having supportive instructors with experience working in their respective fields. One of those staff members is nursing instructor Tina Fenyus, who teaches Sakya’s favorite classes. When asked why she said it is because “she is passionate about nursing and genuinely wants you to succeed.”

After graduating, Sakya hopes to work in a long-term care facility as an LPN where she will get to use the knowledge and skills United taught her. When asked where Sakya would like her life to be in five years, she said she would like to follow in the footsteps of her favorite instructor, Tina! Sakya said, “I plan to further my education and eventually become a nursing instructor.” Having a caring and encouraging instructor is a major reason Sakya would recommend United Career Institute to a friend or family member.

If you are interested in learning more about United, request information here!

Being an Essential Healthcare Worker in a Post-COVID World

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in our daily lives. Those who are healthcare workers have experienced an even more significant number of changes that have affected their professional lives.

The growth of telemedicine, the increased focus on sanitation and cleanliness, and the shortage of healthcare professionals are changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has partly caused. Read on as we share more information on each of these shifts!

Growth of Telemedicine

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, you may be wondering, what is telemedicine? Telemedicine is defined as the use of telecommunications and technology to assess, diagnose, and treat patients remotely.

For example, if you wake up with a weird rash and decide to schedule a virtual visit with your healthcare provider, you will likely have a video call to complete the visit. Your healthcare professional will go through the same set of questions that they would at an in-person appointment. They will want to know things like how long the rash has been there, if anything specific caused it, and may even ask you to show it to them on camera. Then, they will provide the appropriate treatment, such as calling in a prescription for a rash cream to your local pharmacy.

This type of patient assessment and treatment has become much more common due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to treat patients from the comfort of their homes, which can stop the spread of illness for those who are contagious since they do not have to leave their homes to receive care. It also allows healthcare providers to reach patients in more rural areas who may not be able to travel to appointments.

According to a report from McKinsey & Company, telehealth usage has increased 38 times from what its usage levels were before the pandemic. This means there are more opportunities now than ever before to work in telemedicine.

If you are considering a career as a healthcare worker in a position like practical nursing or medical assisting, you may one day treat patients in a telemedicine environment.

Focus on Sanitation

As the COVID-19 pandemic began, an increased focus on sanitation and cleanliness quickly started as well. There are sanitation and cleanliness standards for essential healthcare workers that must be practiced while on the job for infection control.

Even at home or in public spaces, healthcare professionals and everyone else have experienced this increased focus on sanitation. For example, it’s recommended to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water many times per day to stop the spread of germs.

For buildings in community settings, the CDC recommends cleaning high-touch services at least once per day. Some examples of these surfaces include countertops, light switches, desks, keyboards, shopping carts, and phones.

For those who work in healthcare, you will need to consistently practice sanitation and cleanliness standards to avoid the spread of germs while on the job and in your personal life.

Shortage of Professionals

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a growing shortage of healthcare professionals. With the aging baby boomer generation needing more care and the increased access to healthcare created by legislative changes within the past decade, the need for qualified healthcare professionals has been growing for some time.

One example of this growth is for practical nursing professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the projected growth rate for practical nurses from 2020 to 2030 will be 9%, and there will be an average of 60,700 job openings for LPNs each year in the United States.

When COVID-19 hit the US, it increased the need for healthcare professionals even more. With hospitals and other healthcare facilities providing care to a larger number of patients, many are experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare professionals.

Due to these shortages, some healthcare facilities have increased the salary for qualified professionals and even started offering sign-on bonuses. With this continuously growing need for healthcare professionals, now is the perfect time to start a career in the medical field.

If you’re ready to get started in this growing industry, we’re here to help! Learn more about our healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Billing/Administration today.

Request information now to get started on your path to a healthcare career!

Cassidy Winck – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to our August Student of the Month, Cassidy Winck.

Cassidy is a student in United’s Medical Assisting program.

United Career Institute is Cassidy’s first experience with a post-secondary institute. Prior to attending school, she was a part of the workforce. “I was working full time at Pediatric Associates as a receptionist,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy’s decision to attend United was driven by some of her friends who attended previously. “I chose to come to United Career Institute because two of my mutual friends came here a couple of years ago,” she said.

Cassidy’s experience as a receptionist at Pediatric Associates was part of what drove her decision to pursue medical assisting at United. She said, “I chose medical assisting because while I was working at Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland, I was able to see what a medical assistant was and became interested in what they do daily.”

Cassidy’s favorite part of attending United is the bond she has built with her fellow classmates. “My favorite thing about United Career Institute are the friends that I made while being here,” she said.

She also loves the instructors she’s had at United. “I haven’t found a teacher I didn’t like here. All of the teachers are helpful, supportive, and push you to do your best.”

Cassidy has some big plans for her life after graduation. “After graduation, my ideal job is to be a medical assistant.” She continued to say “I would [also] like to have a house and a family of my own.”

Cassidy said she would absolutely refer United Career Institute to a friend. “This school has shown me that hard work pays off.”

To learn more about United Career Institute, request information here!

Proper Eye Examination

Hands-on clinical skills are a critical component in our allied health programs at United Career Institute. Watch the video to observe one of the many skills learned in our Medical Assisting program. Allied Health Program Director, Kelly Shriver, guides two of her medical assisting students through performing a proper eye examination.

If you see yourself in a healthcare career such as Practical NursingMedical Assisting, or Medical Billing/Administration, click here to learn more. Enjoy the demonstration!

Stay Healthy During Back To School Time

Back to school time is here, and like many of us, you may be a little nervous about you or your child going back. With COVID-19, the flu, and other viruses, staying healthy is a priority for many during this time of year.

While you can’t fully shield yourself from most germs and bacteria, there are many things you and your children can do to try and stay healthy as you return to school. This week, we’re sharing our top tips with you for staying healthy during the back-to-school time!

Practice Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is essential to staying healthy during back-to-school time and the rest of the year. The CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after being around someone else who is sick. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you have not washed your hands or have been around a sick individual. Always cover your mouth when you cough, and if you have to sneeze, do it into your elbow.

If you or your children are sick, stay home and get some much-needed rest so that you can feel better. Don’t send your kids to school if they are sick because they could infect others.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating nutritious foods is a critical component to staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong. There are various vitamins and minerals that your body needs that come from the food you eat.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform include zinc, selenium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. These substances can help prevent, fight off, and shorten infections, while supporting your immune system, so it functions properly.

Some foods rich in these vitamins and minerals are spinach, kale, strawberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, salmon, avocado, beans, turkey, and chickpeas. Many other fruits and vegetables include these essential vitamins and minerals, so it’s always a good idea to include many of them in your diet.

One way to easily add a number of these healthy foods to your diet is to make a smoothie. Mix your favorite fruits, such as strawberries, pineapple, and mango, and then add spinach and kale. Add some water, blend until creamy, and enjoy. This smoothie is delicious and nutritious!

Try to eat less sugar and processed foods that fill you up but do not include the nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy. One easy way to do this is by cooking more at home and eating out less. When you make your food at home, you can choose healthy foods and work to keep your body functioning properly.

Create Healthy Habits

Creating healthy habits and sticking to them daily can help you and your family stay healthy during back-to-school time. One essential healthy habit is to stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Your body is made up of a large percentage of water, and it serves many purposes at keeping you healthy.

Exercise is another healthy habit that is important to feeling your best. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s estimated that healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Examples of moderate physical activity include taking a brisk walk, swimming, and riding a bike. Some examples of vigorous activity are jogging, jumping rope, or playing basketball.

Getting enough sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy. The amount of sleep you need depends on your age. For example, the Mayo Clinic recommends 9 to 12 hours of sleep per day for kids ages 6 to 12 and at least 7 hours of sleep per day for adults.

Reducing stress can keep you healthy because too much stress is not good for your mind and body. There are many ways to try and reduce stress, such as scheduling time for relaxation, meditation and mindfulness techniques, and learning ways to cope with stress better.

We hope these recommendations will help you stay healthy during the back-to-school time and all year round!

To learn more about our programs at United Career Institute, request information here!

Excela Health – Externship Highlight

One of the core values of United Career Institute is relationships; “we build meaningful and trusted relationships at the foundation of our culture.” Through these relationships, we provide our students with a well-rounded educational experience that will give them hands-on experience in their field of study.

United accomplishes this through an externship component of the Medical Assisting and Medical Billing/Administration programs. The students’ externship allows them to go into a real-world setting and apply the knowledge and skills they have learned at the campus.

For externships to work, you have great employer partners willing to accept students to apply these skills, and we do not have a shortage of partners at the Irwin campus. One of our partners is Excela Health, and many students have performed their externship at one of the many facilities that they operate. Excela Health brought together three hospitals and other healthcare affiliates to meet the health care needs of those in Westmoreland, northern Fayette, and southern Indiana counties. We are honored to work with; Frick Hospital in Mount PleasantLatrobe Hospital in Latrobe, and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. 

Students completing their externship with Excela achieve various clinical experiences, and Excela has been incredibly accommodating when it comes to United Career Institute students. We asked their representatives some key questions to explore why Excela likes to participate in these externship experiences, and they were indeed quick to answer.

When asked, “what value does a United student receive completing an externship with your organization?” Office Manager Nicole Zerone was quick to respond, saying, “We believe hands-on is so important, and we like to provide students support learning hands-on. We have all been there before and love to help students out.” When we asked the question, “What value does your organization receive having a United student complete their externship at your business?” she responded just as quickly, explaining, “It gives us an opportunity to mold someone into a good employee and give them the tools they need to succeed should they be employed by Excela.” United Career Institute could not value the relationship with Excela enough.

When it comes to giving students insight into their futures, we had to conclude with this perspective. “What advice would you give a student entering school in 2021/2022?” Zerone replied, “Take it one day at a time and learn as much as you can. Be attentive to your experiences and take constructive criticism, as all of these things can help you to become a good employee.”

To learn more about United’s externship program or if you are interested in getting the training you need to work at a place like Excela Health, request information here!