BCS-S Examination Guide
A guide to the multiple choice question examination offered through
the American Board on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. The
examination assesses the candidate's knowledge base that guides
successful clinical performance.
Scheduling Written Examination
Within one month following notification of acceptance of the application for Specialty Certification, the candidate must schedule the time and location of this examination and submit the written examination fee. The examination must be completed within 3 months following notification of acceptance of the application for BCS-S candidacy. This notification will include specific details about the examination process.
Test Structure, Development, and Scoring
The content and format of the examination is determined by the
Examination Committee of the BCS-S Board based on their broad experience
in academic teaching and clinical practice, and feedback from others
who have taken the examination. Questions on the
examination require recall of factual data, as well as integration of
information, prioritization of choices/alternatives, and/or utilization
of clinical judgment in choosing a correct response. Examination content
will undergo revision, as needed, based on the emergence of new
concepts and new technology. To assure that a specific item does not
reflect just one individuals' point of view, all items were vetted
through a review process with initial Charter members and subsequent
applicants who took the examination. Clarifications and changes based
upon feedback from these members were incorporated into the examination.
Preparing for the BCS-S Examination
Repetition is the key to learning and this applies to preparation for
BCS-S examination. To be most effective, reading textbooks and journal
articles should be done multiple times. Candidates often ask if one
textbook or journal provides better preparation than another but, to the
BCS-S Board's knowledge, no one text or journal is singularly better
than any other. Each text is written in a different style and
individuals often find some styles easier to read than others. The key
is to find textbooks whose style you find easiest to read and whose
content is broad and comprehensive. This increases the likelihood that
you will read it initially and repetitively. The use of multiple
textbooks and journal articles will provide the candidate with the best
inclusion of a variety of information. It is recommended that the
applicant have a commanding knowledge of the cranial nerves and central
nervous system control for normal and abnormal swallowing across the
lifespan. Versions of the test have historically included questions
related to interventions. The applicant is expected to understand why a
range of interventions might be used, with which patient group the
intervention is employed and to further describe the projected result of
the intervention. The interventions that may be discussed could include
direct interventions such as positioning, maneuvers and compensations.
Questions related to rehabilitative techniques may also be found on the
examination. There are numerous peer reviewed articles and books that
are dedicated to the review of interventions.
Click here to view the suggested reference list for your exam preparation.
What to Do If a Passing Score is Not Obtained
You may take the examination a maximum of three times during 12 months if more than one exam attempt is needed in order to receive a passing score. A second exam can be taken at least six weeks after the first exam attempt. If needed, a third and final exam attempt must take place at least six months after the second attempt. There is no fee associated with the first retake of the examination. A fee of $75.00 will be applied to a third attempt. Candidates who are not successful in passing the examination during the initial one-year period, must wait three years from the third exam attempt prior to initiating the BCS-S application process again.