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Examination Guide
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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.