Advice from an NBEO part 1 high scorer

female student holding certificate and smiling for photo with woman next to her

Advice from an NBEO part 1 high scorer

Olivia Bass began her journey at NECO in the Fall of 2016 and through her hard work and dedication she received the highest score among all NECO students on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Part 1 exam.

Throughout optometry school, Olivia has consistently received outstanding academic marks. Olivia grew up in Florida and attended Florida State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Science. After earning her undergraduate degree, she worked at Murray Ocular Oncology and Retina which strengthened her interest in studying optometry.

When talking with Olivia, I asked her to share tips that she used to helped her successfully pass Part 1 of boards which focuses on Applied Basic Science to help those who are currently planning to take the exam this year.

Olivia’s Tips For Success

  • Stick to a study method that works for you, don’t reinvent the process now.
  • Start studying early, I started in mid-October to allow for enough time to review all of the topical areas for the exam.
  • Follow the KMK schedule to help structure your studying and planning.
  • Expose yourself early to as many practice questions as possible to identify weaknesses and adjust to the testing format.
  • Know that at some point you are going to feel overwhelmed; there is a lot of material to study, but know that this is doable.
  • Be honest with yourself and don’t compare your study schedule with your friends.
  • Believe in your abilities and plan for successful completion of the exam.

Preparing for Test Day

After many months of studying, test day arrives and all of that hard work and preparation is put to use. I asked Olivia if she did anything special to help deal with some of the stress and pressures of test day. She said she reminded herself that she had done everything possible to prepare for the exam and that by this day tomorrow the exam would be over. Olivia also shared that she was stressed and nervous on test day and it is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed when walking into the exam.

Olivia will be completing her degree this May as part of the Class of 2020. She is currently on her final year rotations and is able to use everything that she has learned during her first three years at NECO. After graduation, Olivia plans on completing a residency and then working at a health center to serve a community that proactively works to provide care and reduce health disparities among those experiencing barriers to health and vision care.

Thank you, Olivia, for taking the time to share your wisdom with other NECO students to help them design their strategies for success.