One of the potentially make it or break it requirements for Epic Certification – The Epic Sphinx Test is something I have been remiss in mentioning.
Not for any reason other than when I first started publicly chronicling my Epic journey (this is where I started), the Epic Sphinx test was already in my rear view mirror.
Despite its importance, I had forgotten the major role it played in getting me to the point I was at when I first started this website and blog. So I’m winding back the clock and recounting my experience with it and what you can expect.
Read on to find out why I say “possibly”…
Check out the expression on the sphinx cat in the picture… Let me start by saying that’s exactly how I felt AND looked after I finished taking the Epic Sphinx test 😉
What Is The Epic Sphinx Test?
I’ll start off by saying this, not every organization requires that their potential/future Epic analysts take the Sphinx test as part of the requirements for Epic certification.
Epic recommends that organizations use this test as a screening tool to determine which candidates/applicants will have the highest chance of success as Epic analysts (Note: this is not limited to just Epic Willow analysts, this is across the board for all Epic certifications).
The organization I work for followed Epic’s recommendation and uses the Sphinx test for screening applicants… If you don’t pass the Sphinx test, you don’t get hired to be on any Epic team for any Epic certification.
As an aside, I have to say that it’s quite humbling to see friends and co-workers (fellow pharmacists as well as other clinicians) weeded out of the process because they didn’t pass this test.
Also, some outside applicants who were already certified and working at other organizations were required to take the Sphinx test as part of the hiring process for our organization’s Epic implementation team.
Those who didn’t pass the test, regardless of the fact that they were already certified and working as Epic analysts at other organizations, were denied offers of employment.
Back to what the Sphinx test is…
At its core, it is an assessment test that determines how well, if at all, you are likely to succeed as an Epic analyst.
Epic as an organization has its own way of doing things and I believe they have determined that certain people who think and function a certain way will excel as analysts and others who don’t quite fit into that mold will not, or might not, excel as Epic analysts.
That’s not to say that those who don’t pass the test won’t also pass the certification exam and won’t make good Epic analysts, but Epic uses this test as a factor to determine (at least from what I can tell) which folks will be the most likely to excel.
Also… The fact that you pass the Sphinx test doesn’t guarantee that you will also pass the certification exam.
Some people who made it through the Sphinx test successfully ended up not passing the final certification exam (and I think this may be the reason, or at least part of the reason, that some organizations don’t use it for screening… Because some who were already certified didn’t pass it, as I mentioned before, and some who do pass it end up not passing the certification exam).
Organizations that are implementing Epic for the first time and are really ambitious will tend to follow Epic’s recommendations to the letter and thus only hire people who make it through this screening test.
What Does The Sphinx Test Assess?
The test is broken up into sections – an English test, a Math test, a test of what I can only describe as “quantitative or mental aptitude” or something like that.
I don’t know this for a fact but I think that it tests how you process information.
To say the least bit, the part that I believe tests how you think and process information is the part I personally found just very confusing.
I am not at liberty to divulge what the actual questions were or what they were like, quite honestly, I can’t even recall the actual test questions I got. I believe Epic does change them up each time so its harder for people to cheat the system.
The math and English were pretty straightforward… If you made it through pharmacy school you’ll fly through those sections in no time.
The other part will take a bit… No, a LOT more thought, time, and effort. And oh yeah, the test is timed!
The questions on that part threw me for a loop, I never really knew if I was responding correctly or even worse, if I actually really understood what the questions were asking. At a point, I began to despair and then I literally just started guessing at what the answers were.
That’s no lie and not an exaggeration… I didn’t want to leave the questions unanswered so I figured that if I guessed, then I’d at least have a chance at getting some right.
I don’t know whether or not my guessing strategy paid off or if I just got extremely lucky or if I actually on some level did understand the questions and my answers were indeed correct!
I guess I’ll never know.
The reason I won’t know is that Epic does not release the results of the Sphinx test. You just get told whether or not you “passed” it, and by “pass” I simply mean that Epic deems you “suitable” to become an Epic analyst.
The Good News & The Bad News
The Bad News: there’s really no way to prepare for the Sphinx test ahead of time (at least, not without going to extreme lengths to try and beat “cheat?” the system).
The Good News: you don’t have to prepare for this assessment test. You go in knowing what you know and if you’re a good fit you’ll pass it… If you’re not, you won’t.
Don’t try to fight it…
If you work for or are applying to work for an organization that uses the Sphinx test, then just deal with it…
As I mentioned earlier, not all organizations use this screening test and if yours doesn’t that just means you have one less hurdle to jump over in your race to becoming Epic certified. If they do use it and you don’t pass, remember, not every organization uses it so you can always apply to organizations that don’t use it.