Thank you so much for your perspective on how the whole epic analyst thing works. I very much enjoyed reading your blog!
I am a brand new Willow analyst pharmacist. I have waited years for a job like this and finally landed it at just the right time. I went to the training classes out in Wisconsin last month and have been studying from my training manuals since I got back about 2 weeks ago. So far, I have studied all of 205, 305, and completed the 305 portion of the project. I have my exam three weeks from today (on Thursday, September 6th). I am so nervous for it!
I like a challenge but I don’t appreciate that they apparently try to trick you. As you know, we need 80%+ for a passing score. My colleagues said it was harder than they expected and not everyone passed it on their first attempt. This will be my first time taking any Epic exam. In fact, this is my first experience with anything Epic.
I thought the whole classroom experience and quality of instruction was top notch, but far too accelerated for an absolute beginner such as myself. I was so discouraged when I returned after each trip. Thankfully, I am much more hopeful about the material after having studied it from the beginning at my own pace.
I know it has been a few years since you slayed the beast but could you please attempt to demystify this for me? I cannot find particularly useful advice on reddit or userweb. I want to make sure that my remaining 3 weeks of study time is maximized so I can pass on my first attempt.
I think 405 will take a week or two just by itself. I know we have three attempts but I don’t want to be that guy.
What are your thoughts on the exam? I’d really like to go in and show this thing who’s boss.
Thank you infinitely for your help!
First off, a big congratulations to you! Hang in there… You’re really on the home stretch now 🙂
Sorry for the slightly delayed response to your question, I was actually in the process of switching the Q&A platform for the website to make it more streamlined and easier for other visitors to read and respond/add comments to the questions asked so I couldn’t get back to you right away… I know your certification exam is literally around the corner.
Okay, I don’t want to freak you out but let me inspire you first of all… I believe folks at Epic have said that the Willow Inpatient module is the most difficult of all the Epic modules to get certified in, so after you pass your exam 😉 you can really pat yourself on the shoulder, knowing that you’ve accomplished a truly great feat.
Now, onto your questions. What I found worked best for me was:
- Doing the project… Once you complete successfully, you might not feel like it, but you’re about 70% closer to passing your certification exam. My advice is that you try to complete it on your own before asking colleagues for help (if at all). If you do need to ask for help, then contact the account managers for your organization over at Epic and ask them to walk you through what you might be missing or overlooking. I found the Epic folks that were assigned to my organization were invaluable resources when I got stuck while working on my project and with concepts and topics I need clarification on. That’s not to say that your colleagues might not be helpful but I like to get my information from the source. If you don’t know who your organizations Epic team members are then just email that general Epic Training email (I believe you know the one), you receive emails from them regarding the classes, also, the email is in your training manuals 😉 and ask your questions. I found them to be super helpful and very responsive.
- It is probably too late for this now but one of the things I did to set myself up for success was that prior to going to WI for the classes, I printed out and read the manuals so that I wouldn’t be so lost during the live classes… In your case, that’s just spilt milk now… No biggie. Not everyone does it that way and a lot of folks who don’t still pass the exam with no problems.
My Thoughts On The Exam
I wouldn’t say that they try to “trick” you… I will say that they want to ensure that you pay very close attention to detail.
- Read questions carefully to be sure of what you’re being asked for
- Take full advantage of the open-book format of the exam… Use sticky note paper to tab/mark parts of your manual that you know you struggle with so you can easily find them during the exam
- If you choose to use the electronic version of the manuals as your open book, practice “Ctrl + F” to quickly find topics you want to look up
- Don’t rush!
Now here’s what I’ve heard through from the Epic rumor mill… Let me preface it by saying, this is just talk among those in the Epic community and I have absolutely no proof of the validity of this.
Alright, so I’ve heard that depending on how well (or not) you do on the certification exam, if you don’t get a passing grade on your initial attempt at the exam, your subsequent exam will be easier or more difficult based on how well you did.
- So basically, if you took the exam and didn’t pass but you came close to passing, then the next exam you take will be slightly easier than the first one because Epic assesses that you have the propensity to pass the exam
- However, if you take the exam and are quite far from a passing score, Epic assesses that you’ll have a very little chance of passing the exam so they will assign you a more difficult version of the exam
Like I said, I have no grounds for confirming this urban legend but it’s what I’ve heard from others who’ve gone through the process (no one from Epic… Just other analysts across different Epic modules).
All that to say, if you take the exam and don’t pass but come close to passing, then the chances that you will pass the exam on your next attempt are quite good… According to this urban legend… 🙂
I hope this has been helpful to you in some way and I would really like to know how it all goes for you!
Best of luck with your exam Matt 🙂
I’ve taken the exam twice and failed. The carts keeping getting me confused any advice
I too have taken it twice and will definitely say that the second exam was 10 times harder than the first. Why would they set us up for failure by making the next one harder?
I hear you Jeanine. Epic is a mystery sometimes. I have wondered also if the re-do exams also take the Sphinx results into account if one has taken the Sphinx as well. They keep a tight lid on all this proprietary information so I am guessing that we will never know.
Congratulations on making it through… Hopefully no more Epic cert exams are on the horizon for you for another five years when it’s time to re-certify 😉