By: Rachel Mouton, RPSGT, CCSH, LPN, Chair of the Exam Development Committee and Becky Appenzeller, RPSGT, R. EEG T., CNIM, CCSH, Director of the Exam Development Committee
In an effort to further support our exam candidates, we conducted a lengthy review of RPSGT exam results going back as far as 2010. Our goal was to identify the areas of the exam where candidates appeared to have the most difficulty. All BRPT exams are administered through our testing partner, PearsonVUE, which provides Technical Analysis Reports (TAR). The TAR reports provide statistics on each exam question, which allows us to track the areas of the exam where candidates seem to falter the most.
Based on the current exam blueprint, the weakest areas of the RPSGT exam are the Domains and subcategories outlined below. After each, we offer “Study Tips” to help candidates frame how they approach and prepare for these sections.
DOMAIN 2: SLEEP STUDY PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE » 29.3%
TASK A: Technical preparation
vi. Technical specifications and instrumentation
This section of the exam includes concepts such as understanding system references, sampling rates, filters, etc.
Study Tip: Be sure to review the AASM recommended guidelines for specific monitoring such as nasal pressure, respiratory effort and cortical channels.
TASK C: Procedures and practice guidelines
v. Home sleep apnea testing (HSAT)
Study Tip: Review the AASM recommended guidelines for performing HSAT, paying close attention to automated scoring versus over scoring, reporting parameters and respiratory event index.
TASK D: Identify, respond, and document
Study Tip: Make sure you recognize specific artifacts and what to do about them; for example, pulse, respiration, ECG, and cardioballistic. In addition, make sure you recognize when to replace a monitor versus when to wait versus when to remontage. For example, you shouldn’t wake a patient out of REM sleep to reapply an electrode, rather wait until the patient awakens or remontage appropriately. Lastly, this section contains a lot of graphic examples, so be sure you can look at a montage and identify the artifact and where it’s coming from.
DOMAIN 3: SCORING, REPORTING, AND DATA VERIFICATION » 25.3%
TASK A: Adult PSG
i. Sleep stages
Study Tip: Make sure you are familiar with staging sleep epochs (graphics) and can recognize specific waveforms, i.e. k complexes, spindles, sawtooth waves, alpha, delta, lateral eye movement, etc.
vi. Cardiac events
Study Tip: Make sure you can recognize specific cardiac abnormalities, i.e. bigeminy, a-fib, aflutter, tachycardia, bradycardia, v-tach AND know which are life-threatening arrhythmias. Further, you should also have the ability to determine (calculate) heart rate based on the graphic.
DOMAIN 4: THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT AND INTERVENTION » 28%
TASK A: PAP therapy (e.g., CPAP, bilevel, ASV, NIPPV)
v. Troubleshooting (e.g., leak levels, pressure release, humidification)
Study Tip: In this section, you should be familiar with the challenges that can occur, and understand the appropriate responses, such as mask leaks, humidity, pressure release, tube condensation and waveform flattening.
Finally – the most important guidance we can give you as you prepare for the RPSGT exam is to always remember that the exam tests against RECOMMENDED guidelines, NOT individual lab protocols. This means, study the AASM scoring manual, AASM recommended guidelines and AASM practice parameters. And lastly, memorize the recommended sampling rates, low filters and high filters.
Republished with permission from the BRPT.