Exam Security: Protect Athletic Training Candidates and Yourself

Posted January 26, 2017

Sharing is usually a good thing, but this is not the case when preparing students for the BOC exam or discussing it with them after. It is illegal and unethical to memorize and discuss questions that are on the BOC exam, and both candidates and Program Directors are reminded to keep exam information confidential.

Prior to sitting for the BOC exam, candidates agree in the Candidate Attestation to not disclose information about items or answers in any format to anyone. This includes, but is not limited to:

- Educators

- Past or future examinees

- Co-workers

- Test preparation companies

The Candidate Attestation asserts that no part of the exam may be copied or reproduced in any way before, during and after exam. This includes, but is not limited to, emailing, copying or printing electronic files, reconstructing content through memorization and/or dictation.

BOC exam content is exclusive copyrighted property of the BOC and protected by federal copyright laws. The BOC will prosecute violations of this agreement. Violation of the agreement is also a violation of BOC Standards of Professional Practice, which can result in suspension or revocation of certification, if applicable, or suspension or denial of a candidate’s eligibility for future exams. It can also do the same for a candidate’s colleagues.

The below table presents common scenarios that could violate exam confidentiality. Read on for guidance in each scenario. More information is also available in the BOC Exam Candidate Handbook.

Scenario When it’s OK When it’s not OK Bottom line

1. Educator asks candidates to “stop by” after the exam to “let me know how it went.”

If the invitation and the feedback to the educator relates to their general experience (“I thought the test was not as difficult as I expected…”).

This type of invitation from an educator may be misinterpreted by the candidate – and the student may think that the educator is asking the student to reveal copyrighted information.

If the candidate is asked to reveal questions or their answer options, then he or she will need to report the educator to the BOC. The educator should stop the candidate immediately from revealing any exam content, since doing so may subject both the candidate and educator to the BOC’s ethics process.

2. Candidate tells another candidate, “The test was very difficult – I felt like I didn’t have enough time.”

The candidate is simply telling another candidate how they felt about the exam. This is all right because the candidate is not revealing any of the questions or the answer options.

One candidate (or potential candidate) asks another candidate about the specific questions.

If the questions or answer options are shared, these individuals may find themselves part of a BOC ethics investigation and/or legal complaint.

3. Candidate to educator: “You didn’t teach me about this question that asked [specific question]. I felt unprepared.”

Never.

It is not all right and it will never be all right to reveal the BOC’s copyrighted questions (or answer options) to anyone.

Candidates sign documentation stating that they will not share exam questions, and the BOC expects the candidates to abide by this contract. Those who don’t may find themselves part of a BOC ethics investigation and/or legal complaint.

4. A future candidate learns from a past candidate that, "Your BOC exam will have both multiple choice and the new multiple response kind of items. I think there were a little over 100 questions on each session.”

Candidates are welcome to discuss any information that is found on the BOC website, including the TYPES of items used on the various exams.

If the conversation goes beyond exam format and the past candidate begins to describe exam questions and answers to the future exam-taker, a breach of ethics has occurred.

As long as the conversation is limited to public information that anyone can read on the BOC website, such as exam format and style of item presentation, there is no problem. However, the past candidate should refrain from sharing specific exam content with the future candidate to protect not only the past exam-taker but also the future one.

5. A future candidate is in class when the professor announces, "Everyone pay attention to this example. It came from a BOC exam. It will show up on another exam someday soon." In another class, the professor insisted that, "This is ALWAYS guaranteed to be a BOC exam question. This is one concept that you don’t want to forget.”

There is no acceptable circumstance in which it is OK for an educator to offer to any class or audience any item or material directly linked to any BOC exam.

Since all BOC exam material including all items (questions and answers) is copyrighted, it is illegal for anyone to reproduce and use these items in any manner whatsoever. Candidate exposure to BOC exam items is legally and ethically limited to candidates' time spent taking BOC exams. Sample items available on the BOC website are not active items and may be shared.

All candidates should be aware that unsolicited classroom exposure to BOC exam material may result in cancellation of their own exam scores and/or may lead to being barred from taking the BOC exam in the future. It also should be remembered that new exam items constantly are being generated and can deal with any topic in the BOC practice analysis.

Sources: Scenarios 1-3 are from American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Scenarios 4 and 5 are from National Board of Examiners in Optometry, Inc. Content has been adapted for the BOC.

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