The IBLCE Exam is a computerized, timed exam that consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Questions on the exam cover the content in these IBLCE Documents:
Four hours are allowed to complete the exam. A portion of the questions (currently about 50%) are image-based. This means you will be shown a photograph, drawing, or chart and will be asked a question about that image. This part of the exam is tricky and tends to be the most difficult for people. Test items have a high degree of clinical relevance but cover global issues. You may well be asked questions about issues you have never seen in practice. The global scope of the exam is another reason candidates struggle and many fail. You simply cannot rely on your clinical knowledge and experience regardless of how many years you have worked in lactation because you will be required to know things that you may have never addressed. If you are wondering what it might be like, get our Free Practice Lactation Exam Demo, to give you an idea.
Once you've fulfilled all your requirements and submitted your application, now it is time to prepare to take that exam. This is not an easy exam. We hear from smart people every year that failed. And we often hear statements like, "That was the hardest exam I have every taken!" and "That was harder than my nursing boards!" So be prepared. You will need to spend a significant amount of time studying and you will need to practice taking computerized, timed, multiple-choice test questions, and make sure some of those are image-based questions.
This is especially important for candidates that have been working in lactation for a while. As Marie often says, "This is a GLOBAL exam!" And, because it is global, you must be prepared to answer questions about topics you may never face in your practice. Additionally, you must know the standard recommendations for dealing with lactation management issues, not the way your hospital or clinic does it. You must be able to sort out the right "exam response" vs. what is right in your day-to-day practice. Keep this in mind as you prepare.
When you are ready, there are many companies out there with exam prep materials. Do your research and find the best one for you. We offer our own selection of review courses, practice exams, drill questions, and Marie Biancuzzo's Guide to Decoding Lactation Photos: A Continuing Education Workbook Course, which helps you learn how to analyze those pesky images on the exam.
Scores are released about 3 months after the exam and are highly anticipated. Know when your scores are due and watch for the notice. If you pass, you are immediately an IBCLC and your dream is complete!
Every year, approximately 500 people fail the exam. So, if this happens to you, remember that you are not alone. Don't give up and don't be afraid to reach out for help. Go back to the company that provided your exam prep tools and let them know you did not pass. Some companies, like Breastfeeding Outlook, have programs to help their clients get back on their feet and try again. Marie puts a lot of effort into helping those that have failed the exam, whether they were our customers, or not. Remember how much time, energy, effort, and money you have put into your dream already and don't give up on it easily.
Here at Breastfeeding Outlook, we strive to help all of our clients reach their dream, whether they do on the first try, or the third. We are here to support you from the initial stages of gathering information all the way to passing the exam and beyond. Your Success is our Goal!
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