Study Tips

The following study tips and comments were contributed by ACHE affiliates who have successfully taken the Board of Governors exam.

Many of these affiliates refer to a written study guide (or tutorial or syllabus) from ACHE. Previously called The Official Tutorial, the Reference Manual study guide is available for free on To download the Reference Manual (PDF), click here. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here.

Some affiliates also mention the Online Tutorial, an 12-week self-study course that combines traditional resources with online instruction to give you a complete preparation kit for the exam. For more information about the Online Tutorial, click here.

I studied alone due to the lack of a formal study group. I don’t see studying alone as a disadvantage other than that there is an absence of other perspectives.

I used the three texts recommended by ACHE and concentrated on The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization by John Griffith. I also used the tutorial provided by ACHE. Specifically, the questions and answers provided in the tutorial served as a tool for review in the texts.

The best advice I could offer is to set aside an hour per day approximately four months prior to the test. I used the time to read chapters, review sample questions, and take notes for further investigation. Two weeks prior to the test date, I reviewed text only and concentrated on areas that I knew were professionally challenging. The day before the examination, I leisurely thumbed through the texts, questions and answers, and other materials to mentally prepare for the different topics.

In summary, I don’t think there is a magic formula for studying for this examination. It’s difficult and requires a great deal of knowledge, much of which is learned on the job. The text reading requires self-discipline and a set pattern for studying.

Finally, I carried one of the texts with me on a daily basis. The book served as a reminder that passing the examination was a defining moment in my professional life.

I used the tutorial from ACHE only. I did study for an hour or so each day for the two weeks prior to the exam.

Think globally as you read each question. Determine which answer best describes the situation. Two or more answers may seem appropriate and could be justified, but make sure you consider which one is most inclusive. Do not allow your past experiences in a particular situation to cloud your decision when answering a more global question.

Read The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization textbook. This textbook provides a good review of each management area covered on the exam.

Keep abreast of articles in healthcare journals.

Take the practice exam offered in the study guide. For those answers that you do not get correct, go back to the study material and review. In areas that you do well, you will likely do well on the actual exam.

Get a good night’s sleep before the exam. You want to be alert.

For areas that you are not familiar with, find an expert in that area and ask him or her to give you a 15-minute update on the current topics of interest in their area of expertise.

For those considering the computerized exam, do not allow your fears of a computer to keep you from taking the exam. The program is very easy to use and allows you to mark questions that you would like to review again at the end of the exam. A huge plus is that you get your results immediately.