THE BIOMEDICAL JOURNEY
Earlier this month, on April 8 and 9, some of MAST@Homestead’s Biomedical Academy seniors, including myself, took the Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam, or BACE. I believe I speak for the entire Biomedical Academy when I say that this was a daunting task for us. After three and a half years of learning and preparation, the test at the end of the road was finally here. As Biomedical freshmen, we had heard the stories of how hard the seniors had to study and practice for the BACE, and there were still some who unfortunately did not pass. From the beginning of Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS) in freshman year, I could only fathom how important and all-encompassing this exam would be. Every year, Mrs. Gilliard and Mrs. Barreto would always say, “This is really important for you to remember, it’s probably going to show up on the BACE” about various topics. The time to remember all of those topics snuck up on me, and suddenly it was just about time to take an exam that was the culmination of the knowledge and arduous work of over three years of biomedical science.
In Biomedical Innovations – our 12th grade academy magnet class – with Mrs. Gilliard, we spent nearly the whole year preparing and studying from our Biotechnology textbook and doing practice problems. Week in and week out, we took extensive notes on each chapter, which was then followed by a quiz; no rest for the weary here. Our goal was to finish the entire book before March so we could take a preliminary-test. This pre-test would be used to determine who would qualify to take the actual exam; anyone who scored above a 70% could move on to taking the real thing. This would weed out those who were not prepared or not willing to dedicate time and effort toward
s the exam (which is completely understandable, as Biomed seniors are not required to take and pass this exam). Because of my overwhelming workload combined with stress from college applications and other things, I did not study as well as I would have liked for the pre-test and I know that nearly all of my peers had this issue as well; nonetheless, many seniors and myself passed with a score of over 80% due to how highly prepared we had been because of the extensive time we spent reviewing the material in the textbook.
The BACE is a two part test: a multiple choice knowledge test and a practical test. Up to this point, we had only learned the necessary material for the knowledge portion. Those who were eligible, moved on to practice problems that would likely show up on the next portion. Luckily for me, these problems involved things like dimensional analysis and molar conversions, which I had already become proficient in due to my prior knowledge from having taken AP Chemistry the year before. For those of you out there who are looking to take the BACE, I would highly recommend taking Advanced Placement Chemistry. The course teaches you many of the skills that are tested on the practical part of the exam
, and definitely gives a leg up for those test takers who have already gone through the class.
The first day of the test arrived quickly
, and, even though I knew I was fully prepared, I was still unbelievably anxious — partly influenced by the fact that I was quarantined and had to take the first part of the exam online. But either way, I sat through the test and was surprised at the ease with which I was able to go through the questions. After taking a few deep breaths before starting the test, I was unusually serene and calm. It was as if the knowledge was coming from another place. When I was done, the online platform displayed my score right away and I instantly realized that I had done very well. I came back from quarantine the next day and completed the second portion much the same way as the first: deep breaths, a quick prayer, and then go-time. To pass and gain certification, students needed to have a combined average score of 80% or above; I got a 93%. Passing this exam gave me so much relief and lifted a great weight off my shoulders. I’m thankful that the long grueling hours spent dedicated to learning about all that biomedical science has to offer manifested itself in that success.
I’m very grateful for my experiences in the Biomedical Academy and to Mrs. Gilliard and Mrs. Barreto. I have learned and gained more knowledge and skills than I ever could have imagined; and to my peers, a most sincere thank you for sharing this struggle and all the incredible memories we made together over the years
. To next year’s seniors, the BACE is a behemoth, but it is one that can be tackled. You can do this, and I assure you that you will be ready for this test and, subsequently, the next chapter of your life in science or any other adventure that life leads you to.