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Preparing for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)

Alex loves animals and is an experienced licensed veterinary technician with a BS in Biology and an AS in Veterinary Technology.

In this article, you'll learn how to prepare for and pass the veterinary technician national examination (VTNE). Read on to learn about the test's format, how to study effectively, and what test day will be like.

In this article, you'll learn how to prepare for and pass the veterinary technician national examination (VTNE). Read on to learn about the test's format, how to study effectively, and what test day will be like.

What Is the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)?

The veterinary technician national examination (VTNE) is the test you must pass in order to become a licensed veterinary technician. The test consists of 170 questions, 20 of which are not graded as they are for testing for future tests. The questions are weighted and a score of 425 is required to pass the exam. The exam is offered only three times, for a duration of one month, each year.

In order to sit for the VTNE, you will need to check your specific state's requirements. Nearly every state will require you to have graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program.

At present there is only one state, I believe it is Wisconsin, that will allow individuals to sit for the exam with only on-the-job training. My state, Virginia, allowed for me to register and sit for the exam as long as I graduated within six months of the day I took the exam.

Some states will not let individuals register for the exam if they have not yet graduated even if they will have graduated by the date the exam is offered. To avoid any confusion just head to the AASVB's website and review the requirements for your state.

Format of the VTNE

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions. Some questions may have photos that accompany them, but there are no essay, short answer, or free-response questions. The test itself is taken on a computer at a testing center. A list of testing locations with available times can be found on the website when you sign up for the exam.

What Can You Bring on Testing Day?

Only an ID. The testing center will provide paper, a pencil, and there will be a calculator on the computer to be used for the examination. That’s it.

Licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) are required to have a working knowledge of the veterinary needs for all species, as well as possess the technical skills to be able to care for them in the field and in a hospital setting.

Licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) are required to have a working knowledge of the veterinary needs for all species, as well as possess the technical skills to be able to care for them in the field and in a hospital setting.

What Material Does the VTNE Cover?

In short, everything. The exam can touch on anything in the realm of veterinary medicine that is covered in an accredited veterinary technician program. That is a lot of information, including surgery instruments, analgesia, large animal husbandry, parasitology, critical care, nursing, exotics, reproduction, nutrition, ethics, and diseases.

Overwhelmed? It's ok. All this is covered in school, and no one is expected to know 100% of everything. Also, it's not like this test comes as a surprise. You have to register for it and you get to pick the day and time you test. You can control how much time you get to study.

How Do You Study for the VTNE?

There are several review books available. I’m a fan of Mosby’s review book. It has fantastic explanations, a lot of questions, and it covers a very large amount of material.

I am also a big fan of Vet Tech Prep. I used the online site and the app to study. I found being able to take quizzes on my lunch break very convenient. I also loved the information sheets. There were so many topics available and the explanations were to the point. The practice tests were formatted very similarly to the VTNE and helped to get me used to the testing process, format, and style. I was found myself calmed by all the practice tests.

Mosby's VTNE Review

When Do You Get Your Test Results?

Right after you submit the exam! When you leave the testing center you will be given a printout of the test results. You know instantly if you passed or failed. This also calmed my nerves considering I didn’t need to wait for weeks to find out if I passed. The agony is short. I remember when I was in high school and had to wait almost a month to get the results of the AP exams back.

Can You Retake the VTNE?

If you do fail the exam—and it does happen—you can retake it. However, you are not able to take it again in the same testing window and will need to wait until the test is offered again. The number of times you can retake it does depend on the state you live in.

So, what do you do if you failed and are waiting for your next testing window? I recommend taking a few days or a couple of weeks to destress. Think about other things. Then, dive in. If you didn’t already get Vet Tech Prep, do so. The study aides will help and they have a structured program that will help you stay on track.

There are also Facebook groups and Instagram accounts where you can study and work on problem areas with others. I found some of the math questions to be very helpful.

Further Info and Tips for Passing the VTNE

Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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