Competitive Events Frequently Asked Questions

HOSA Competitive Events: Questions and Answers  

Why we don't get rating sheets back after International Competitive Events?  How can we improve for next year?

HOSA does not return rating sheets or scores after the International Leadership Conference.  The data from judge rating sheets and test scores are analyzed and used in improving events and tests for the future. 

Individual rating sheets would not be helpful to you unless you could see the rating sheets of the other competitors.  Competitors know where they finished in the top 10 because the results are posted online. If your event has a Round One and you made the cut after Round One that usually means you finished in the top 50%. We do not post placement or scores beyond the top 10 because we want all competitors to feel good about the process that got them to the ILC, not just the end result. 

The best way to improve for next year is to work harder!  It is usually very helpful to have practice judges evaluate your performance using the HOSA rating sheet.  Then they can give you feedback and suggestions from improvement.  You can’t get that from the ILC rating sheets, and it is the feedback from healthcare professionals and other people who will judge your performance that will be the most helpful.

Why do we need to bring our event guidelines to the event orientation?

The Event Guidelines contain the rules for the event, and it is important for event personnel to review those rules during the event orientation.  In order to be successful in HOSA competitive events, it is the competitor’s responsibility to read and follow the guidelines.  Asking you bring your guidelines to the event orientation is a strategy designed to help competitors understand and follow the event rules.

Why were there college students competing against middle school and high school teams in the events at the International Leadership Conference?

Middle school and high school students (secondary members) do not compete against postsecondary collegiate competitors in any event.  That is the HOSA policy for state and international competitive events. Middle school students are offered the opportunity to compete in selected events appropriate to their training.

In most states and at the national level, middle school, secondary and postsecondary collegiate students do compete in the same location, sometimes in front of the same judges, but the scores are always kept separate.  At the ILC, there is a separate awards session for Middle School/Secondary and Postsecondary Collegiate members, and medals are awarded to the top three teams in each of these three divisions.

Can competitors use their real names and school in the event?

The answer to that question depends upon the event and the level of competition. In some events, it is permitted for a competitor to reveal his/her name or school.  For example, in Clinical Specialty and Job Seeking Skills, it would be impossible not to include one’s name and school in the documentation required for the event.

For events when the name and/or school is not required, it is generally better to avoid giving one’s name and school at the area/regional and state levels to reduce bias.  For example, a competitor in Prepared Speaking should avoid identifying his/her school when giving a speech.

A general rule to follow is ‘When in doubt, don’t.”  This is because there are judges and event personnel who might interpret the divulging of a name and school as unacceptable.  

This recommendation changes for International events because of the diversity of judges and use of electronic score sheets.  Competitors at the International level may be introduced by name and/or school because that information rarely has any significance for judges, and it helps the judges double-check the name and school that is pre-printed on the event rating sheet.

Our chapter members placed in Clinical Specialty and Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking at the Regional level.  Can they change their event before the state competition?

Yes.  There are no rules that prevent individual or team competitors from changing their event materials from one level to the next.  National competitors in Clinical Specialty, Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking, and other HOSA events, can change or revise their papers, speeches and videos.  Be sure to follow your guidelines and meet deadlines for events.

How can I find out what to study for the test?

The event guidelines contain a test plan, a list of resources and links to those resources to which you can refer. Since the test questions are taken directly from the listed resources, you will do fine if you follow this advice.

Can't afford so many textbooks? One school made a very specific list of what books they needed, and then found the ordering information on the Event Resources section of the HOSA website. Those lists were sent home, and in 3 weeks, every single book on the list had been donated by parents who saw this as a simple way to make a big contribution. Does your school have a libary? Ask the librarian if they can order the resources for the library, so all students can have access to the resource. Did you also know that you can rent textbooks or purchase books by the chapter? Some publishers have this option. Also, F.A. Davis and Brady Books publishers offer a discounted price for HOSA members. Check out the Event Resources page on the National HOSA website.

Are there practice tests available for any of the tests?

There are no practice tests available for any of the HOSA events, with the exception of Medical Math.  HOSA members who are successful on any HOSA test have spent hours and hours studying the recommended text resource AND have a sound general understanding of the concepts to be measured on the test.  It helps to pay attention to the test plan in the guidelines so you will know where to focus your attention. HOSA has provided sample test questions in the guidelines to familiarize the competitor with the types of questions asked.

Will the Health Professions events at the State Conference be the written test or the skills?

In Health Professions events, most states give the written test and have a skills portion.  At the International Leadership Conference, a written test is given.  Top scoring competitors quality for the skill portion (Round Two) of the event, which usually involves 1-3 skills.

What does it mean when it says Rescuer I and Rescuer II in CPR/First Aid?

There are usually 2 victims in CPR - one that needs first aid and one that needs CPR.  You and your partner decide who is Rescuer I and who is Rescuer 2.  Rescuer 1 does the first aid and helps with CPR.  Rescuer 2 starts CPR.

In the spelling events, are there ever any terms with two words or punctuation? 

Yes. Occasionally there are terms that have two words (Tinea corporis) and some that are hyphenated (Cheyne-Stokes) or have an apostrophe (Bartholin's glands).  Most judges would not give you credit for spelling the word correctly if you miss the punctuation.

Are there any practice lists for HOSA Bowl?

The key to success in this event is learning as much as possible about the topics (medical terminology, HOSA facts, parli pro and medical history) and then lots of practice.  The format of the questions is listed in your event guidelines to assist you with studying.

We can tell you that teams who are successful in this event know a LOT of information, and have learned to anticipate the question.  That is, they start to ring in at the point the moderator is going to give key information.  For example, "What is the medical term for..."  Just at the point when the moderator is going to say "headache" the competitors hit the buzzer. 

Of course, this only works if the team knows a lot of medical terminology, and if they time it correctly.  It is a strategy that allows a team a first chance at answering the question.

Truly though, there are no secret lists or shortcuts in HOSA Bowl.  It's one of those events where the more you know, the better you do.  We know this because the teams who do well on the written test seem to do the best in the buzzer rounds.

Can we move objects around on our display in Health Career Display?

You may move things around on your display, but all articles must stay within the dimensions of the display.  Taking radiographs out of a sleeve on the display and putting them in a viewbox could be done within the dimensions of the display, so that is permitted.
What the guidelines prevent you from doing is, for example, taking special goggles from your display and putting them on.  Your head is not within the dimensions of the display. 

 In HOSA Chapter Reflection, what is a Program of Work?

The Program of Work for a HOSA chapter is a list or calendar of activities that your chapter has planned for the year.  To align a program of work with the Chapter Reflection event, most chapters sit down and step by step, look at the sections of the Chapter Reflection rating sheet, decide what will be done to meet that criteria, and then schedule that activity on a calendar.

For example, take a look at the HOSA Week area on the rating sheet.  Your chapter might decide to honor a local veterinary clinic whose vets and techs have been very supportive of your HOSA chapter this year.  You may schedule March 1 as a day to bring cakes to the staff members (baked by HOSA members of course) and present them with a plaque of appreciation. 

Your program of work becomes your guide for chapter activities throughout the year, and a copy is included in your HOSA Chapter Reflection scrapbook.

In Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking, we know the guidelines say we can’t use props, but what about a poster with information about our topic?

The answer to your question is no, a poster would NOT be permitted during the speech portion of the Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking event. 

The rules are designed to give each competitor an equal opportunity for success in the event.  Competitors who are successful in this event have studied the judge rating sheet and know exactly what they will be rated on.  Of course, they practice over and over with parents, teachers, and friends who judge their speech, using the event rating sheet, and give them suggestions for improvement.

How are sites and facilities for skill events chosen?

When a city is being considered for an International Leadership Conference, the availability of clinical sites for skill events is an important consideration.

A year before the international conference, the state advisor or local site coordinator from the host state makes recommendations for clinical sites. National HOSA contacts potential clinical sites, and often, site visits are made by members of the National Competitive Events program staff. A cooperative arrangement is made with the health professionals at the clinical site and HOSA to offer the best possible skill event experience for HOSA members.

The goal in all discussions between National HOSA and potential clinical sites is offering the best possible event experience for HOSA members. The challenge is making all skill events work for a large number of international competitors in a short distance from the HOSA headquarters hotel!

Will some sites have perfect facilities for an international conference? Yes, sometimes clinical sites can meet the needs of National HOSA competitors and offer an ideal competitive environment. More frequently, sites are almost ideal, and some adjustments are made to provide a fair and challenging National Competitive Events program.

For example, at a previous International Leadership Conference, one of the sites had excellent clinical facilities, but minimal holding space. Conference planners determined that the potential for a quality event outweighed the lack of ideal holding space, and the event ran well. (The halls were crowded and there were few chairs, but the actual event facility was excellent.)

When an acceptable clinical site is not available, a skill event may be held in the conference hotel. When this happens, efforts are made to simulate the clinical site as much as possible.

Whether at a clinical site or in the hotel, event planners strive to assure that the guidelines are followed, and that the event is as realistic as possible. The goal is to provide the best possible experience for all state winners, and to treat all competitors equally. 

Why don’t events always run on time?

Many years ago, competitors in most events reported to a holding room, and then waited for their turn to compete - sometimes for hours.

As HOSA grew larger, space for holding rooms became scarce, and competitors complained about the long wait. In response to the needs of HOSA competitors, appointment times are now used for most events.

The appointment times are a "best guess" based on the event starting on time, with no interruptions. Sometimes, events run exactly as planned. Other times, it takes a little longer than planned to assure that the event runs as it should.

Competitors should know that their appointment time is meant to be an estimate of when they will compete. Short waiting periods are normal, and should be anticipated. 

Why isn’t the dress code enforced?

Actually, the dress code IS enforced according to the event guidelines. For each event, the event manager awards five (5) points to every competitor dressed correctly. If you see someone at an event who does not comply with the dress code, the dress bonus was NOT given.

BE SURE you read and understand the specific dress code requirements for your event. That information can be found – in the event guidelines. 

Why don’t we have finals? Why don’t we have more rounds in Biomedical Debate?

Time.

Take for example, Biomedical Debate. HOSA understands that a traditional debate tournament may last for days, with each team participating in as many as ten (10) one hour debates. While such a format is desirable for a school "Debate Team", the needs for HOSA members were different in designing the Biomedical Debate competition.

HOSA strives to support classroom learning. There are many debatable topics in a Health Science or Biomedical Science classroom that can be addressed using a method of research, evaluation, discussion, critical thinking, and verbal expression. When a HOSA member participates in Biomedical Debate, the member is learning important skills for success as a future health professional. The actual event is a showcase for demonstrating what has been learned about a critical issue - as opposed to a tournament to prove who the best debaters are. 

HOSA also takes into consideration the amount of time it takes to provide an event opportunity at the international level. Current rules allow each state to send their top three individuals/teams in each event  (with additional competitors in the recognition category), or the potential of over 100 teams/individuals in every category of every event. Whew!

In 2016, over 6,000 students had the opportunity to travel to Nashville and participate in HOSA National Competitive Events under the current format. Adding time for finals or more rounds would add to the cost and length of the International Conference - something that HOSA leaders and elected student officers have been reluctant to do.

Why are the rooms we compete in so cold!?

Conference hotels are generally kept very cool in the summer, so that a businessman in a suit and tie would be comfortable. HOSA competitors should always dress accordingly. Suits are a good idea (especially a HOSA uniform) and coordinated blazers or sweaters suggested.  It may be June outside, but the hotel temperature will be a frosty 68-70 degrees.

Why do we have event orientations?

Event orientations are designed to answer questions, clarify any challenges, and help prepare competitors for their event. The orientation also helps to assure that competitors are properly registered. If there are any registration glitches - the orientation provides an opportunity to find any problems and correct them.

Sometimes, events will run as planned, and it may seem as though an orientation is not necessary. If, however, there had been something unexpected about the event, having a scheduled orientation would have been critical. For that reason, ALL events have scheduled orientation sessions. Orientations may be held in conjunction with an event component (such as a test) or may be held right before the actual event begins.

What is the passing score on written tests for HOSA National Competitive Events?  How can we improve for next year?

National HOSA does not have a “passing score” for any written tests in HOSA competitive events, because the tests are NOT designed in a way that would make having such a score valid.  HOSA tests are NOT achievement tests. When a teacher designs a classroom achievement test, the test covers content that students had an opportunity to learn, and is expected to know.  The expectation is that a well-instructed student will perform well on the test.

When HOSA designs a test for competitive events, the goal is to spread the scores (produce a clear range) and identify which competitors know more than other competitors.   That requires the test writer to develop a range of difficulty in which most of the questions could be classified as “difficult” or “very difficult.” Consequently, the test is designed so the “average” score varies by test and the body of knowledge to be measured, but should generally fall around 50% at the international level.  That’s the goal. While a score of 50% would not be acceptable for a classroom test, it is very acceptable in large scale, international testing.  A candidate can pass the NCLEX-RN by responding correctly to 50% of the questions, and that’s to qualify for a license to practice nursing.  HOSA members are not qualifying for anything.  Instead, they are having an experience that will prepare them for the time when they are qualifying for something.

National HOSA is not a certification agency. HOSA’s goal is to engage and motivate members and put them in positions to make good, informed career decisions. HOSA desires to provide positive learning experiences for students who participate as members.

Why can't things be better organized with Competitive Events at the International Leadership Conference?

The goal with HOSA Competitive Events is perfection. Many hours are spent in preparing for the best possible event experience for HOSA members. Sometimes, the local folks who promise to help and bring supplies don't follow through, and then we find ourselves moving to Plan B. Every year, 95% of our events run extremely well, and something strange happens to the other 5%. We never expect things to go wrong, and hope that next year, we achieve 100% perfection.

Remember, too, that HOSA's vast number of volunteers help to keep our costs at a reasonable level. Our number one priority is to offer a quality Competitive Events Program for our students, and we plan to continue to work toward achieving that goal.

Why aren't there holding rooms? People can get out and tell the secret problem!

Holding rooms were taken away many years ago because competitors asked for it. Competitors were frustrated at spending hours in a holding area, and felt that it adversely affected their ability to perform and succeed.

In the General Rules and Regulations, rule #15 states: "Appointment times are used in many HOSA events to avoid detaining competitors in holding rooms for long periods of time. Professional ethics demand that competitors DO NOT discuss or reveal the secret topic or scenario for ANY event until after the event has concluded."

The truth is, we rely on HOSA members to practice professional ethics - before, during and after their competition.

Why can't you find out what skills were done at the regional and state events so they aren't repeated again at the International Leadership Conference?

There are 48 different states that sponsor state competition, and as a result, all skills are used somewhere prior to the International Leadership Conference (ILC).

The skills chosen to be performed at the ILC are usually based on what will work best in the clinical setting available. As a national organization, we do not want to restrict what skills states can select, nor do we wish to disclose the skills that will be performed at the ILC.

Our hope is that when HOSA members come to the ILC, they are competent to perform any and all the skills in Health Professions and Emergency Preparedness events at a mastery level of skill proficiency - which is defined as 70% or above for almost all skills. In other words, we want ALL competitors to have been evaluated in local and state competition on all of the skill procedures, such that it really would not matter what skills are chosen - since the HOSA member is highly qualified to perform every one of them.

Be aware that at the International Leadership Conference, usually 1-3 procedures are selected for each event.

Why are the rooms so small? Why are the tables rough? Why are the chairs so uncomfortable? Why do we have to prep in a room with more than one team?

All good questions. Once again, we do try to secure the best possible hotels and convention centers for holding the International Leadership Conference. For most events, the conditions are excellent. For some, there is noise down the hall, or people too close together testing, or just not enough rooms to allow each preparing team to have their own room. What we do have is the best possible environment that we can secure - and an equal playing field for everyone in the same event.

 

 

 

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