The NBCOT can be a daunting task. The days leading up to the exam can be scary and overwhelming. For this reason, it is important to organize yourself in order to be successful. I am a known procrastinator, so when it was time for me to take the exam I knew that I definitely needed to commit in order to effectively prepare. I remember the day I picked a date. I felt sick to my stomach. The fear of failure was paralyzing, but I developed a plan and moved forward. Below I have compiled a list of tips and resources that helped me pass the exam on the first try.
1. Pick a date: The first thing you need to do is pick a date. It does not matter if you have started studying or not, just pick a date. Having a set date will make you accountable and force you to get started. However, do make sure you give yourself enough time to cover all of the material. I would say that 2 to 3 months of studying is usually a good time frame.
2. Do not change your date: Many students postpone their exam date in hopes of getting some more studying done. For the most part they do not. Pick a date and stick with it.
3. Test yourself: Before you begin studying the material take a simulated test. This will give you an idea of what areas you are weakest in, and will help you ensure that you pay extra attention to those areas when reviewing the material.
4. Time is everything: Make sure that you time yourself when taking practice exams. The NBCOT is a timed test and most people that have not been successful, it has been due to the fact that they ran out of time. Only practice will make you a faster test taker. You should aim to spend about 1 minute per question.
5. Study every day: You should definitely take a few hours of each day to review a different topic. Keeping your mind engaged and immersed in the subject will help you retain the information.
6. Answer questions: Each study session should end with a practice test. The more questions you answer, the better you will become at reasoning through them. Always, always, always read through the answer choices and the explanation behind them. Even if you got the question right, these rationales provide valuable information. You will be surprised how much knowledge you gain by just doing this.
7. Distract yourself: Do not study the day before the exam. What you know is already committed to memory, and cramming is not going to be of much help at this point. Make sure you engage in activities that you enjoy and serve as a distraction.
In order to prepare for the exam I used Therapyed and the AOTA’s NBCOT Exam Prep. Both resources provide great study guides, and lots of practice questions that helped me learn how to effectively reason through them. However, I will say that the 3 simulated exams in the Therapyed book were much harder than I expected. So please do not feel discouraged if you do poorly, just make sure you read all of the rationales for each question. I found the questions on the actual NBCOT exam to be much easier. I hope this post is of help to those studying for the exam. It is a long process, but totally worth it. If you have any other questions feel free to send me an e-mail or leave it in a comment below. Good luck !!