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Author Bio: Bill Timmons
The NBCOT® exam preparation and the weeks and months leading up to the exam date can be full of anxiety, stress, fear and a lot of other negative emotions. Let’s be honest, it is impossible to not be anxious before a significant exam in your life, but it is possible to reduce your stress level on the days leading up to the exam and control the anxiety while you are taking the exam. Most students have to take the NBCOT® exam multiple times, and if you are one of them, you just need the right guidance to pass it.
According to people who have passed the NBCOT® exam, you will have to think like the people who wrote the questions. So, you will have to dedicate considerable time to go through the available material, understand the nature of the questions, scrutinize the scoring and take multiple practice tests to get into their mindset. It can be both time-consuming and tiring when you have to accomplish that all by yourself. However, that need not be the case. Here are the five ways you can adequately prepare for the NBCOT® exam in whatever study and prep time you have left –
Understand how the information relates
You have already graduated from OT school, so it is safe to say that you have the necessary information in your memory palace. Now it is time to find out how you can use them to solve real-life issues that a professional OT might face in his or her career. On one hand, that means saying “goodbye” to the meaningless cramming. There is no reason for students to learn and relearn their notes and textbooks from their OT school. On the other hand, that means acquiring new skills that enable you to relate the knowledge you have acquired over the years.
The knowledge you need to answer the NBCOT® exam questions is already in there. You need a way to relate them. You cannot memorize and store the information in silos. You need to break the walls down so that you can access all the information about a particular element at one go. Think of your mind as the database. During the exam, you need to understand the query and find the primary key to the data.
Find online resources for preparing
Quizzes and flashcards have always been helpful before exams. However, now you can find and use online flashcards and quizzes that will make preparation easy, fun and quick. Most of the authentic quizzes come with complementary answer sets. That will help you find out which answers you got wrong during the practice test and what the correct answer is. You can check your flashcards while on the move – on your mobile phone or laptop. Check out more NBCOT® exam prep resources at the passtheot.com website.
It always helps to collaborate with other OT students online. You might not know them in real life, but that should not stop you from sharing material from online resources. You might even come across new information that you have missed. However, be ready to invest a little while looking for authentic practice material. Most discounted or free material is not accurate, and they don’t help during the real NBCOT® exam.
Formulate a study guide and a schedule
While working with friends, it is easy to set up a study guide since the environment remains competitive yet symbiotic. Preparing alone is quite a challenge. Reading and writing are rarely sufficient to crack the NBCOT® exam. If that is what you have been doing this far, you need to add some more effort. Create a guide on a simple Excel sheet or Google Doc, so you can pull up relevant URLs or study material, whenever you have trouble understanding a new concept or when you face doubts.
You can begin to categorize study material by their theme – mental health, physical disability, pediatrics, etc. Check out cognitive models online that can work for both physical disabilities and mental health topics. Reorganizing your NBCOT® exam study material will give you the liberty to form connections between information that you already know, and it will provide you with a new perspective of the same.
Invest in study material, supplementary material and more
Apart from quizzes and flashcards, you will require old-school textbooks. Since you are fresh out of Occupational Therapy school, you might already have the books you need. In that case, think about getting some online coaching or one-on-one tutoring that will help you get a grasp of the concepts that confuse you.
There are hundreds of study guides out there but only go for the ones that your peers, professors and online OTs recommend. Buying discounted material from e-commerce stores might prove to be a complete waste of money when you finally face the NBCOT® exam. Unless you want that, you should be careful about which study guides you purchase.
Give yourself a much-deserved break
Don’t even think about last minute cramming. Memorizing facts does not help during the NBCOT® exam. Rely on what you know and whatever you have already practiced. Don’t begin on new material two days before the test. Cracking the NBCOT® exam has a lot to do with confidence. Only preparation is not enough to score well and become an OT.
Once you finish going over the material more than once and you complete mock tests within the stipulated time, you should know that you have earned a break. Go out with friends, drop by a boutique coffee shop or visit the museum. Have a quiet day with yourself and your thoughts. Or, simply take a nap. Sleeping is very necessary before any critical exam. Quality sleep will not only reenergize you for the next day, but it will also aid your long-term memory. When you take a break, remember to make it relaxing and enjoyable.
The NBCOT® exam may seem dreadful, but you can pass with flying colors with a little help from the pros. Just remember to look at the right places for help during the preparatory phase. Also, remember that studying with a friend or a couple of friends is always more fun than studying for the NBCOT® exam alone. There is nothing better than having a study group where you help your friends succeed and let your friends help you too!