Finishing Strong: I Passed the NBCOT® Exam on My 5th Attempt

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I just want to dedicate this post to my sweet fiancé who has been there for me through the good and bad. He really has been my rock throughout this whole experience. After an 8 hour shift M-F, he would drive an hour in traffic to help me study and I can’t thank him enough for being my biggest fan and always supporting me financially, emotionally, and mentally. It has been a rough journey but it’s honestly made me realize how strong and determined I am and that everything happens in God’s perfect timing.

Multiple Test Taker

There was definitely a lot of pressure on me to pass. I am a multiple attempt test-taker. NBCOT isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. You can and you will pass as long as you do your part. Wedding planning full-time and studying for boards is really stressful and overwhelming. Time management is key but it’s totally doable. Whoever is reading this, I just want to let you know that as I share the following tips, this is what helped me pass, but you just have to figure out what works best for you. I had to do a lot of trial-and-error along the way. What works for one person may not work for another and that’s ok. Everyone’s learning style is different and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am a visual learner so I like to watch videos and jot down notes over and over again until it’s well-established in my head.

Tips and Strategies

Quality or Quantity

Create a study plan but also make sure to have some fun to stay sane. It’s truly not how much you have studied, it’s about how efficiently you have studied. Quality over quantity. Make and bring some flashcards everywhere with you (even if you don’t want to make flashcards, use Quizlet!), watch OT Miri YouTube videos (seriously OT Miri is a life-saver, she makes difficult topics easier to understand), take plenty of practice questions, read other people’s posts on this website to stay motivated and know that you are NOT alone. Use the elimination method, then narrow it down to two multiple choice answers. Usually there are two that you are unsure of but I follow these steps to help me select the BEST answer. Is it safe? Is it ethical? Is it naturalistic? Is it client-centered? Is it active? I wrote these all down on the dry-erase board to remind me. I also wrote down a bible verse and my name Jocelyn, OTR/L.

Therapy Ed

The TherapyEd book is really daunting and overwhelming to get through but I can honestly say it’s what helped me pass. The CST portion and the MC practice questions are super hard but I will say that it’s made the actual test easier. I read this book cover to cover, highlighted and made some notes. I do have a love/hate relationship with TherapyEd but I also took the course. The course is more so about deconstructing the question and I really did think it was worth the money. I also used tabs for crucial chapters and/or pages for me to refer back later in this book. The Johnson book and the AOTA practice questions are amazing and really resembles the actual test. I catch myself being lazy at times but I made sure I read the rationales over and over again even if I got the answer correct. I also typed up notes for my weaker areas and focused on those to gain a better understanding.

Exam Day

Arrive at the testing center early. Take a deep breath. Lay out your clothes, grab the ATT letter, quick notes, snacks and water, and different forms of IDs the night before. Last thing you need is stress the morning of the exam. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to rush because that just makes me really anxious. I had extended testing time so I took my time and read the question VERY carefully. I took a lot of breaks and by the time I got to the 20th question, I was already mentally exhausted. Awareness was key. When this happens, I decided to get up and get a snack to refuel my body and take restroom breaks if needed. Other times, I just got up and walked around the building to just relax and take my mind off the test for a little.

Stay Strong

Stay positive and motivated! I workout a lot and I try to make sure I squeeze in a run everyday. It really does wonders as it releases endorphins and makes you feel productive and energetic. Eat healthy. Make sure you have some ME time. It’s definitely okay to do other things other than studying. Don’t make studying your whole life or you will drive yourself crazy. Whether you’re taking this test for the first time or your 5th time like me, good luck to everyone near and far! Keep expecting things out of yourself that you didn’t think you could accomplish. Climb and don’t look back until you get there. Just because you fail does not mean you are incompetent or will be a horrible OT. Everyone fails, it’s how we grow. It truly has been a humbling experience and despite all the struggles, I remain thankful and forever blessed to be where I am today.

Finish strong,
Jocelyn

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