Memory Tricks for the NBCOT® Exam

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Use the Practice Tests

Simply reading and taking notes from exam prep books and my OT textbooks was boring and tedious. I also found that when I got home from the library, I’d forgotten most of what I’d read and wrote that day. A friend suggested that I use the practice tests (from any reputable source) to guide my studying and then review my notes from the day’s studying before bed. This helped in 2 ways:

  1. I was able to identify which areas I needed to review and not just read the exam prep books cover to cover.
  2. Looking up information related to a question I’d missed caused me to read content with a specific question/scenario in mind. This increased my focus as I imagined the client/condition/setting in my mind and thought – How would OT benefit this person? Why is X true and the other answers wrong?

Memory Tricks

Though this helped me to focus and make sense of what I studied, there were still areas I just couldn’t get into my head no matter how much I studied, or tried to apply meaning to. I soon realized that the concepts I continually missed involved information that could only retained through rote memorization. This would have been fine if there were only 1 or 2 lists to memorize, but we all know there’s much more than that in our years of OT curriculum. So I Googled memory tricks and found 2 that worked well for me – Roman room (loci) and memory pegs. I used these mostly for those annoying peds gross and fine motor ages/stages because those ordered lists can’t be rationalized, visualized or internalized except through memorization.

Here are links to sites that explain how to use the techniques:

Roman Room

Memory Pegs

Example of the Roman Room Memory Technique

I’ll give you a partial example of one of my Roman rooms for scissor skills. Remember, you have to create your own because it has to be personalized and outlandish.

So I visualize myself walking into my kitchen from my garage (something I do daily).
I see Bobby Flay standing at my counter with scissors in his hand snipping 2 or 3 chives (snips at 2-3 y/o).
Then, I look over at my kitchen table where I see my nutty black lab, Ruby, running forward around the straight edges of my square table 3-4 x with scissors in her mouth (3-4 child cuts forward, straight lines, simple geometric shapes) …

I hope this info helps you. Best of Luck!

And Thank You Miri! I’d watch one of your videos each night before I went to sleep.

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