For those of you who didn’t pass the NBCOT exam for the first, second, third, fourth or however many attempts, what are some lessons that life taught you along the way? Did you grow into a better person throughout your struggle? Personally, this whole process of trying to pass this exam has shown me how strong I am and has taught me some very important lessons. How to remain calm and at peace when your world/dreams seems to be falling apart. I think we all have lofty ideas of doing certain things, being at certain levels in our lives, and working /living in certain areas of the world. We can make our decisions and everything seems so sure to us and we relax in the idea that because “I” plan something in my life, this is how life is going to go, it’s going to be smooth sailing right?

How do you pick up the shattered pieces of your dreams when what you planned to happen doesn't happen?

How do you deal with feeling stuck while classmates are advancing and living their “best lives” on social media? I’m not sure why I’m writing this (I was studying the joys of Medicare), but I feel that some people may have experienced similar situations. What I found that helps me is to remain in constant/consistent prayer and to know that no matter what happens in life things can be worse… WAY worse. I had dreams of passing on the first attempt, spending a huge chunk of my first paycheck at the Ralph Lauren store at Tanger Outlets while using my old school ID to save 10% on my purchase, I was supposed to be in the VIP celebrating with gold bottles for one night only with my homies (barely drink I just wanted the bottle as a souvenir), at least by now I would have my own apartment or something! I studied for my first attempt everyday for 8-10 hrs. a day using AOTA PDFs and questions. I walked into the exam not worried about anything, not anxious about anything, the wands and fingerprint scans didn’t bother me or rattle me any, the proctor hovering over my shoulder didn’t worry me any, I thought I was smooth sailing! Until I got to question 72/170 with less than an hour remaining. Man, I could’ve sworn I paced myself effectively! Instantly, I got lightheaded and dizzy and I tried to trendelenburg my rolling chair but I almost fell out of it (what is this called? lol). I’m going off course…


I felt myself slowly fading away to the background as those who passed rejoiced on the front page of damn there every social media outlet! How do you find joy for others and celebrate their successes while going through the opposite situation? The day of finding out the result that you didn’t pass your exam is a numbing feeling. Your mind switches instantly to denial as your friends/parents ask “Hey are you ok? Yeah I’m good, I’m alright just gotta do it again I guess.”


“Are you alright? If you need anything I’m here for you.”

“Yeah I’m good. I’ll be ok- just gotta map it all out again I guess.”


Quickly the numbing effects start to wear off and you’re stuck with pain that you can’t seem to shake, thoughts that constantly play in your mind, and bill collectors calling your phone using your data.

Over these past attempts I’ve learned to laugh more, depend on God more, learn to accept help, live in the NOW, help others (takes the focus off of yourself), love everything/everyone, smile through your pain, take care of others, not comparing your life to others around you. Doing these things can help to take the focus off of your situation, and appreciate those other things in life besides this NBCOT exam. I’ve learned that God has to be at the front and His anointing will cover everything after Him, His peace will carry you through your storms. I’m not saying that your days won’t be difficult but you’ll be well equipped to go into battle on any attempt. Not sure if this post makes any sense or has any worth, but I just wanted to share that things will get better and even though you feel down, and life seems to pass you by, and you barely celebrated during Christmas and New Year’s, you mean a lot. What you’re working towards is going to make an impact on someone’s life and because you’re chasing a dream to take care of other people, I think you are a very special person – you hold a special place in God’s heart.

Don’t let failure get you down, I know days are hard and you have a hard time getting out of bed to study yet again, and the thought of your classmates advancing gets you teary-eyed as you study pediatrics milestones all over again, just know that the wrong doors are being closed and the right doors are slowly creeping open after every day of studying. Don’t you dare give up on yourself, don’t you dare think negative of yourself, you’re made for a purpose and “your story” will save someone’s life. You will be a great OTR/COTA, your patients will refuse everyone else but will want to work with you, your presence will be felt at your work setting, you will be a top therapist with your solid knowledge base. Day by day you’re being shaped into the OT practitioner you’re supposed to be. Keep your head up and show all 32 teeth everyday. Love.

On March 15, 2018, Lavarre Green successfully passed his NBCOT OTR exam. Click Here to read his follow up story and strategies that helped him pass on his fourth attempt.