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Welcome to OTDUDE.com’s FREE NBCOT® Exam Prep!
Congratulations on the successful completion of your degree in Occupational Therapy. This is a major achievement and a major milestone. You are about to become a part of a profession that is truly rewarding which helps clients from all backgrounds to participate in what is important to them – their occupations. Of course, you already know that. That is why you went through all the hard work of taking pre-requisites, registering, interviewing, studying, testing, presenting, and graduating. I was in your shoes when I graduated from OT school.
Right now, you may have a mixture of feelings and emotions – happiness, doubt, confidence, stress, worry, and so on. The OT board exam is hard, but not impossible. I got good grades (B+ to A+) in all of my courses – and passed on my first attempt! You can do it too! When I studied, I used a combination of materials – 2 course prep books, the AOTA study guide PDFs, practice question books and online simulations, Youtube videos, online pre-made flashcards and study calendar. Now your study style may be different. Reflect back on your success in OT school and what made you successful. Use those same strategies.
Even among my cohort, we had different methods of preparing for the OT Boards. Some followed a calendar, some used one book at a time, some studied subjects simultaneously, some did practice questions as they studied, some saved them all for the end. There is probably no correct method or best method. Follow these tips and the tips of your prep books and you will be able to pass!
You know the importance of habits and routines. Establish a good study routine with healthy studying habits 1-2 months before your scheduled exam. Some study strategies include:
SchedulingDurationEnvironmentLocationLearning StyleStudy Breaks
Schedule your study sessions around your obligations and other activities. If you like to go to the gym in the morning, do that, shower, then study. If you have children, schedule your study time when you can get help with watching them. Study at the same time every day, preferably around the same time your board exam will be.
Schedule a minimum amount of time each day to review, quiz, and rest. Work your way up to 5-6 days a week of studying 2-5 hours per day. Shorter durations may likely not allow enough time for review. The goal is to build your testing endurance to the hours of the actual exam. If you have trouble concentrating, a good study hack is to use a Pomodoro timer app, which is widely available for free. It should be the only reason to use your phone when reviewing – not texting, Facebooking. Of course, you’ll need to use a digital device to access OTDUDE’s Exam Prep, we’ll grant you that exception! 😉
Ah, the distractions of modern life. Study away from your computer if you are reviewing. Silence your phone. Have your pet somewhere else. Have the room at a comfortable temperature – your exam location will likely be air-conditioned. Ensure you have proper ergonomics at your desk as you will be studying for long sessions. Try not to study in bed, unless you are reviewing things such as flashcards to sleep.
You may prefer a quiet place, such as your room or a library. You may like the background noise of a coffee shop. Some interesting studies have shown that the location can make a difference. Pick a place with minimal distractions. The important thing is that when you do practice questions that you try to mimic the testing environment. This is especially important when you do simulated practice exams that should not be interrupted towards the end of your study journey.
You probably learned about learning styles, e.g. visual, auditory learners. This is a controversial topic
about whether people really have a better learning style. We recommend studying using multiple methods to maximize your “sponging” of the material. Studies have shown that when you educate and talk out loud, it helps to learn. So talk to your cat or stuffed animal. Consider study groups a few weeks into reviewing to quiz with your peers, but try to minimize distractions and conversations. Everyone’s study style of individual vs. group is different. Study groups of 2-3 are a good size.
Remember to re-energize: eat healthy, exercise, do something fun, rest and sleep! Naps
are probably fine, but they should not disrupt your sleeping schedule. Get at least 8 hours of sleep daily to improve your memory and retention of the material. Practice good sleep hygiene
to help you get restful REM sleep.
Put in the hard work and it will pay off!
- Review a content topic area after each study session.
- Just taking hundreds/thousands of practice questions is only one part of the process. Review your knowledge. You don’t know what you don’t know – if you were not quizzed on it.
- When you master a specific area and feel comfortable with it, mark it down or keep a log, then move on to the next topic.
- Chances are, no matter how much you study, you may still encounter topics that make think WTF?! Use your critical thinking and elimination of wrong choices to narrow down your best guess.
- Timing is a skill. Just like how you took exams within the allotted time in OT school, you have only so much time to finish MC and CST sections. As you begin to take more quizzes and practice exams, be cognizant of the time you spend on each question and section. My classmate had to rush through their MC section (very stressful), but she managed to still pass. You don’t want to be in that position when you are in the hot seat. The OT exam has a timer you can leave on or hide – it’s up to you.
- Looking for more tips? Check out my recommened Exam Prep materials, which often have tips in the Intro section at the beginning of their review books.
- Follow our Facebook Page and join our Facebook Group for additional posts & discussion.
- Practice CBT – positive self-talk strategies.
- Good luck!
Exam Prep Quizzes
All Topics (Random Mode)
- Cardiopulmonary conditions
- Community mobility
- Hand and upper extremity
- Low vision
- Mental health, adult
- Mental health, pediatric
- Musculoskeletal impairments
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Neurologic impairments
- Occupational rehabilitation/ return to work
- Pediatric assessment and intervention
- Standards of practice
- Wheelchair seating and mobility
YouTube – Board Exam Prep Videos
Watch & Review
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Review additional content
Review the OTDUDE Reference Guides to supplement your studying.
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