Pros and Cons of Anticipating EPPP Exam Stress

Stress. We all know it, right? As graduate students, it can feel like we are constantly trying to escape these feelings of stress and anxiety. However, it turns out that anxiety can, in fact, be adaptive in some cases! One of the most prominent examples of stress impacting our everyday lives, in my opinion, is test-taking. Although graduate school in psychology entails a significant amount of writing, the general impression is that tests and exams are more stressful for students. Exams are necessary for our education, unfortunately. All the way from a simple quiz in statistics, to comprehensive exams, and of course — the EPPP.

Research has shown that there is a fine line of how helpful anxiety and stress can be before it becomes detrimental. That seems to be most clearly demonstrated in the performance of students on exams. There is an amount that serves us well, even though it can be uncomfortable. Like all good things, though, too much stress causes a sharp drop in performance.

Here stress is explained in a graph [3]:

In this blog, we’re going to go over the myriad of ways that stress can be both a help and a hindrance when it comes to test-taking. After we go through all the ways that anticipating stress can be good and bad, you can decide for yourself what the ideal balance of anxiety is for you.

Cons

Naturally, the negative aspects and experiences associated with stress pop to mind first. The most obvious of the undesirable characteristics is the discomfort we feel [1]. Who enjoys feeling stressed out? The nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something? The threat of failure at your chosen graduate program? I didn’t think so. I’ll venture to say that there is not one among us who would enjoy the feeling of that stress. Wanting to escape that feeling is enough of a downside for some people to avoid anything stress-inducing altogether.

A second drawback to anticipatory stress (the stress that we feel when anticipating a real or imagined negative stimulus) is that it can actually ruin your day [2]! Even if that even that you were dreading doesn’t come to pass, research states that you will have a more difficult time laying down new information and retaining information throughout the entire day [4]. The research agrees that your long-term memory will remain fine, there are still heavy impacts caused by even working memory impairments. These can range from careless errors on a report to taking the wrong medication!  

Finally, an overrepresentation of anxiety and stress can even lead to a condition known as “cortisol poisoning” [7]. According to biopsychology, there is a specific neurotransmitter released when we feel “stressed out”. This neurotransmitter is called “cortisol” [7]. This neurotransmitter was evolutionarily adaptive for primitive humans to analyze potentially threatening situations and to give us the energy to get out of there or fight back, should the need arise, aka our fight-or-flight response [7]. Our ancestors were able to make snap decisions better and to tune into only the most relevant infomration. Although this can be adaptive in some situations, it is a very short-term benefit [7]. The human body can only maintain that state for a short while. When you are under the constant level of stress that puts you into fight-or-flight mode, you wear out fast—which leads to the state that we mentioned earlier: cortisol poisoning [7].

Pros

Even though the negative things about are often the first to show up in our minds, there are important positive aspects to stress that should be equally considered.

Anticipatory stress can actually improve our performance on exams. One author [5] suggested that when we have a major stressor upcoming, such as an exam, we engage in more preparatory behaviors. This simply means that when we’re worried about an upcoming exam, we are more likely to spend time rehearsing the information, committing the information to memory, and truly understand the information.

Stress and anxiety can be a good motivator to study ahead of time. Usually, stress or anxiety stems from some sort of unknown—such as the unknown outcome on an exam. When we are uncertain of something, we are usually motivated by the search for certainty. One way this can be achieved is, again, through studying. Long before the deadline or the evening before, if we are worried enough about our performance, it is likely that you will be studying in advance to alleviate the anxiety [5]. 

Remember the fight-or-flight response that we talked about earlier as a con to stress felt before a big exam [1]? That same response can be adaptive as well [1]! I know it sounds like a contradiction, but think about it—when you feel that surge of adrenaline that signifies a reasonable amount of distress prior to an exam; you are more focused, you are able to make decisions more quickly, and you tune out the irrelevant input more easily [1]. In sum, you are in an ideal state to take that exam!

In conclusion, some stress is a good thing. But remember, only some! There is a trap that often ensnares graduate students: that you need to constantly be stressed out or worried about the next impending exam or paper. Make sure to monitor your own stress levels and not to allow them to become toxic! As we discussed, having a fire is good—just don’t get burned! 

References

  1. Redlawsk, D. P., Civettini, A. J., & Emmerson, K. M. (2010). The affective tipping point: Do motivated reasoners ever “get it”?. Political Psychology31(4), 563-593.
  2. Semarjian, M. (2018). Why Anticipating Stress Can Ruin More Than Just Your Day. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/316302
  3. Gino, F. (2016). Are You Too Stressed to Be Productive? Or Not Stressed Enough?. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/04/are-you-too-stressed-to-be-productive-or-not-stressed-enough
  4. https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geronb/gby042/4996223?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  5. http://fiupsychology.com/Anticipating%20Stress.htm
  6. Anticipating Stress – Managing Stress by Preparing For It. (2018). Retrieved from http://fiupsychology.com/Anticipating%20Stress.htm
  7. Rankin, L. (2018). 10 Signs You Have WAY Too Much Cortisol. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9527/10-signs-you-have-way-too-much-cortisol.html

Structure of the EPPP

It’s still haunting us. The EPPP, like a final boss to beat after all your academics have been completed and you’re finishing up your postdoctoral training hours, is waiting for you at the end of all your hard work. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) have worked to develop this exam to comprehensively test your ability to perform both clinical and research-based skills in a real-world setting.

The exam, as it stands now, is administered solely electronically at Pearson VUE testing centers. However, in January of 2020, there will be an interactive component. The EPPP2 (the version to be released and adopted in January 2020) will include a portion that better addresses the hopeful psychologist-trainee’s clinical skills. They will be tested on the foundational and functional competencies required by the profession. Foundational skills such as evidence-based decision making, critical reasoning, and interpersonal competencies will be addressed. The functional assessments will focus more on the ability to assess clients, provide interventions, and offer consultation services within the scope of your competency.

First, it is important to get a general understanding of the EPPP. The exam is 225 multiple choice questions, which the test-taker needs to complete in four hours and fifteen minutes. Within this testing time, ASPPB accounts for one 15-minute break, which the test-taker can choose to take at any time. The questions also include 50 pilot questions, which will not be counted toward the tester’s final score. These are administered to help the ASPPB develop future forms of the exam. You will need to score a 70% correct, although there are a few states that require a slightly more stringent passing percentage. Following the exam, you will be provided with your “unofficial scores”, which will likely indicate if you have passed or not. These scores are still considered unofficial, as they haven’t been reviewed by official scorers of the ASPPB or Pearson. Barring anything unusual, these will likely be your official scores.

There are eight major domains covered by the EPPP. We’ll go into each here briefly. Something to note: the EPPP2, or the Enhanced EPPP will be released in January of 2020, which may or may not have a different breakdown. For now, this is the distribution of topics that we know, so these are the ones that we will delve into.

The first is Biological Bases of Behavior, which accounts for 10% of the exam. You probably remember taking a course titled something similar to this in graduate school. This portion of the exam focuses on reasons behind human behavior that are based in our biological make-up. For instance, heritability of psychological issues as well as brain structure. This section can prove rather difficult for some individuals, especially those who got into the social sciences to avoid courses like biology. Nevertheless, this information is very important for eventual psychologists. Knowing some of the biology that goes into the biopsychosocial approach understood by most psychologists is necessary to conceptualize your clients as well as communicate within the field.

Next, we have Cognitive & Affective Bases of Behavior, which is 13% of the exam. Again, this section of the exam likely reflects a course that you have taken in your graduate coursework.  This section deals with the theory that our behaviors are also driven by our cognitions and emotions. It is important to understand this and other bases of behavior as standalone theories, and to understand it as it interacts with the other bases of human behavior.

Third is the Social & Cultural Bases of Behavior at 11% of the exam. This is the final section explicitly about behavioral bases of the EPPP. This portion examines your knowledge on the culturally-based drives of our behavior. Specifically, Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior examines the relationship of a person to their peers and environment and how it impacts their behaviors. Additionally, this section also impacts the other two major bases of behavior: Cognitive & Affective Bases and Biological Bases. Social interactions have strong impact on the overall functioning of an individual, which is why it is vitally important to understand this section in light of the other sections.

There is also a section on Growth & Lifespan Development. This section accounts for 12% of the exam. This section deals with the changes in a human’s life—spanning all the way from infancy to death. This refers to things such as characteristics at a certain age, appropriate milestones for infants, intellectual development over a lifetime, and understanding the factors that lead to developmental variances from person to person. When thinking about Growth & Lifespan Development, most people focus on infancy and early developmental milestones. However, it is important not to ignore the developmental process after the age of 18. There is a robust amount of infomration to be studied after the client turns 18 (and it’s fair game for the EPPP)!

The ASPPB also uses 16% of the EPPP to test your knowledge and abilities in Assessment and Diagnosis. This section combines two major components of our profession, the first being clinical assessment. By this, the examiners are referring to “softer” assessments (such as in-session suicidal/homicidal ideation and assessments of orientation) as well as “hard” assessments (such as the Wechsler tests or the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale). These assessments provide valuable clinical knowledge to psychologists in their own respective rites. Understanding when each is appropriate and how to best make sense of the obtained infomration is a major required competency of psychologists. Related to the assessment component is the Diagnosis component of this section. You will be asked to use information provided by the exam to select an appropriate working diagnosis. You will likely be required to integrate information provided by a range of assessments into the diagnostic consideration.

The sixth domain covered by the EPPP includes Treatment, Interventions, Prevention, and Supervision. This domain represents 15% of the exam. Once the working diagnosis has been established, it only follows that the next section is the appropriate treatment and intervention styles. When provided with a diagnosis and some background information, the psychologist-in-training will be required to choose a certain plan of treatment and select appropriate interventions based on that treatment model. Naturally, this will require your intimate knowledge of different treatment modalities and associated interventions, as well as their respective efficacy for different diagnoses and demographic groups.

Everyone’s favorite section of the EPPP is the portion covering Research Methods and Statistics! Not to worry, this portion represents the smallest percentage of the exam, representing only 7%. If you are planning on being a researcher primarily, this may be a more exciting section for you. However, if you are the type that prefers clinical practice and intervention to research, this section can be a bit of a challenge. Many of the questions in this section surround interpreting research and determining proper use of statistics in the field. Knowing that all empirical research needs to have proper design and accurate use of statistics, the importance of this section is evident. Although all published studies have gone through some sort of peer-review process, there remains a burden on the psychologist interpreting the research to determine if the design and statistics are appropriate to the specific situation. Additionally, should you ever publish your own research, it is important to ensure that your research design, methods, and statistics are sound.

Finally, the EPPP also includes an exam on Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues, which accounts for 16% of the exam. Later in your steps towards licensure, you will also take an exam entirely on ethics and the law. Although this exam is not your ethics exam, the ASPPB has included ethics in applied problems for the EPPP. Knowing how to practice and conduct yourself in an ethical and professional manner is extremely important to the profession and our respective governing boards. When something unethical or unprofessional happens, it tends to reflect poorly on our field as a whole. This may feel like some pressure—as it should. The EPPP is just another safeguard to ensure that when you enter the field as a licensed clinician, you are truly ready to take on the rights and responsibilities that accompany the title.

While we still do not know much about the EPPP2, we do know that the exam will move towards a competency approach. Specifically, they will be testing the individual’s competency in (1) Scientific Orientation to Practice, (2) Relational Competence, (3) Assessment and Intervention, (4) Ethical Practice, (5) Collaboration, Consultation, and Supervision, and (6) Professionalism. The EPPP2 (Enhanced EPPP) will be taken in a separate sitting from the EPPP as it is now, and you will be permitted another 4 hours and 15 minutes for this exam as well. The general reasoning behind this additions to predict and asses how you will perform as a clinician rather than simply how well you have been able to memorize and regurgitate information studied. In short, this is a more practical application to the EPPP’s information.

Tips to scheduling proper “me time”

How can you even think about taking a break right now?? It’s nearly exam time! I have a paper due! I must do some research for my dissertation!

There’s always something going on. As graduate students, our schedules seem to be packed to the minute with classes, practical experiences, deadlines, and inevitably something we forgot. Even though we’re in a helping profession, we seem to be particularly guilty of neglecting ourselves [1]. In fact, it would seem as though psychologists and psychological professionals overall are more likely to neglect their own self-care over those in other professions [1]. Although this seems to be the trend, it can be particularly detrimental to our mental health. Because we are needed to intervene when people are often at their lowest points, we have some very strong emotional burdens to bear. We are at risk for emotional distress, secondary or vicarious traumatic distress, and burnout. Just like when the flight attendant says to put your mask on before assisting anyone else, as professionals we must take care of ourselves to ensure that we have the emotional stamina to be able to care for anyone else. This is why making sure to schedule “me time” is so important.

I know that your schedule is jam-packed. Trust me when I say that you are not alone in that.  Because we all know how difficult it is to even carve out time for dinner for yourself, how can we even think about the idea of taking a little self-care, or “me time”. To help us all figure out a couple of better strategies for fitting this time into your day.

Putting time in your schedule for yourself can work for some people [2]. However, there are many people, especially graduate students, who can see this as an opportunity to work on something else, get caught up on notes, or simply get some extra reading in. This time in your planner is too often seen as flexible, which can be a major danger when you’re trying to ensure that you get to take this time.

Being specific can help you ensure you take this time. Instead of just putting in your calendar “me time”, try putting in something specific that you will do. For example, on Thursday night you might plan to catch up on your favorite TV show, blog posts, or even get some exercise. When you focus on something specific that you enjoy, it can already start giving you the reminder of what you are working towards. If we remember some of our major principles of behaviorism, having the positive reinforcement can help us work harder and increases the likelihood that we follow through on that action.

In the same vein, focusing on the future can help as well. Knowing that you have something to look forward to in the coming week can be the boost you need to make it through the week. If you are having a particularly difficult day, you may want to even move your schedule around, so you can have some time to “unplug” your brain a bit at the end of the day. Offering these little sessions of “me time” can be enough to keep you going, especially on surprisingly challenging days.

Be sure to schedule time for yourself as frequently as you feel like you need it. There is no exact amount of time that a person should be able to go before needing a mental health break. As budding clinicians, you are already aware that there is not really such a thing as “normal”. If you need a break every evening, so be it. If you can go all week before needing some self-care, that’s fine too! Make sure that you don’t try to push yourself too hard before taking a break, or that you give yourself too many breaks. You know yourself better than anyone, so try to be honest with yourself about how much self-care you need to stay mentally healthy.

Make sure to treat these as important as any other deadline that you’re working around. Granting these “me time” breaks the same gravity that the rest of your tasks have will remind you of the importance of your mental health. Ideally, they will also increase your follow through on them. Remember, no one would fault you for taking a day off for the flu. In order to be at 100%, you health needs to be intact, which includes your mental health!

 

References

  1. Shallcross, L. (2011). Taking care of yourself as a counselor. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2011/01/taking-care-of-yourself-as-a-counselor/
  2. The Muse. (2014). How To Actually Make Time For Yourself When Your Schedule Is Crazy. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/12/12/how-to-actually-make-time-for-yourself-when-your-schedule-is-crazy/#97fea8852638

 

How to bounce back from a failed licensure exam

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

You worse nightmare came true. You didn’t pass your exam. All of the hard work and late nights of studying didn’t pay off. You feel disappointed and embarrassed. Allow yourself to experience any feeling you need to afterward. Now it’s time to pick up the pieces and make a new plan.

You can bounce back from a failed licensure exam. You are learning from the experience and have the opportunity to try again. Here are a few tips to put yourself back together and prepare for the next exam.

You have every right to your feelings

Frustration, disappointment, and sadness are a few feelings that you may experience when you fail the exam. Permit yourself to have these feelings for a certain period. However, don’t get stuck in this negative place.

Decide if you want to try again

Ask yourself if you’re going to retake the exam. It’s likely you will say yes because you are invested in your career path. Next, commit that you will let the past be the past and move forward with your study plans.

Reflect on the past exam

Identify any areas that were difficult. Were there subjects or theories you couldn’t recall? Reflecting back can help you pinpoint areas to focus on when you are preparing to retake the exam.

Create a new study plan

You need to create a new study plan that is different from the last one. You can implement the information and material you already have but consider getting additional help. A better idea is to pick a study plan that is tailored to the way you learn best. Whether you are a kinesthetic, auditory, or visual learner make sure that your study program is a good fit.

Hire a coach or program that will support you

Bring in extra help this time from a coach and a proven study program that will give you additional support. You need someone who will guide you and help navigate changes to the way you learn. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.

Keep your head up

Even though you may feel like a failure when you think about not passing your exam, you are not. You allowed yourself time to consider this right after the exam and that time has passed. You are moving forward and onward. Find ways to stay motivated and work on improving your self-talk.

You are not the only one who has to retake the licensure exam. Many people have to re-take their exam. You have been given another opportunity to share your knowledge so be sure to change your study plan to a proven method that works. The Taylor Study Method has empowered over 4,000 doctoral candidates to pass the EPPP test by providing the content, platform and structure needed to learn and recall the relevant information. You have invested many years and money into your career path so ask for help in preparing a second time. Stay positive and stick to the new study plan for the results you want to achieve.

Are you a tactile (kinesthetic) learner?

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

Are you able to absorb information better by moving while studying? Do you do your best thinking while you walk or exercise? Did you get in trouble as a child because you tapped your pencil too much or were continually moving? If any of these sound familiar you may be a tactile-kinesthetic learner.

As you continue to prepare for your licensing exam, be sure to identify your learning style so that you can build a study prep program around it. The three major learning styles are kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning. Many people benefit from parts of all three forms; however one approach is dominant as the best way to learn.

What is a kinesthetic learner?

A kinesthetic learner is someone who learns through movement. This learning style is often forgotten because it isn’t as traditional as auditory or visual. A kinesthetic learner can better absorb and understand new material through movement of the body.

Pay attention to how your body moves and reacts during your next study session. Is your pencil moving or tapping as you read? Does it help to read the material out loud as you walk throughout your house? This learning style is a powerful one, and your study program can benefit from implementing more kinesthetic learning.

You may be a kinesthetic learner if

  • You continuously move your leg or shake your leg while reading.
  • You talk with your hands.
  • You have good hand-eye coordination.
  • You are good at sports.
  • You like to use a pen or highlighter to make notes while reading.

 Study tips to help kinesthetic learners

  • Place toys or objects you can play with on your desk while studying.
  • Listen to audio study guides while you are exercising.
  • Stand up and walk around while you read new material.
  • If you feel tired while studying, stop every 30 minutes and do a few jumping jacks.
  • Keep a sketch pad handy during study session so you can draw diagrams or systems.

As a kinesthetic learner, you know how to make your study times more productive. Turn on music, allow yourself to move, and prepare to learn everything you need for your exam. Remember, to be realistic with your goals and break down study time into short increments.

Combining your learning style and the right study aids is crucial to your exam preparation. To make it easier, check out the Taylor Study Method (TSM) which offers research-based packages that help each of the different learning styles. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you will like the coaching and access to TSM’s community of supportive experts. You are not alone in your efforts so be sure to reach out for help from a proven system.

Are you a visual learner?

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

Have you figured out your learning style? Have you aligned your study plan to coordinate with your learning style? If you grasp new information better through seeing it, then your learning preference may be visual. As you continue to understand the three learning styles, this article will focus on everything you need to know as a visual learner.

What is a visual learner?

A visual learner is someone who likes to see what they want to learn. The space that is created by visually seeing information aids in the learning process. The term for this is visual-spatial learning.

If you like to see concepts written out versus hear about them, you are a visual learner. Your ability to see how the information looks helps you absorb the material and memorize it. Just because you are a visual learner doesn’t mean that you don’t include other learning styles such as auditory or kinesthetic. The goal is for you to identify the best way you learn the material then align your study plan to match it.

 You may be a visual learner if you:

  • Make lists to help you learn or stay organized.
  • Find it useful to write out your thoughts and ideas.
  • Prefer reading material and study guides versus listening to audio recordings of the same information.
  • Find it helpful to highlight, underline, or make notes in your study guides.
  • Re-write information you have learned. For example, you re-write lecture notes.

Tips to help visual learners

  • Write things down. Whether it’s a term or process, be sure to write it out.
  • Utilize flashcards to help memorize and understand the material.
  • Watch videos that cover the concepts and theories you are learning.
  • Visualize critical concepts as symbols, acronyms, or picture. For example, in learning systems, draw a diagram or image to represent it.
  • Arrange your notes in an outline.

There are many more tips, techniques, and strategies available for visual learners. Don’t waste your valuable time on a study approach that isn’t tailored to your individual need. Now that you know the power of being a visual learner make studying easier by learning about the Taylor Study Method.

This is a research-based package that helps each of the different learning styles. The Taylor Study Method is especially helpful for visual learners because it offers video lessons for deeper dives into more difficult content. It also provides Flash Cards to aid in over 750 key terms. You want to do your best, pass your exam, and take the next step in your career so be sure to get the right support through the process.

Are you an auditory learner?

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

When you are learning new material, do you read it aloud? Is it helpful to hear the information read to you? Do you prefer learning through lectures and discussions versus reading? If these ways of learning are useful, you may be an auditory learner. If your learning style is auditory and your study program is 90% visual, then you will less likely remember the information for the exam.

Each person learns information differently. As you prepare for your exam, it is helpful to identify how you learn and retain information. There are three major learning styles which include auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of these. This post will explore everything you need to know about auditory learning.

What is an auditory learner?

An auditory learner finds the most benefit from listening to study material and questions. Also, they are better able to retain information if they read it out loud and then listen to the recording. For example, someone with this learning style will find it helpful to read the exam questions out loud and answer them. Speaking the information helps them remember it better.

Someone who is an auditory learner doesn’t mean that they don’t also learn information from visual and kinesthetic styles. Auditory learners can absorb and recall information better when it is delivered through hearing. Knowing your learning style can cut down on test-taking anxiety and frustration.

You may be an auditory learner if

  • You find it helpful to have someone ask the question, and you verbalize the answer to them
  • You like someone to tell you directions versus reading directions
  • You discuss answers versus write out answers
  • You use rhymes to remember information
  • You read questions out loud then you provide the answers

Tips to help auditory learners

  • Listen to recordings of exam questions and study material
  • Read each exam question out loud then verbalize the answer
  • Record your reading of questions and answers in a voice memo app
  • Describe information in detail including steps and processes
  • Participate in group discussions of exam material

Finding your learning style is crucial to your exam preparation. You invest time and money to prepare for your exam so be sure to get the most out of your study material.TSM has provided every narrative definition in our program with an accompanying audio file for auditory-supported learning. Check out TSM’s research-based packages that help each of the different learning styles.

 

Procrastination: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

You know that term paper is due soon. You’ve got to get your client documentation ready for the audit. You need to study for your EPPP licensure exam next month. So why are you struggling to get started on all that work?

For nearly all of us, procrastination, or the act of delaying things, is a part of life. Even when we’ve experienced success getting things done in the past, the desire to put something off can strike any time.

Depending on the situation, procrastination has its positives along with ways it makes life harder. Normal levels of procrastination offer us unexpected benefits, while chronic, severe procrastination can cause us harm. Here’s a rundown of the good, bad, and ugly ways procrastination impacts our lives.


The Good


You’ll be more creative and insightful.
Have you heard the saying “your first guess is usually right?” Studies show that this often isn’t correct, and it’s better for us to take time to process to make the best decisions. Appropriate levels of procrastination gives us additional time to generate new creative, innovative ideas and for our subconscious to generate materials and solutions.


You’ll learn time management and productivity.
Procrastination doesn’t always mean doing nothing. While procrastinating one task, you might well be getting another one done. This is where the joke comes from that students clean during final exam prep; for many this is true! Through procrastination, we can develop time management skills, such as when to prioritize what tasks and what’s ultimately most important.


Your health can benefit.
Surprisingly to many, typical levels of procrastination benefit your health. Procrastinating sometimes can help you relax, reducing your stress and have lowered anxiety. A great part of procrastination is that we can all be reassured that doing it sometimes is healthy and normal.


The Bad


You might be predisposed to it.
Ever wondered why your classmates or colleagues procrastinate less than you? The answer is in your genes. Research suggests that those of us who score high on impulsivity are inherently more likely to chronically procrastinate. If this describe you, you’ll need to work extra hard on prioritizing to keep your procrastination at healthy levels.


It’s harder to progress.
Regular procrastination helps us prioritize, but procrastinating chronically means we’re getting stuck by not getting things done. Or we’re getting the wrong things done by cleaning when we should be studying. Avoiding critical tasks will keep us stuck in a rut, a self-defeating behavior that makes us unable to move forward in ways important to our life.


You might feel worse.
Students who procrastinate chronically feel worse about themselves, studies show. You’re more likely to temporarily feel worse about yourself after a major episode of procrastination, particularly for something important like a test. To mitigate this feeling and reduce your likelihood of severe procrastination again, practice self-forgiveness.


The Ugly


Your work quality will decrease
. Chronic and serious procrastination often results in lower quality work than we otherwise would have done. While some people believe they do their best work at the last second, research shows in reality this is rarely true. Students who chronically procrastinate also tend to receive lower grades.


You’re ultimately creating more work.
By putting off work in extreme ways, we make work pile up and, in the end, must produce a product with more effort than through proper schedule. And in many cases, we’re not just hurting ourselves. Last minute procrastination often means our classmates, colleagues, or loved ones are picking up slack, adding to their work and potentially causing feelings of resentment.


It could harm your mental health.
Chronic procrastination can have potentially serious consequences to ourselves. Severe procrastinators experience more stress, lower self-worth, perfectionism paralysis, and more illnesses. Ultimately, repeating this pattern regularly can lead to clinically significant episodes of depression and anxiety.

Feeling worried from procrastination related to your test? You don’t need to stress out any longer. Taylor Study Method has got your back with exam prep materials that will get motivate you to prepare to pass. We’re honored to be your trusted study partner.

5 tips for finding the right clinical supervisor

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

The task of finding a great clinical supervisor can be a daunting task. Many clinicians that have been through the supervision process has advice to share and what they think you should avoid in a supervisor.

I had an incredible clinical supervisor who taught me everything she knows which I contribute to my success today. After our formal clinical supervision ended, we developed a friendship, and she is still my mentor. I hope you have a similar experience as I did and to help you find the right fit, here are the best five tips for finding the right clinical supervisor.

Tip #1 Clinical style and personality

Look for a supervisor who has a clinical style and personality that you like. As you are starting out, you may not know your clinical style yet, but you can identify the approach you relate most with.

You can find out their clinical style by asking them about their experience, their thoughts on best clinical practices, and what type of clients they enjoy working with. Ask them about their counseling style and approach they use most often. Listen to what resonates with you and if you are turned off by anything they share.

Tip #2 Talk with their previous supervisees

In the decision process of choosing the right supervisor ask them if you can have the contact information of other supervisees, they worked with. Then ask two or three of these people about their experience, what did they like or not like.

This is a great way to find answers to your questions about the supervisor from others that have worked with them. I would recommend that you ask at least two different people in case one of them had a bad experience personally versus one that was caused by the supervisor.

Tip #3 Make sure they have time for a new supervisee

It may sound silly to think that you have to ensure that the supervisor has time to see you, but don’t overlook this crucial tip. I have seen clinical supervisors take on many supervisees at once then not be able to provide time to meet their needs for licensure.

Ask the potential supervisor how many people they are currently working with. Also, ask about the typical hours they offer for supervision. For example, if they can only see you on Tuesdays from 2:00p-3:00p and you are working during that time, it probably won’t work. Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you need including late day or evening hours that may better fit with your schedule.

Tip #4 Cost of supervision

Finances can be stressful especially when you aren’t licensed as a clinician and trying to gain supervision hours. The cost of supervision differs by geographical region, experience, and other factors.

Ask about the cost of each supervision meeting and the ability to negotiate a different rate. For example, if they charge $100 for each session, ask if they would consider charging $75 if you pay a month at a time. That way they would receive a lump sum versus payment at each session. They may be inclined to give you a deal since you are willing to give that amount of payment at once.

Tip #5 Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Finding the right clinical supervisor can be stressful and may cause you to overthink the process. Don’t make it harder than it is. This is just one part of your clinical career. If your supervisor isn’t fantastic, so what, you will learn from others as you continue your experience.

Don’t get stuck and not be able to move forward if you have a negative experience. Learn what you can from it and seek out other clinicians in your network for support. Join a local clinical association or meet up group. There is support around you but you have to be the one to reach out.

You will make the best decision for you in choosing a clinical supervisor. Each of these five tips can help you through the process, but at the end of the day, pick the supervisor that feels like the best fit. Keep moving forward, and this part of your beginning career will fly by before you realize it.

Am I Ready to Take the EPPP?

A key factor of success on the EPPP is preparedness. A passing score is more likely if you take the exam when you are ready. Do you think you might be ready to take the exam but you aren’t quite sure? To know if it’s time to take the plunge or study some more, it’s important to take an honest evaluation of where you are at.

Ask yourself the following questions to evaluate whether you’re ready or not to take the EPPP.

How well have I done on practice exams?

  • Your practice test scores are a good indicator of how well you might do on the exam. If your scores are low or barely passing, you might not be ready. If you’re scores are consistently higher, especially on a variety of exams so that you’re not just memorizing questions, then it might be time to sit the exam.

Have I taken a realistic practice exam?

  • If you’re getting high scores on practice exams but aren’t setting a timer or putting your study notes aside, a good next step could be to take a practice exam in an environment similar to the real exam.  Perhaps go to the local library at the hour you would take the exam with only the things you would bring to the testing center.  Then set the timer and see how well you do.

Have I talked to others who have taken the exam?

  • A friend who has already taken the exam can help you prepare for what’s to come. Ask your friend about their test taking strategies and overall experience with the EPPP. When did they take breaks? What surprised them about the exam taking experience? Did they go into the exam feeling ready or do they wish they would have studied more?

Have I talked with my coach or mentor about if I’m ready?

  • Who has been there for you throughout the exam preparation process? This person can help you understand if you’re ready to take the exam by taking an objective approach to whether you’re ready or not. Have them help you evaluate your readiness and take their thoughts into consideration.

Could I teach the material to a friend?

  • A sign of your understanding of a subject is the ability to teach what you know. If you don’t think you’re quite ready to take the exam, teaching is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the material. When you get to the point of being able to teach concepts and key terms so that others can understand, it’s a sign you might do well on the exam.

 

Further Reading