Earlier this year in a couple live broadcasts, Dr. Graham Taylor answered questions about multitasking and EPPP exam prep. His two-part series explored some of the common challenges people face when trying to navigate their EPPP preparation around other commitments like family, a job, and internships, and how to effectively overcome these challenges. In the second video, Dr. Taylor considered the dark side of multitasking and shared some research showing that the more you multitask, the worse you become at it.
Psychologist Dr. Julia Shaw says we are essentially creating our own fictional past every time we think back on a personal memory. She says “It’s such a terrifying but beautiful notion that every day you wake up with a slightly different personal past.” Her research even leans in to how the unreliability of memory has impacted our criminal justice system.
While memorizing facts for the EPPP exam is a reliable use of memory, we are all constantly creating false personal memories. Dr. Shaw says in her blog post, How False Memory Changes What Happened Yesterday, “The question isn’t whether our memories are false, it’s how false are our memories.” Every day we recreate our memories, “if ever so slightly.”
False memories are “recollections of things that you never actually experienced.” Whether they be minor memory errors, “such as thinking you saw a yield sign when you actually saw a stop sign” or grander errors “like thinking you took a hot air balloon ride that never actually happened,” everyone has a memory that is not 100% trustworthy.
Can this affect your EPPP exam score? Continue reading
Maybe your entire life you’ve been told that you’re a genius who will succeed at anything. Perhaps school came easily to you and you acknowledged your stroke of genius for many successes. If you think this is a positive mindset which will help you pass the EPPP, you’re wrong.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve been told your entire life that you’re almost good enough but not quite. Perhaps school was full of failing grades but you excused yourself from trying harder because you just weren’t good enough anyway. If you think is a negative mindset which will hinder your EPPP score, you’re onto something.
The point is that, in these scenarios, the mind is working against both the genius and the failure.
So, what is the right mindset to pass the EPPP?
It’s not what you think. While the difficulty of Special Forces training around the world is known to be extreme, especially among the few who have actually endured it, what the Russian Spetsnaz goes through is on another level.
The stresses that such rigors impose upon those undergoing it would also likely be unbearable for them were it not for the psychological tools they are provided with to help them cope.
Where do these tools come from? They are found within the Russian Martial Art simply known as the “System” or Systema in Russian. While its core skills and training methods are believed to be about eleven hundred years old, it was scientifically refined into its current form in the later half of the twentieth century by Soviet researchers and engineers (think Ivan Drago’s trainers in Rocky IV).
However, the communist government restricted its knowledge and practice to only its most capable forces within the Spetznaz and KGB. It was not until the fall of Communism that this secretive system was revealed to anyone outside of these elite units.
Research shows that much of what we experience in life is fundamentally ambiguous and open to a variety of interpretations. (For more about that, see our earlier article, ‘Gratitude as a Way of Seeing.’) One of the ways we make sense of life’s circumstances is by the meanings we ascribe to those circumstances. The problem arises when we impose negative meanings onto our experiences that are based on a distorted view of reality.
Psychologists who have studied human thought and communication have identified some common distortions or “thinking errors” that cause many people negatively to frame their experiences. There are many lists of these thinking errors on the internet, but below are ones I have identified as being the most common and relevant to everyday life.
We often assume that the ability to quickly learn material and master different fields of study comes down to how smart a person is, or how good of a memory they have. But research increasingly suggests that raw talent has very little to do with overall success in life, including success in learning. Instead, success has a lot to do with the strategies and techniques you choose to follow.
Over the years I’ve been blessed to work with TSM in researching the techniques used by various experts who have become leaders. Many of these strategies have been woven into our learning platform.
Whether you’re a high school student studying for a final exam, a college student struggling to keep up in class, or a psychology student preparing to take the EPPP, these learning techniques can make the difference between success and failure. These ten strategies can also spell the difference between a study process that is full of stress and frustration vs. one that is fulfilling and fun.
How can you discover your own particular learning style? What is the difference between being a visual learner, auditory learner or tactile learner? As you’re studying for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP), how can you leverage the strength of your personal learning style to better learn, consolidate and recall content?
These were just some of the questions that Dr. Graham Taylor addressed in last Thursday’s Facebook Live event. In the video, which can be watched below, Dr. Taylor shared research-based approaches of learning and memory to help you make your learning a dynamic and active process.
Prioritizing EPPP studying over vital health habits such as sleep can be too easy. How many nights have you stayed awake studying and, furthermore, went to bed immediately after an EPPP study session?
You might relate to the following scenario.
Joe is preparing for the EPPP. He works long hours at his internship and is often exhausted by the time he gets home. He is committed to passing the EPPP and studies when he can. Joe sometimes attempts to wake up a few hours early to sneak in a study session before going to his internship. Last night Joe studied in bed late into the night and went to sleep right after putting his study materials on the floor next to him. He snoozed his alarm and woke up just in time to be on schedule for his internship.
In this scenario, Joe’s retention of the EPPP material he studied, as well as his quality of sleep, will be negatively affected. He made three common mistakes. Continue reading
Tim Urban, author of the blog Wait But Why and self-proclaimed procrastinator, shares his insight on the brain function of procrastinators. Urban tells the tale of his 90-page senior thesis which he had a year to complete. Urban instead completed the thesis in 2 days by pulling two all-nighters.
How is it that he had the stamina and motivation to pull two all-nighters but did not have the motivation to use the year he was given? Writing a 90-page thesis over the course of one year seems much more pleasant than writing it in two days at the cost of sleep.
With gregarious disposition and insightful wit, Urban depicts the brain of a procrastinator.
See his full talk below.
I still remember the night that convinced me I finally needed to join the twenty-first century.
I had just finished a long day helping as a judge for a debate tournament. By the time I finally headed home it was dark. Or at least, I thought I was headed home. However, the further I drove, the less I recognized of my surroundings. As the road progressed further and further up into the mountains, I remembered my young children waiting at a friends’ house for me to collect them. Finally, the road abruptly ended. Literally, it just ended. I had no choice but to turn around and start over.
At about midnight I finally pulled into the drive-way of my friends’ house to collect my tired children. I determined never to let myself get lost again: I would finally invest in a GPS.