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.

Find Post-Summer Motivation in Three Easy Steps

Summer isn’t over until Labor Day says it’s over. But with the end in sight, the upcoming season of kicking your EPPP studying into gear can make you anxious if you’re not ready for it.

Here are three easy steps to swing out of summer and into productivity.

Step One: Strategize

The best strategy for getting back into the swing of studying is to create a routine. An effective routine saves your brain the energy of constant decision making. For example, if you decide to make your bed at the same time every morning, you are free from the decision-making process of when (or if) to make your bed every day. Erasing the decision-making process will help you consistently get out the door on time.

So, before you do anything else, create a manageable study routine. When you look at your calendar, fit in your fixed commitments first; those things that cannot be moved such as work, appointments, etc. Then, consider when and where you are most productive and fill in study sessions from there. For example, if you are morning person it might be wise to get your study session out of the way first thing in the morning. Furthermore, decide ahead of time where you are the most productive such as the library or a coffee shop.

Step Two: Look Back

Sometimes, getting motivated is as easy as remembering your passion and how far you’ve come. Ask yourself why you want to get licensed. Why did you decide to take the EPPP in the first place? Why are you passionate about this field? Remembering why you have a goal of passing the EPPP will help you get motivated to study.

Once you remember why you’re pursuing licensure, look back at how far you have already come. You have accomplished a lot to get to the point of being eligible to take the EPPP. This exam is the last step between you and licensure, so you have already come so far.

Step Three:  Envision Success

When you pass the exam, what will you do to celebrate? Who will be congratulating you? Envisioning what a passing score will feel like can be enough to get you motivated. So, plan something celebratory for after the EPPP as a reward for accomplishing your goal.

Speaking of goals, set small goals for yourself throughout the study process and give yourself rewards for meeting them. A little reward goes a long way when it comes to motivation. Rewarding yourself with restful things such as a walk in the park or time with friends will keep you from burning out.

Further reading

 

Reasons why you need to stop studying 3 days before your test

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

Are you the person that is walks into the exam reading the study guide? Do you feel that if you don’t look over your note cards one last time that you will fail the test? Many people cram everything they can into the last moment before entering the exam room. If you think you are going to retain the last bit of information, you are mistaken.

What would happen if you stopped studying three days before your exam? If you are gasping in horror, take a moment to consider the following reasons why you need to move your study material to the side a few days before your exam.

 

You have been preparing for months

You didn’t start studying yesterday. Your preparation began months ago, and you followed a study plan. If you wonder, “Did I study enough?” you are normal. This exam has a lot of weight on your career, but remember that you started prepping well in advance.

You have used a proven study program and answered exam questions. If you continue to review until the last few days, you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and forgetting what you have learned. Let it go and relax. Part of your plan was to practice self-care three days before the exam. This means that you will allow yourself to watch TV, read a book, visit with friends, or get outside.

Focus on sleeping, eating, and deep breathing

The last three days before your exam need to be spent recuperating and resting. This doesn’t mean you can’t review a few note cards. Your body and mind need to relax so that you can retrieve the information.

Try practicing mindfulness techniques to help you relax and focus on the moment, especially when you begin to feel nervous. Practice deep breathing exercises to help relieve any anxiety that you may be experiencing. Make sure that you eat a balanced meal that isn’t full of carbohydrates. Doing this three days before your test will help you function at your best.

You don’t want to create more anxiety

You are feeling anxious enough. If you study until your exam date, you will more than likely increase your stress. You want your hard work to pay off. Be sure to use the last few days to rest and relax so you can recall all of the information you learned.

A few days before the exam you will experience a spike in stress hormones. This is to be expected. This is further proof of why you need to focus on removing stress.

Your exam date is just around the corner. You have planned, studied, and now it’s time to take a deep breath. Since you used a study plan and kept up with your material, you are as prepared as you can be. Remember to use your mindfulness and breathing techniques throughout the exam. You can do this!

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Stay Focused When Summer Fun is Calling

3 Ways to Stay Focused When Summer Fun is Calling

Summer is in full swing. Between beating the heat poolside, hosting barbecues, and attending weddings, it can be difficult to focus on EPPP exam prep. Where do you find the time to study and fit in the fun?

The key to studying successfully during summertime is balance. It is important to manage your time in a way that allows you to study effectively and not miss out on the fun.

Here are 3 ways to stay focused on exam prep in the midst of summertime.

  1. Set a Schedule

With study sessions, consistency is better than perfection. It is more important to show up and learn regularly than it is to power through miscellaneous hours of undirected study. So, set a schedule and stick to it!

When creating a study schedule, be realistic about what you can accomplish and when. For example, if your friends always go to the downtown market on Saturday mornings, leave that chunk of time open. This way, you won’t risk bailing on important study time and you will have a needed break with friends.

Having a consistent study schedule will allow you to focus on the material you are learning instead of focusing on arranging your time each day. It will also allow you to fully invest in whatever you are doing. For example, during your planned morning at the Saturday market, you can relax instead of worry about whether you should be studying.

  1. Take breaks

It can be easy to justify skipping breaks for the sake of additional study time. However, breaks are vital to memory and retention. Much like how your stomach needs time to digest, break down, and store food, your brain needs time to process what you’re putting into it. So, when creating your study schedule, incorporate consistent breaks.

Depending on how long you spent studying, breaks should be about 10 – 30 minutes long (the longer the stretch of studying, the longer the break). They should be low-tech and, ideally in the summertime, spent outside. Incorporate exercise to get oxygen flowing through your brain. And be sure to take breaks when you have them planned even if you don’t feel like it in the moment so that you maintain endurance throughout your study session.

  1. Have fun

Summer activities do not have to come at the cost of studying and vice versa. When you create your study schedule, think of those barbecues, weddings, and weekend getaways that you absolutely don’t want to miss and plan your study dates around them. Choose the events that are the most important to you and adjust your study sessions accordingly. And then, when you’re at the event, don’t think about studying and allow yourself to enjoy summer.

Of course, EPPP exam prep will come with some sacrifices. There will be a few summer activities that you might have to miss out on. Just remember that exam prep is only a season and will not last forever. When you pass, it will all be worth it!

Further Reading

Seasonal Study Habits: How weather affects our productivity

5 Tips to Survive Wedding Season With EPPP Test Prep 

How to Overcome Temptation and Achieve Discipline for EPPP Success 

The Do’s and Don’ts of the EPPP Study Break 

Why Teaching EPPP Prep Will Help You Pass  

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you should be teaching EPPP exam prep:

  1. Do you want to study effectively?
  2. Are you bored of the way you are currently studying?
  3. Are you an expert at your EPPP material?

The truth is, you don’t have to be an expert at EPPP preparation material to teach it. In fact, teaching is an effective way of learning even when you’re not the best at the subject yourself.

Here are three reasons why teaching should be a part of your EPPP prep.

  1. Teach to learn

When you know that you’ll be teaching information later, you are going to take in the information more carefully therefore increasing your retention of it. Then, when you do teach it, speaking and processing through the information out loud helps you understand the areas you are struggling. If you teach the information to a fellow exam candidate, perhaps both of you can help each other fill in your gaps of understanding.

Do you lack a study partner or someone to teach? Teaching is still effective if you don’t have an audience. Repeating things out loud in a way intended for teaching helps you process and learn the information in a different and effective way.

  1. Teach to shake things up

Exam preparation can get monotonous. Having a study schedule  with intentional break periods is vital. Even so, studying the same way every day can leave you bored and burned out. Increase your memory and retention by studying differently. Teaching what you learned in your last study session will help you see the material differently, making it stick; and making it a bit more interesting. Furthermore, you can feel less alone in the process of EPPP prep if you teach to a study partner.

  1. Teach to become an expert

You don’t have to be an expert on the material to teach it. In fact, teaching what you know can help you become an expert. “There’s always someone who doesn’t know as much as you”, as said by Belle Beth Cooper on “Life Hacker” website.

By teaching others who don’t know as much as you, you be seen as someone who knows a lot about what you’re teaching. Not only does teaching help you learn the material, it helps you gain credibility about the material as well.

Ultimately, whether you teach to an empty room, create lesson plans for yourself to do in future study sessions, or teach a study partner, teaching is an effective EPPP study strategy.

Further Reading

Increase Emotional Intelligence and Decrease EPPP Stress

Emotional Intelligence can decrease the stress of the EPPP.

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to effectively express, understand, and manage your own feelings. It also includes the ability to successfully engage and navigate the feelings of others. Because EQ is the ability to manage feelings, those who have a high EQ are better able to manage stress; an important quality when it comes to preparing for the EPPP.

Unlike a person’s Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, EQ can be improved. A person’s IQ does not drastically change over time. Approximately 90% of high performing employees have a high EQ whereas 80% of low performing employees have a low EQ. Conclusively, EQ can be a determining factor of success. Furthermore, the higher your EQ, the less overcome by stress you are.

Ultimately, EQ is an important part of effectively studying for the EPPP. Here are 3 ways to increase your EQ and subsequently decrease stress during the EPPP preparation process.

  1. Reduce Negative emotions

One way to increase your EQ is to increase positive emotions and reduce negative ones. This can be done through gratitude. Expressing gratitude literally detoxifies your brain and over time can drastically reduce stress and increase your emotional intelligence. Gratitude also has many health benefits such as decreasing anxiety and depression and improving sleep.

A practical way to express gratitude while you prepare for the EPPP is to put a positive mantra in your study space. Think of an encouraging phrase that grabs you, write it down, and pin it where you can see it whenever you are studying.

  1. Express your emotions when necessary

Per Dr. Travis Bradburry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 emotionally intelligent people have four main skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

To increase your EQ, learn to appropriately express your emotions by first understanding what emotions you are experiencing and then expressing them in a safe environment with someone you trust. Practice appropriately expressing your emotions when you are stressed and overwhelmed with studying for the EPPP.

  1. Be proactive

When it comes to adversity, be proactive instead of reactive. For example, if someone upsets you, be proactive about your response to them. Take a deep breath and respond calmly instead of reacting out of being upset.

When it comes to studying for the EPPP, be proactive about stress. Don’t let your study schedule happen to you, create one before all the study materials and practice tests pile up with little time to learn anything.  Procrastination, though, is not always the only thing that will cause stress. Studying for the EPPP in general can be a stressor. Therefore, expect the stress and be proactive about how you will manage it when it happens.

Resources

Ni, P., M.S.B.A. (2014, October 5). How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence ― 6 Essentials. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201410/how-increase-your-emotional-intelligence-6-essentials

Further Reading

What to Expect on EPPP Exam Day

Your EPPP exam day has finally come. Do you know what to expect when you enter the testing center?

Pearson VUE testing centers, which is likely where you will sit your exam, administer the EPPP under standardized conditions per their established procedures. You may take the EPPP at any Pearson VUE testing center regardless of whether it is in the state or province you wish to practice.

 

When you arrive to your testing center, which must be 30 minutes prior to your test time, be sure to have all required documents with you. This includes a valid, government issued photo identification as well as another alternate form of ID with your name and signature. The names on your ID must match exactly with your Authorization-to-Test letter (ATT).

You will have 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam which consists of 225 questions. 175 of the questions are scored and 50 remain unscored. You may take breaks during the exam as you wish, but there are no standardized break periods. When you do decide to take a break, your allotted test time will not pause. At the Taylor Study Method we recommend you schedule your breaks before you take the test. See our tips for test day time management here.

If you would like to take notes during the exam, the testing center can provide you with a whiteboard upon request. Scratch paper is not allowed but at TSM we recommend you request a whiteboard and use it like you would scratch paper. Furthermore, you are not allowed to bring your own ear plugs or headphones but may request them upon arrival to test day. If you are easily distracted, we recommend you take advantage of this feature – especially because Pearson VUE will be administering a range of different exams, which could cause minor distractions.

At the beginning of your exam there will be a short tutorial on how to move forward and backward through the exam and how to flag questions. The time it takes you to watch the tutorial is not counted towards your allotted test time and we recommend you take advantage of it. If you experience technical issues, tell a Pearson VUE staff member immediately. The test administrator on site will advise you on what to do if technical difficulties cannot be rectified within 30 minutes.

If you have further questions about what to expect on test day or how to register, give TSM a call at 1-877-510-5445 or email us at contactus@taylorstudymethod.com

How to Take the EPPP

How to Take the EPPP

Are you ready to take the EPPP and become a licensed psychologist? You become eligible to take the EPPP by graduating from an accredited school with either a PhD or PsyD in psychology and by completing supervised clinical experience. Once you are eligible, you can move through the following steps towards exam day.

Step One: Apply for licensure 

Apply for licensure in the state you would like to practice in. Failing to do so before applying to take the EPPP will result in a fine. Per district rules and regulations of your state or province, the licensing authority thereof is responsible for ensuring your eligibility. Once your application is cleared, you will receive two consecutive emails that will instruct you on how to verify your account move on to EPPP registration.

Step Two: Apply for the EPPP

Complete and submit the EPPP application and submit your exam fee payment. Once you have paid your fee, you will receive an Authorization to Test letter (ATT). You must take the exam within 90 days of receiving your ATT.

Step Three: Schedule your Appointment

When you receive your ATT, it is time to schedule your exam. Most states and provinces use Pearson VUE test centers to administer the EPPP. You may test at any Pearson VUE testing center regardless of what state or province you are applying for licensure in. You can schedule your appointment with the Pearson VUE testing center by visiting their website www.pearsonvue.com/asppb/locate or by calling their national center at 1-800-513-6910.

 

When scheduling your appointment, have the following information available:

  • Your name as it is printed on your identification documents
  • Registration/ID number
  • Phone number
  • The exam sponsor, which is the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
  • The exam you are taking, which is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Step Four: Take the EPPP

When you sit the exam, you will have the option to take a tutorial on how to select answers, review questions, and skip backward and forward through the test. This tutorial lasts five minutes and is not counted for your allotted test time. We recommend you take the tutorial because it can minimize anxiety during the exam. The more you know about your test, including how to use the system, the more confident you will be. Any opportunity to decrease anxiety is a good one!

Further Reading:

Time Management on EPPP Test Day

When exam day comes, you will succeed by having thorough content knowledge and by being a strategic test taker. Come test day, all you should have to worry about is choosing the correct answers in the allotted time frame.

To be sure time doesn’t run out before you answer all the questions, we have some strategic tips on managing your time on EPPP test day.

Time management on test day starts 2 days before your EPPP when you’re getting your most important night’s sleep. The night before the exam you might be restless so it is important to sleep well two nights before your exam.

The night before your exam, prepare by packing necessities such as a snack and mandatory items for your exam, like your identification and PES information. Lay out your clothing the night before and be sure to choose layered clothing as you won’t know whether the testing center will be cold or hot.

You will need to arrive to the testing center a half an hour before your scheduled test time, so give yourself plenty of time the morning of to eat, get dressed, and drive there in a leisurely way as to avoid anxiety. Allow time for traffic and potential unintended travel mishaps.

When you get to the testing center, avoid test anxiety by minimizing conversation with other test takers and silently reminding yourself that you are going to do well. Tell yourself “Today is the day I will pass the EPPP!”

When it comes to time management on the actual exam, here’s the strategy we recommend at TSM.

You will have approximately 68 seconds per question within the allotted 4 hours and 15 minutes of exam time consisting of 225 questions total (175 scored and 50 pretest questions that are unscored). In the first 10-15 minutes of your exam, do what we call an “Information Dump.” Write out everything you’ve kept in your memory. This will give you the freedom to focus during your test because you can return to these notes when related questions come up. Although testing centers may not allow scratch paper, they can provide a white board upon request.

As you move through your exam, do not forget to take breaks. Dr. Graham Taylor goes over specific break strategies towards the end of his broadcast here.  Do not simply work until you feel tired and take a break then. Instead, plan breaks and take them to stay fresh and focused. There are two types of breaks you should decide ahead of time to take: mini breaks (3-5 minute) and full breaks (10 minutes).

If you decide to take mini breaks, choose one of two strategies. Either decide on a certain number of questions to complete before a break is taken (e.g., 25 questions), or decide on a period of time spent working (e.g., 25 minutes) before a break is taken. During these breaks, stand up, stretch, move, and breathe.

If you decide to take full breaks, take them after an hour and a half of work.  During these breaks, grab some fuel and food, use the restroom if you need to, stretch, and breathe.

Regardless of what you decide, take the breaks even if you feel like you don’t need to in the moment. Taking planned breaks will allow you to work from rest and stay fresh and focused as opposed to working hard for rest.

Lastly, take a deep breath before each question. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a count of two, and then slowly exhale out of your mouth. While breathing, remind yourself that you can do this!

Time management on test day is all about coming in with a strategy. Develop your strategy and get accustomed to time management during practice tests then prepare as much as you can in the days leading up to your exam.

 

Further Reading:

The Best Way to Approach an EPPP Practice Test

TSM practice testsWhat are your EPPP practice test scores telling you? Among many benefits of EPPP practice tests, a score can reflect how well you understand the material. And how you approach EPPP practice tests can affect your overall exam success.

So, how do you know if you’ve got the right approach?

First, check your mindset. What do you think of and how do you feel about the EPPP? If you identify any negative thoughts or feelings towards your exam, consider this: Negativity creates toxins in your brain. Those toxins can cause anxiety and stress, which are the last things you need when studying for such an important exam.

Adopt the right mindset toward the EPPP with gratitude. Gratitude is a huge factor in having a good study experience as well as a passing score. Start by noticing your negative thoughts and then you can begin replacing them with thankfulness.

The next step towards the correct EPPP practice test approach is to understand the benefit of practice tests. Not only are they a reflection of your content knowledge, but test-taking has been proven to improve learning. Practice tests, therefore, not only gauge how well you know the content, but they are a great way of studying.

At TSM, our practice test method is designed to optimize this phenomenon of learning through test-taking. Our method allows your brain to construct the information into your memory and retrieve information during the actual exam.

Practice tests also reduce test anxiety on exam day. Anxiety can negatively affect our ability to perform, which then creates more anxiety, ultimately creating a cycle. A great way to combat test anxiety is to take practice exams. As you get closer to your exam date, begin mimicking the test-taking environment. Study in a quieter space and go through the questions with the same time constraints and breaks. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable and at ease you will be on exam day.

Though EPPP practice tests are vital to your memory and retention, they should not be used as a substitute for content mastery. This leads us to our next and final step.

The third step towards the correct EPPP practice test approach is to understand that, contrary to popular belief, the ability to answer questions correctly on practice tests is not always equivalent to content mastery. Since the practice test questions are different from what you will encounter on the actual exam, answering correctly on the practice test is only valuable if you understand the content behind the question. EPPP exam success is a combination of being a practiced test-taker and having a thorough understanding of the content.

The quality of your studying should be reflected in how well you understand the material as evidenced by your practice exam score. So, how well should you be doing on your practice exams? Within about a month or two of studying, you should see a noticeable improvement in your scoring. If you’re not seeing an improvement, it’s possible you are studying inefficiently.

But before you dive back into the study materials and retake the same practice test, study in a way that helps the material make sense to you. For example, instead of studying a domain beginning to end, take a problem concept with you into your study material and dive into that specific concept. Once you have those concepts mastered, you can take another practice exam. If there is still no noticeable improvement, you may have to reassess how you are studying.

Ultimately, you should approach EPPP practice tests with a good mindset, an understanding of the benefits, and a thorough knowledge of the content behind the questions. At Taylor Study Method, we help you formulate a study process and equip you with the best tools to pass the EPPP.

 

Further Reading

3 Myths About Test Anxiety

6 Steps to EPPP Success

Use Gratitude to Detox Your Brain

Gratitude as a Way of Seeing

The Question that Will Help You Pass the EPPP