10 Tips for Staying on Track During the Holidays: Part 1

The holidays can be a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends, as well as a time to focus on the things that matter the most to us. But the holidays can also be a time of stress. One of the things that can add to holiday stress is the type of intense study regime familiar to anyone preparing for their EPPP.

Sometimes I hear people ask questions like:

How can I possibly enjoy this holiday season with the licensure exam hanging over my head?

Should I just skip Christmas this year to focus on my EPPP studies instead?

How can I balance my EPPP preparation with the events of the holiday season, including my commitment to friends and family?

If you find yourself resonating with any of these, I have good news for you. Keeping to an EPPP course of study does not need to ruin the holiday season. In fact, if you follow the 10 techniques laid out in Parts 1 and 2, you’ll find that you can have a productive course of EPPP study and still enjoy a relaxing, fun-filled holiday season!

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6 Steps to EPPP Success

“Not even the rigors of grad school and internship prepared me for what I face now studying to pass the EPPP.”

“I keep putting off my EPPP test preparation because it overwhelms me. I know I need to start but I don’t know where to begin.”

“My entire career has been put on hold until I pass the EPPP. The problem is that I’ve already failed once.”

“I tried to start preparing for the EPPP once before, going through hundreds and hundreds of practice questions. It only showed me how unprepared I actually was. I know I need to put together a study plan but I don’t know where to start. I feel overwhelmed with the amount of material I need to learn.”

Do any of the above concerns sound familiar? These types of anxieties represent typical feelings among those who are aspiring to become licensed psychologists.

Through almost two decades of working to prepare students to pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP), I’ve listened to anxieties such as those represented above. In the process of my work, I’ve collected the following tips and coping strategies that have proven effective in helping psychology students overcome these types of fears and steer a course toward EPPP success.
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Your EPPP Exam Day Routine

In all the focus on being academically prepared to take the EPPP, it’s easy to overlook some of the important practical preparations a candidate needs to do in order to be properly prepared.

In the video below, Dr. Graham Taylor walks us through the best practices for your exam day routine, from the moment you wake up through to the process of taking the exam itself. Dr. Taylor also addresses what the week before your exam should look like, as well as the day directly prior to it.

Seven Steps to Creating an EPPP Study Schedule

 

In the world of EPPP test preparation, there’s a familiar story. It goes something like this.

You finished your graduate work, you completed your internship and now you’re all ready to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing—helping people through your work as a psychologist. There’s only one problem: you haven’t passed your licensure exam. Compared to the rigors of grad school and the stress of internship, this final hurdle seems comparatively easy. So you order a box of books and other preparation materials that promise to train you for everything you need to know to successfully pass the EPPP and get licensed. The box of preparation materials arrives. Not wanting to waste a moment and delay your longed-for career, you jump right in and start studying. As you get into the material, it quickly becomes clear that the task is more daunting than you anticipated. You feel overwhelmed, and with good reason: after all, the EPPP is like the bar exam or a medical exam—one of the hardest tests among all the professional disciplines.

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10 Steps to Learning Anything Twice as Quick

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.

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A TSM Success Story

At TSM, your success is what we strive for; it’s why the method exists. Success means motivated and supported study, confidence in the testing center, and a passing score. Take a look at how TSM helped one member succeed:

“I studied for the EPPP using TSM’s monthly online program, and I found it to be very helpful to me passing the exam, and just recently! I liked the attention to different ways people learn by providing material across video, audio, and written formats. The initial assessment and the resulting customized study plan according to the scores on the assessment were incredibly helpful. Topics are covered thoroughly and with explanations that are generally user friendly versus technical.  Each topic includes a mind map (visual summary) and is followed by notes that you can revise and make your own. After reading on several topics, you take a quiz and get that content further reinforced. Everything is online so I didn’t have to worry about downloading and taking up data, or lugging stacks of study materials around. I felt connected to the support from TSM through the use of the program, specifically meeting via phone with an instructor to discuss study schedule and answer any questions and availability of chat with staff or peers who are studying themselves. Thank you for calling me every so often to check in, especially when I had put studying on pause. The program worked very well for me and I am so thankful that once in the actual exam, I felt very prepared after studying, and I passed.

While the program was excellent, it did take me a good amount of time to move through the material (as in there is heavy content). There are pros and cons of this, and since I have been out of school for some time, it was helpful to have more rather than less.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my feedback on the TSM program, and I hope that you continue to provide the service that you do.

Best wishes to you!  – Nicole”

EPPP Studies and the Crucial Difference Between Dedication and Workaholism

Has your dedication to the EPPP become an unhealthy obsession? Of course, passing the EPPP takes dedicated study, as if it were a part time job. When it comes to work, however, there is a difference between dedication and workaholism or, in this case, study-aholism.

Authors, Marjan J. Gorgievski and Arnold B. Bakker describe the difference between work engagement and workaholism in their article Passion for Work: work engagement versus workaholism.

Clarifying the difference between a healthy dedication and an unhealthy obsession can help you better understand your relationship with your EPPP studies.

Gorgievski and Bakker point out and define the one thing necessary to thrive at any job: passion.   Continue reading

How to Overcome Temptation and Achieve Discipline for EPPP Success  

Summer weather and activities can be a distraction and a difficult temptation to resist while studying for the EPPP.  How do you study for the EPPP when you would rather be soaking up the summer sun?

A rush of dopamine rewards us when we give into temptation. This is how habits are formed. When you do something that is immediately rewarding you are strengthening those neuropathways, eventually making it easier to give into temptation and more difficult to be disciplined the next time you are tempted.

For example, say you have a set EPPP study time for each afternoon and you are constantly faced with the temptation to participate in outdoor summer activities that force you to choose between studying and being in the sunshine. The decision to skip studying becomes easier with each temptation that is given into, therefore making discipline much more difficult to accomplish over time.

The good news, however, is that discipline becomes much easier to accomplish when those neuropathways are strengthened over time. We know that dopamine is a factor in habituation and that the more you choose to study, the easier that decision will become. Incorporating immediate reward into your EPPP studies could therefore help studying become a habit.  Continue reading

Find Your Learning Style to Prepare for the EPPP

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.


Further Reading

Overcoming Fear of the EPPP Exam

Have you ever felt that the minute you let your guard down, something bad will happen? Perhaps you’ve felt that minute you stop worrying about passing the EPPP, you’ll forget everything you’ve learned. There’s a fear of what will happen if all your studying goes to waste; a fear of failure.

In immediately dangerous situations, fear is a survival tool. Our bodies sense fear when there is danger to alert us to get out of harm’s way. When we sense fear of something distant – like failing the EPPP – fear can be a burden that gets in the way of success. EPPP failure is avoidable and not immediate danger, therefore it is not worth fearing. (TSM has a 94% success rate so you’ve already taken a step to success by being here.)

So how do we overcome the fear that’s not worth fearing but, alas, still haunting?

 Fear can be overcome when it is diminished. It holds less power over us the more exposure we have to what is causing it. For example, someone who is afraid of the ocean should slowly start to acquaint with the water and will eventually work up the courage to confront what’s scary.

Lisa Fritscher of Very Well wrote The Psychology of Fear and says

“Repeated exposure to similar situations leads to familiarity. This greatly reduces both the fear response and the resulting elation, leading adrenaline junkies to seek out ever new and bigger thrills. It also forms the basis of some phobia treatments, which depend on slowly minimizing the fear response by making it feel familiar.”

If you’re afraid of failing the EPPP, you should acquaint yourself with the test material and what test day will be like. Familiarizing yourself with practice tests and EPPP concepts will help you understand that you are capable.

Another tactic, presented by Dale Carnegie in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is to familiarize yourself with the worst possible scenario and then accept it. Learning that you will not only live but be okay after failure will help you create action steps and ultimately avoid the situation you fear altogether because fear is no longer something standing in the way of you moving forward.

Think through what failure means for you. Perhaps you are afraid of failing the test because it means you’ll have to re-take it which means you’ll have to study again during an inconvenient time. What would a study schedule during such a time look like for you? Think through the possibilities of what could be a worst-case scenario, then accept it and move forward without fear hindering your success.