Waiting Too Long to Take the EPPP Could Lessen Your Chance of Success

Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said that “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” Despite the toll that procrastination takes on our happiness, many of us would rather put off for tomorrow what we could do today.

Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to procrastinating for the EPPP. After completing your internship and postdoctoral hours, it’s easy to go into cruising mode. Instead of taking the bull by the horns and studying to pass the EPPP right away, you tell yourself that you deserve a break. Ordinary life takes over, and although you keep saying “I need to prepare for the EPPP”, all you do is put it off. Meanwhile, your career goes on hold.

Decay Theory

Procrastination doesn’t make things easier. In fact, delaying to get started with your EPPP test preparation makes it less likely you’ll pass the exam. This is because of something called the decay theory.

The term decay theory was first introduced by American psychologist Edward Thorndike (1874 –1949) in his book The Psychology of Learning. Drawing on the work of Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), Thorndike gave a name to a reality we all experience, namely, that memories fade over time if a person does not access those memories. That is, the mere passage of time can be enough to erase many memories if the content of those memories is not regularly rehearsed.

Don’t Put Your Career on Hold

This has clear implications for would-be psychologists. While doing your graduate studies in psychology, you learned material that you need to know on the EPPP exam. But if that material is not regularly rehearsed through spaced repetition, it will fade with time.

This means that when you keep putting off your EPPP test preparations, not only does your goal of becoming a licensed psychologist fade further and further away, but so do your memories, including the crucial memories needed to pass the EPPP exam.

What The Research Says

Don’t take my word for it. The research backs up what I’m saying. Studies of sample groups have found that the longer a period there is between when a person graduates and sits their EPPP, the less chance of success they have.

In their article ‘Predictors of Program Performance on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology’, Brian Sharpless and Jacques Barber discussed this research in the context of various factors that can be used to predict how well someone will perform on the EPPP. They shared that those who waited more than three years showed a marked decrease in pass rates: “Six of the seven assessed time ranges beyond the three-year mark had mean scaled scores below 500, the passing point for most jurisdictions.”

Let’s get even more specific. In the studies that have been done, candidates taking their EPPP less than a year after graduation had an average passing score of 579.00. Students waiting 2-3 years to take their exam had an average score of 554.33. Those students who waited 4-5 years had an average failing score of 493.60. Those waiting 6-7 years did worst of all, with an average failing score of 473.53. These figures are shown in the chart below:

Factors Affecting Scores_

The message is clear: the longer you wait before taking the EPPP the more likely you are to fail.

Stop Procrastinating and Begin!

Perhaps you know you need to start studying for the EPPP but you don’t know where to begin. If you are in that position, we’d be happy to help. You can sign up for a free trial of our EPPP test-preparation materials and get started today preparing to pass the EPPP.

Further Reading


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