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.
Whether you are a confident genius or an anxious test taker, your mind is either working for you or against you, especially when it comes to your ability to pass the EPPP.
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?
Why do some people reach their potential while others, who are equally as capable and talented, do not?
Sarah Green, of Harvard Business Review, interviews Stanford psychologist and author, Carol Dweck, about her expertise on the growth mindset. Green and Dweck discuss the conundrum of losing a growth mindset when you achieved leadership as well as why some achieve success while others don’t.
See the full interview here.
You might be quick to think: Addiction? Not me! There’s no WAY my smartphone is impacting my chances for a passing EPPP score! But, because nothing should stand in your way of a passing EPPP score, let’s look at what constitutes addiction if to at least rule it out.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines addiction as a:
“compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”
Though a smartphone is not a consumable substance such as the drugs listed in the Merriam-Webster definition, the use of it can be persistent compulsive – even when use is known to be harmful. Continue reading
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.
Does the thought of taking the EPPP give you anxiety? EPPP exam prep is an undertaking that can be stressful in and of itself. On one hand, stress can motivate us to meet deadlines and pursue our goals. On the other hand, though, stress can get in the way of something we want to accomplish like passing the EPPP.
For example, imagine you are taking the EPPP tomorrow. It’s the night before the exam and you are so worried about passing that you spend the night tossing and turning getting no sleep. When your alarm goes off in the morning you’re still immersed in worry. You rush through breakfast, forcing oatmeal down your anxious stomach, you briefly review your notes, and you head out the door. When you get to the testing center you check in, sit down, and reach for your pencil. It’s not there.
Now, it’s likely that a forgotten pencil will not be enough to send you home to sit the exam another day. A forgotten pencil can, however, leave you more anxious than you already are on exam day. You’ll expend much needed mental energy on finding a replacement pencil. And such anxiety, when it has passed the point of being helpful and motivating, can cloud your brain and disrupt your ability to do your best. This is not an ideal scenario for your goal of passing the EPPP.
Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, in his Ted Talk “How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed,” gives insight on how to deal with stress before it even happens. A trip to the airport without his needed passport got him thinking of the possibility of putting systems in place “that will prevent bad things from happening.” He describes something called “pre-mortem” which is when “you look ahead and you try to figure out what you can do to prevent those [bad] things from happening.”
See his full talk below:
Passing the EPPP takes time and dedication like it’s a part time job. When something absorbs so much of your time and energy, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure success. Here are seven practical steps you can take to boost your odds of passing the EPPP before, during, and after the exam.
Before the exam
- Mimic the study environment
Once you know where you’re taking the exam, check out the testing center and see what noises and surroundings might accompany you as you take the test. Will it be dead quiet? If so, then take a few practice tests in the dead quiet.
Furthermore, take a practice test under the time constraints you’ll have during the real deal. For instance, you might have about one minute per question give or take. Set a timer for one minute to know what it feels like to answer one question within that timeframe. Continue reading
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”