Caffeine, Alcohol and Insomnia on the Rise During EPPP Exam Prep

Caffeine, Alcohol and Insomnia on the Rise During EPPP Exam Prep  

Are you sacrificing sleep for an extra hour of EPPP exam prep? Are you drinking more cups of coffee than normal? Do your weekends consist of more glasses of wine than when you drank when you were not studying for the EPPP?

A recent study published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) shows that legal drug use, such as alcohol and caffeine, as well as sleep deprivation and insomnia, are on the rise during exam preparation. Alcohol and caffeine negatively affect sleep quality as is, but added exam preparation stress creates the perfect storm for poor sleep quality.

And poor sleep quality, or not getting enough sleep in general, can be dangerous. According to an article by Reader’s Digest,  sleep deprivation can impact us in the following ways:

  • A loss of 2-3 hours of sleep in a typical 8-hour night can result in performing similarly to if you had consumed 2-3 beers.
  • Your risk of fatality is increased if driving while sleep deprived
  • A lack of sleep can contribute to a lack in motivation and a lack of willpower

Not only can poor sleep quality and lack of sleep be fatal, but it is detrimental to your quality of studying. Ultimately, staying up that extra hour to study could be doing more harm than good.

The study published by PLoS obtained data of student’s consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. They used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to measure sleep quality in 150 university students before and after an exam period.

They found that poor sleep quality during exam periods and was directly correlated with lower academic performance. Alcohol and caffeine consumption increased during exam periods as well, which have a more indirect affected sleep quality but affect it nonetheless. Stress was the best predictor of poor sleep quality and decreased time in bed which led to an increase in sleep onset latency and daytime drowsiness.

So, before you stay up past your bed time for the sake of that extra hour of studying, think of what you are truly risking: quality studying. Instead of cutting into much needed rest, create a study schedule that allows for an adequate night’s sleep and appropriate breaks during your study sessions. Do not wait until you are mentally exhausted to take a break. Schedule both short, 5-10 minute, and long, 20-30 minute, breaks and take them when you have set aside the time.

Furthermore, keep your breaks productive. Getting outside and moving your body will rejuvenate the brain. Incorporate activities that requires less mental energy and are absent of digital distractions. Perhaps go on a walk, juggle the soccer ball, or even take a relaxing bath.

 

References

Zunhammer, M., Eichhammer, P., & Busch, V. (2014, Oct. 3). “Sleep Quality during Exam Stress: The Role of Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine.” Public Library of Science, 9(10). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4184882/

Weinhouse, B. Reader’s Digest. “America’s Sleep Crisis Is Making Us Sick, Fat, and Stupid. But There’s Hope.” Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/america-sleep-crisis/

 

Further Reading

 

5 EPPP Study Habits that Will Improve Your Motivation

Unmotivated students are more likely to procrastinate studying which, in turn, affects their likelihood of a passing score. Are you struggling to stay motivated while studying for the EPPP? You are not alone.

Here are 5 study habits that will improve your motivation to study for the EPPP.

1. Personalize the Material.

The EPPP material is more than just concepts and terms to memorize for a test. When you study for the EPPP, think about how you will be able to use certain concepts once you become a licensed psychologist. Match ideas and scenarios you come across in studying with what you are experiencing in your life.

So much of the content can be associated with real-life scenarios in and of itself. But you can overcome your lack of motivation by personalizing terms, concepts, and scenarios with important people and places in your life.

 

2. Take Breaks

Avoid burnout by scheduling regular breaks into your study sessions. Furthermore, listen to what your body and brain needs. For example, tiredness can be a major factor in lack of motivation. Check in with yourself. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Getting sufficient sleep is a basic step towards creating a successful lifestyle in general.

Another type of tiredness is cognitive exhaustion. Breaking up your study sessions with rest will help you avoid mental fatigue. These breaks should ideally be taken outdoors involving some sort of activity that oxygenates the brain such as jogging, walking, or riding a bike. If weather is keeping you indoors, try eating a healthy meal during a break, take a bath, do yoga, listen to music, or just sit and do nothing. Whatever your method is for taking breaks, stay away from technology during this time.

3. Avoid Distractions

Ask yourself what it is that is distracting you from your EPPP studies. The idea is to remove the distraction so that you can more easily pursue studying. There are certain distractions, however, that are not removable such as work, family, and friends. In this case, consider studying in a place where you are away from family and friends like a library or coffee shop.

Maintain focus in your distraction-free environment by turning off your social media and email notifications. If you need to, give yourself a timed break to check email and media accounts. Furthermore, remove the distraction of sporadic thoughts (such as suddenly remembering to feed the neighbor’s cat) by keeping a notepad and pen next to you as you study. As sporadic thoughts appear, remove them from your brain by writing them down where they can serve as a reminder later.

4. Plan

Looking at the overall task of studying for the EPPP can be overwhelming. This can lead to not knowing where to begin or a lack of motivation to begin at all. Many people who are overwhelmed with the entirety of studying decide to randomly skip around study material without structure. Avoid random and unproductive study by making a realistic schedule so that you do not overload your working memory. Ask yourself what you can learn for today and focus on just that.

 

The Taylor Study Method can help you create your own personalized study schedule based on how much daily/weekly time you have as well as when you want to take your EPPP. Our team of researchers and engineers have identified the most effective ways to structure your study time. Our online tools break down your EPPP studies into manageable parts tailored to your unique schedule.

5. Visualize Success

Lastly, at the beginning of each study session, remember what all of this is for. Imagine all that you will be able to accomplish when you are a licensed psychologist. Imagine what it will feel like to get that passing score. Visualize the big picture success from and then back up to the smaller picture of having a successful study session today. Positive thinking is a powerful tool that leads to success.

 

Further Reading

What to Do When the Internship Is Over   

So, you’ve completed, or are about to complete, your internship. What’s next?

Unlike graduate school, or the internship itself, there is no guided process of how to proceed after the internship. Lucky for you, we have provided 10 steps to take after your internship with advice from the American Psychological Association (APA).

  1. Know the requirements.

What does your state require for licensure? Typically, you would earn your degree, complete supervised internships and postdoc hours, and pass the EPPP. From there, you would take your state’s jurisprudence or ethics exam and, if your state has one, an oral exam.

Some states allow you to sit for the EPPP directly following internship hours. Other states, however, have different requirements. At Taylor Study Method, we can provide you with your state’s specific requirements so you do not have to guess. Email us at memberssupport@taylorstudymethod.com or call us at 877-510-5445.

  1. Make a study plan.

Decide when you want to take the exam and form a study schedule around that. It typically takes about 3 to 4 months to study for the EPPP. At TSM, we can help you formulate a study schedule that suits your time frame.

See our expert tips on creating a study schedule here.

  1. Know where you want to practice.

Do you live close to the border of another state? Or have you always dreamed of living across the country someday? Learn the licensing requirements of where you might want to practice psychology someday.

Once again, TSM can provide you with state-specific requirements.

  1. Talk with the licensing board.

Although TSM can provide you with state-specific requirements, the APA suggests visiting the licensing board websites of the states you are interested in. Ask them questions until you fully understand the steps toward licensure and stay up to date on any state regulations.

  1. Plan your postdoc, if applicable.

Ask us at TSM to see if a postdoc experience is right for you because some states do not require it. If you do pursue postdoc, look for an experience that meets your state’s licensing requirements and one that will, per the APA, “enhance your knowledge and facilitate long-term career goals.” You can either continue at your internship site or find a new site that peaks your interest.

Before you begin your postdoc, the APA advises creating a contract that outlines your state’s licensing requirements and how the site, supervisor, and you will meet those requirements.

  1. Apply with the state board.

Once your prerequisites are met, request an application from the State Board of Psychology (SBP), fill out the application, and return it. TSM can assist you in this process. Once the SBP approves your application, you are ready to book your EPPP spot.

  1. Apply with Pearson VUE.

Upon SBP approval, submit your application to Pearson VUE, which is the company that administers the EPPP.

Before you take this step, however, consider this: Once your fees are paid to Pearson, you must take the EPPP within 90 days. Therefore, you should be close to finishing studying and confident in your exam prep when you apply.

  1. Take the EPPP.

If you use TSM to prepare for the EPPP, you will be able to sit for the exam with confidence. We will assure you of your readiness based on your practice test scores, which are a regular feature of our study model.

All the work will be worth it when you pass the EPPP. And when you do pass, submit your results to the SBP.

  1. Sit for jurisprudence.

Once you pass the EPPP and submit your results, it is time to sit your state’s Jurisprudence Exam (if applicable), which covers state-specific regulations and mental health laws. Upon passing this exam, you are ready to be a licensed psychologist.

  1. Keep a record.

After all that hard work, the APA suggests storing your credentials into a credentials bank. For a small fee, you can locate your data in one place, such as the National Register or ASPPB Credentials Bank. You can store documents such as transcripts, your EPPP and jurisprudence scores, recommendation letters, proof of internship and postdoc hours, as well as state licensure forms.

We invite you to see how the Taylor Study Method can support you as you prepare to pass the EPPP. Become a member for free at www.taylorstudymethod.com/free-account. For more information, call us at 877-510-5445.

Further Reading