Myths About the EPPP

Maybe you’ve heard things about the EPPP keep you from taking the next step towards licensure. But, are you correct about what you believe about the EPPP?

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) collected common myths about the EPPP and countered with the truth in an article called “EPPP Myths versus Reality.” We have addressed some of those myths below and included how the Taylor Study Method can help you prepare to pass the exam.

Myth:

I am less likely to pass the EPPP if I receive a hard version of the exam.

Truth:

It is true that versions of the EPPP vary in difficulty. But the difficulty of the exam you receive is considered in how the exam is scored.  What that means is that each version’s passing score is equated to consistently test your level of knowledge. As the ASPPB puts it: “Practically speaking, this means that the “harder” forms require fewer correct answers to pass and “easy” forms require more.”

Myth:

Most people will fail the EPPP.

Truth:

Your chances of passing the EPPP are extremely high if you study with TSM. In fact, we are so confident that our program will make you successful that we bargain your purchase on it.

Myth:

The exam contains trick questions.

Truth:

Some questions might have more than one answer that seems somewhat correct. The point of this type of question is not to trick you, but to see if you understand why the correct answer is, indeed, correct. In addition, the EPPP questions have gone through review workshops to ensure they meet the specific criteria set by the ASPPB.

Whether you once believed these myths to be true or you are uncertain you would be able to pass the EPPP, we believe you can do it. The dream is yours, and the reality can be yours too.

 

Further Reading

 

 

Digital Distractions: Staying focused in an increasingly distracting world

I know I’m guilty. I see my phone light up or hear a buzz, and in an instant, I’m pulled out of whatever I am doing, no matter how deep into the task I may be. Distractions are all around us and avoiding them is next to impossible. After all, that phone buzz might be something trivial like an Instagram notification, or it could be an email from a professor with vital information about an assignment—I might as well check to be sure. And just like that, I’m lost in all the notifications and Buzzfeed quizzes that come my way. Without even knowing it, an entire hour can be wasted.

I know I’m not alone, as has been confirmed by several surveys [1, 2, 3]. One study found as many as 97% of students found themselves distracted by their phones or other forms of technology [2].

Even though there seem to be several detrimental aspects to technology, it is simply not feasible that we entirely do away with technology. We seem to be faced with a double-edged sword. On one hand, our entire culture is entirely enmeshed with technology, with the academic sector seeming to be some of the deepest involved [4]. Because our educational system is so deeply involved with technology to the point of dependence, doing away with technology is simply not a practical goal.  Since we as students and budding professionals are required to be electronically connected, how can we make sure that we are focused on the task at hand, rather than the latest tweet?

The first tip to ensure that you are staying on task is to keep your goals in mind [5]. A good way to do this is to lay out a “to-do” list and prioritize what needs to be done first [6]. This allows for a second, yet integrally intertwined, tip—focus on only a few most important goals, rather than an entire list [5]. This allows you to keep a visual reminder of your task in front of you, as a sort of prompt to stay on topic. Keeping the list close also allows you to write down things you might be worried you will forget if you don’t attend to them right away. You are then able to stay on task better as you won’t need to run off on the occasional rabbit trail until one task is entirely accomplished [5].

By keeping fewer and the most important goals in mind, you are actually allowing yourself better focus [5]. Studies have shown that human working memory, the part of your mind that holds the tasks at hand, can only hold a maximum of about 3-5 items, give or take two items [7]. Because our minds can only hold such a finite number of meaningful trains of thought or tasks, it is important to be judicious about these slots [7]. As mentioned before, this gives you more working memory to devote to the task at hand, rather than the infinite number of other things vying for our attention [7].

Even with meticulously prioritized to-do lists, the temptation of social media still calls out. No matter how intently you intend on focusing, you are still human—breaks are required. This leads into the next tip: set predetermined breaks for yourself [8]. Our friends in behavioral science have helped to demonstrate that when we have a reward set out for us, we are more likely to keep working hard for that reward [9]. Moreover, you might be less tempted by that Facebook notification if you know that you will get to check on it in the next 50 minutes [8].

Another benefit of the pre-planned study break is the ability to return to your work refreshed and ready to go [10].  However, one article notes that only social media or internet-based breaks may not be enough to allow you to return to your studies energized [8]. Instead, the authors suggest more physically engaging activities, such as taking a walk outside (not just a couple laps around the library), organizing the stuff piling up around you, taking a shower, or even just chatting with a friend about something unrelated [8]. All of these options allow you a short reprieve from the studying that lies ahead and allows you to escape the computer screen for a bit [8].

Even with a study break and the most organized list possible, I will find that my mind wanders onto other things. Controlling “internal distractions” is also necessary to make the most of your study time [5]. These internal distractions can be defined as any internal stimuli (like thoughts, memories, or even conflicts) that act as diversions or aberrations from the task at hand [10]. These internal distractions can be taken care of through a variety of ways. The list to leave any pressing thoughts that pop up, sometimes referred to as a “parking lot”, is one way that you may already be employing [11]. Perhaps in order to manage these internal distractions, you need to have something to drown out your own thoughts—like background noise or music (both Spotify and YouTube have excellent playlists of focusing music) [12].  Offering strategies on how to handle these internal stimuli is even more subjective than these other general focus tips. In order to find what will work the best for you in terms of controlling internal distractions [12], you may need to spend some time consciously getting to know yourself and your study habits first.

Sometimes outside of regulating ourselves, we still need an external supervisor. Thankfully, some application developers have us in mind [11]. There have been several (free!) apps and extensions developed to help people like me (and a good proportion of the population) study more effectively by removing the temptations of social media [11]. These applications and extensions typically work in similar ways; by disabling access to whatever websites that you need “taken away” so that you can work [11]. Macintosh users can try the app “SelfControl” [11], and people using Google Chrome can also install the extensions “StayFocusd” or “I-Am-Studying” [11].

The demands on students seem to be greater now than they have been before, simply because we are living in the age of information. The need to be connected is ubiquitous. However, the same method through which we access so much information can also serve as a massive distraction. Implementing these focusing strategies can help you take more advantage of all of the data at your disposal while better blocking out the digital distractions!

Now, that’s enough time perusing a blog—get back to studying!

Motivation vs. Expectation: How to reward yourself for going beyond the minimum?

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

How is your self-discipline with work? Do you put off your therapy notes until minutes before they are due? Are you a procrastinator that uses pressure as motivation? Do you get frustrated with yourself because you are doing the minimal to get by?

Regardless of what inspires you or how you stay focused be sure that you are always reaching beyond the minimum of what is expected. There are many benefits to being motivated to accomplish your goals or tasks. Whether it’s the sense of accomplishment, marking off your to-do list, or the potential that your employer will recognize how hard you have worked.

Rewarding yourself for staying motivated and exceeding expectations is a great way to keep the cycle going. Here are a few tips that will help you along the way.

What does it mean to you?

Taking time to ask yourself how you benefit from exceeding expectations is one way to stay motivated. For example, volunteering to take on a new task at work will allow you the opportunity to show others how dedicated you are to your job. You are willing to take on extra work to help the team. Whether it’s planning the next treatment team meeting or organizing a team building activity you can make a difference.

What reward would matter most to you?

Everyone’s idea of a reward is different. One person may buy themselves something small, and others may reward themselves with something that isn’t physical. For example, if you had a goal and exceeded it, you may want to plan to take a day off from work so you can enjoy yourself. Having this to look forward to can help keep you motivated to continue to exceed your expectations of yourself.

What have you been able to accomplish so far?

The quickest way to boost your confidence and motivation is to look back at what you have been able to accomplish up until now. You need extra inspiration to go further. Making a list of what you are proud of accomplishing is a great start. It doesn’t matter how small or trivial it may seem, give yourself credit for it. Use this list as a refresher when your motivation begins to decrease.

You want to exceed your expectation because it will benefit you. It may feel at times like you are doing it only for your job or another person, but you will be the one to reap the benefits. Find what motivates you, especially on tough days and keep at it. Your hard work will pay off.

The Dynamics of the EPPP

Viewing the EPPP in the right light to take the exam properly.

The EPPP (read: “E-triple-P”). The dreaded EPPP. I know I have made my best efforts to ignore it. Even so, it still looms in my future. And, dear readers, I assume it looms in your future as well. However, the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology does not need to be such a terrifying concept for us.

What is the EPPP, again?

The unknown is almost always scary, right? So to help alleviate some of the mystery behind the exam, lets delve into what the EPPP is exactly, and who needs to take the exam. This exam is geared for doctoral level psychology students is governed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) [4]. At the time that this blog is being written the EPPP is a one-part exam that is to be taken over 4 ½ hours [1]. This exam includes 225 questions [1], of which only 175 are scored [2]. When the director of the ASPPB was asked about the test, she described it as “essentially everything you learned in graduate school” [6]. These questions cover a total of 8 domains in which we, as psychology graduates, are expected to be fluent [3]:

  • biological bases of behavior
  • cognitive affective bases of behavior
  • social and multicultural bases of behavior
  • growth and life-span development
  • assessment and diagnosis
  • treatment/intervention, prevention, and supervision
  • research methods/statistics
  • ethical, legal and professional issues

The EPPP is currently a one-part exam. However, there is a second part being developed at this time—and it is intended to be launched in January of 2020 [4, 5]. So, for those of you who will not be taking the exam for a couple years—heads up. The current form of the exam is intended to assess the basic and foundational skills necessary for early career psychology professionals to thrive on their own [5]. The second part of the exam is intended to examine the more practical skills needed to be a competent psychological professional [5]. It is anticipated that the EPPP Part 2 will assess the following areas [5].

  • Scientific orientation
  • Assessment and intervention
  • Relational competence
  • Professionalism
  • Ethical practices
  • Collaboration & consultation
  • Supervisory practices

For a more detailed description of the EPPP, see our previous blog post “What is the EPPP?”

That’s not intimidating at all.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the EPPP, why don’t we dive into some tips to better view the EPPP:

Having a thorough and solid knowledge of psychology.

Ok, this one seems like a no-brainer. But still, many people are surprised about the breadth of information that needs to be mastered (or re-mastered) in order to be successful on this exam. Sources show that the information being covered in the exam covers practical things learned in experiences as recent as your internship to (seemingly ancient historical) concepts covered in some introductory undergraduate psychology courses [1].

Naturally, we all have those courses that we excelled at, and those classes that were a little more challenging. It is important to identify early on in your study process what you already know well and what could use a little more work [6]. Look through some study materials and practice exams in order to figure out what you know best and what needs to have the most of your attention. We’ll talk a little more about prioritization later in this post.

Develop solid study habits.

Another idea that might seem obvious, but nevertheless needs to be said. There are some unique aspects to studying for this exam. It is recommended that you start studying between 4-6 months before the exam [7]! Of course, this is no the absolute correct amount of time for everyone to study—there have been accounts of people studying for as much as a year prior to sitting for the exam and as little as just two weeks before the big day [1].  Although there isn’t an absolute when it comes to how much to study, too much is almost always better than too little when it comes to studying for the EPPP.

Scheduling Study Time

I encourage you to set a schedule of studying for yourself and stick to it. Too often when it comes to studying, procrastination is able to sneak in and rear its ugly head. I know I’m guilty. Fear not! Because in this situation, knowing this about yourself can be quite helpful. Of my acquaintances and friends who have taken the EPPP, most who have been successful have started slowly and escalated their studying as the test date approached.  Most told me that if they had studied the information months in advance, they feared they would forget it before the test arrived.

Get a Study Buddy

Reach out to people in your cohort! Meet people in Facebook/social media-based support groups (might I suggest the search terms: “EPPP support”) [8]! Try for people in your professional organizations! Ask your friends, family, and loved ones! What about online forums, like The Student Doctor? Even if you feel like you typically study better alone, it might serve you to have someone with whom to go through this [1]. Isolation only serves to further the anxiety that you will inevitably have over this exam.

Find an accountability partner, even if they’re not going to be sitting for the exam. This was something that I used quite frequently in undergraduate. Find someone who will harass you or at least gently ask you whether or not you have been following through on your study goals. Because I am such a procrastinator, I needed someone who I would feel guilty telling that I put off studying or that I fell behind “because I had plenty of time”. If you think this might work for you, I highly encourage it!

Prioritize Topics

Like I mentioned above—one of the major keys to this exam is knowing what you don’t know [6]. Once you know what you don’t know, you’ll know what your weak points will be on the exam. Taking a practice exam to really illuminate those points may help [8]. Focus a majority of your time on the topics that you are less familiar with, or ones that you weren’t able to complete successfully on the practice exam.

That doesn’t mean to entirely ignore the concepts that you did well on. Make sure to keep those in your study routine as well. It is important to ensure that you don’t just replace the information that you had under your belt at one time with other information. Also, keeping information in the mix that you already have mastered has been shown to be reinforcing (thank you, behaviorists), and therefore keep your study sessions a little less dreadful.

It is also important to do research on the topics and percentages of the EPP that they will occupy [7]. Try to prioritize items that fit into categories that will take up the largest portion of the EPPP [7].

Use Professional and Commercial Study Tools.

Seriously. This one isn’t just a plug for our own study tools. Professional organizations that are dedicated to helping students pass licensure exams often have the inside track on what is going to be relevant to this year’s particular EPPP [8].

As a current graduate student, I am fully aware of the budget we have. I know that the study materials can seem like just another excess expense. In order to save money, ask your friends and colleagues if they have any old EPPP study materials that they might be willing to hand down [8]. However, it is important to remember that the EPPP is updated every year, and it is possible that materials that you buy from colleagues or marketplaces may be out of date by the time you get them [7]. At least when it comes to practice exams, I would recommend using the most current edition available [8, 9]. Just to get your feet wet, here are a couple of links to some *free* resources that AATBS offers:

Overall, it is important to remember that there really is no definite answer to how, with whom, or how long to study. You know yourself best. And give yourself a little credit—you’ve made it this far in your educational career, trust what’s worked for you.

Having Good Test-Taking Skills

I know you’ve studied. I know you’ve memorized everything there is to know from personality disorders to practical applications of theory. Nevertheless, your intelligence and competence won’t be demonstrated on the exam without a good strategy for taking the test [10].

Have a methodology to approaching the exam questions. You’re an aspiring scientist as well as clinician, right? Plus, I’m sure you remember those research and scientific methodology courses. This is just an extension of your scientific approach. Having a solid strategy will help you make the most out of the information that you studied and make sure that it is reflected well on the exam [10]. It is a timed test, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to answer everything as quickly as you can [10]. With some break time factored in to the 4 ½ hour time allotted for the exam, you will have about 55 seconds per question [10]—so take your time! Taking your time on the questions will actually help you save time, as you won’t need to go back and re-read questions in order to get what the question is asking you [10].  

I know you’ve heard this before, and I know that it is printed on the exam itself, but it is extremely important that you read the questions on the EPPP carefully [10]. Many of the questions are written trickily. Several questions involve difficult language or double negatives, intended to trip up people who aren’t paying attention [10]. This goes back to what I was just saying—take your time and make sure you really understand the question.

Go with your gut [10]. Studies and statistics show that 80% of the time, the first choice that you make on the exam is the correct answer [10]. I know that it is tempting but try not to second guess yourself. Remember all that studying you did? Trust yourself—you were right the first time.

And of course, if you really don’t know, just take a guess! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, on this exam it’s in your best interest to guess! [10]. On the EPPP, you only get awarded points for correctly answering questions; you are not deducted points or penalized for getting an answer wrong [10].  Making educated guesses at questions when you are not certain of the answer is an important test-taking skill on the EPPP.

Educated guessing is not random. The first step in doing so is eliminating answers that you know are wrong. On the EPPP, you will be presented with four possible answers to questions [10]. The more answers that you are able eliminate, the more likely you are to get the correct answer. Another important tenet of educated guessing is identifying and utilizing contextual clues [10]. Being able to pick out any particular theories or psychologists that are being noted in the question may help direct you to the correct answer [10].

Time Management Skills

So, we’ve talked about study skills and test-taking skills, but one of the most important skill sets you can have is time management (both for the EPPP and aside from that). Naturally, with graduate school and all the responsibilities that you need to juggle for it, I’m sure that you have developed some excellent time management skills. Even still, you need to develop a special set of skills for this exam.

First, as I mentioned before, you are in charge of your own 4 ½ hours to take the test [1]. That means that you can take it as slowly or as quickly as you would like. You can spend as much or as little time on each question as you would like. You are permitted to take breaks when (or if) you would like.

Since you know yourself best, it is recommended that you develop good stopping points for yourself during the study process. Since I recommend taking as many practice exams as you can get your hands on, over time in those practice exams, you will start to notice where the natural breaks are for yourself. I encourage you to take what you need to help keep your mind on track. Still, I want you to be mindful that this is still a timed exam, and therefore you will need to keep the countdown in the forefront of your mind.

AATBS has already developed a suggested time table for taking the EPPP—feel free to check it out. According to this schedule, you have about 55 seconds per question. To me, just because it is expressed in seconds, it sounds like an extremely short time. However, really think about how long a minute is… pretty long, right? Plenty of time to slowly read the question and think about what it is really asking you. Often times, we end up getting stressed out and rushing through questions faster than we need to. Remember, part of managing our own time is knowing how much time should be devoted to a particular question. If you know it right away, great! More time for the rest. If not, no worries! Take your time, read slowly, and utilize some of those great test taking skills we talked about earlier.

Secondly, developing a time schedule for studying is also imperative for success on the EPPP [1]. As I mentioned previously in the study habits portion, if you are like most graduate students (myself included), procrastination is your forte. In order to combat this to the best of our ability, experts have recommended that you set up a realistic study schedule for yourself and make every effort to keep it—notice that “realistic” is emphasized here. Anyone can make a study schedule, but if you’re not even close to on track with it, what good is it doing you? Being able to anticipate some of the daily life struggles and still plan around them with time to study is going to be a key to your success at this exam.

Stress Management Skills

Finally, learning how to manage your stress for this exam is also important. What good are you going to be come test time if you’re so stressed out you can’t even remember your name? With all this planning going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

One major strategy that I suggest to combat this anxiety is getting connected. Like I mentioned before under “get a study buddy.” Reach out to people over Facebook, over the internet, in your cohort, in study groups, etc. Anywhere where you can get some support and somewhere to vent—take it! You’re going to need some outlet from all this stress.

Another excellent strategy is having a routine—and sticking to it! If you already have a pretty set routine, try to work your study time into that routine. Don’t upset your whole life just for the exam. Sure, it’s going to be a major piece of your vocational career, but it isn’t something that should make you hate everything else leading up to it.

Do you work out regularly? Do not give that up! Exercise has been shown to be a great stress reliever. And some studies have actually shown that keeping a regular exercise routine in place can help you do better on exams.

No matter what it is, find something that can help you escape the stress of this exam. It’s a major stressor in your life, and for many is the last major obstacle before you get licensed and embark in the world of psychology on your own! Anything that can help you escape that pressure will be a welcome relief—trust me!

Here’s a bonus tip:

Calm down. It’s going to be fine.

More than 80% of students who prepare and take the exam pass on their first attempt—so the odds are in your favor [1]. Even if you do not pass on the first go, it’s not the end of the world. It is simply a licensure exam, this doesn’t say anything about your intelligence or who you are as a person.

You’re a graduate student. You’ve taken a million exams before. You’ve made it this far. What’s one more? You know what works for you and you know what doesn’t. Now, get out there and crush it!

 

 

The Number One Secret to Passing the EPPP

The Number One Secret to Passing the EPPP

Are you studying for the EPPP again after yet another failed attempt? Or perhaps you’ve failed your practice exams time and time again. Are you ready to start succeeding?

The short solution to being successful is this: quit cutting corners.

It’s time to take an honest look at your current study strategy and perhaps trade it in for something better. Although success does not come without sacrifice, it will be worth it when you receive that passing score.

First, assess your current studying situation by answering the following questions.

  • Do I want to pass the EPPP?
  • Have I failed the EPPP at least one time?
  • Do I often skim through study material rather than read the whole thing?
  • Do I feel like I don’t know where to begin with studying for the EPPP?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, take these next three steps.

1. Start a study program

If you’re not currently enrolled in a professional study program, look no further. There is a reason TSM candidates have a 96% first time pass rate. Our program is customized to assess where you’re at, what your timeline is, and how you learn best.

Email us at contact@taylorstudymethod.com or give us a call at 877-510-5445.

2. Stick to your study schedule

At TSM, we take what we know about your timeline, your initial assessment, and learning style to deliver you an efficient and effective study schedule with 1-hour study sessions. The schedule is unique to you, so it will be easier to stick to.

3. Seek support

Whether this means you find a study partner or join a study group, it is important to have the support of people in the same boat as you. They will be there to encourage you, hold you accountable, and help you understand concepts and vice versa – two brains are better than one! Furthermore, TSM offers coaching sessions to objectively look at where you are and how to improve.

Ultimately, a passing EPPP score is yours – you just have to come get it!

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

Is Studying for the EPPP Affecting Your Mental Health?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studying for the EPPP can be a stressful and overwhelming undertaking. Stress can be a normal part of the EPPP preparation process, therefore we must learn to manage it. But, what happens when it becomes more than stress and studying begins to affect your mental health?

In order to address the effect of studying on your mental health, you must first know the warning signs. Here are three signs that your mental health is being affected by studying.

  1. Panic Attack

A panic attack is characterized by any number of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, the sense that you’ve lost control, feeling faint, or a sense of terror.

If you do experience a panic attack, don’t try to fight it off. Instead, breathe deeply, engage yourself in your surroundings and allow the panic to subside.

  1. Forgetfulness

A surprising symptom of anxiety is forgetfulness. Because anxiety is overwhelming and consuming, it can cause you to forget things such as what you highlighted in last night’s study session. Furthermore, a hormone called cortisol is released when we experience stress. Cortisol is known for preventing the formation of memories.

  1. Depression

Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, disinterest in activities you once enjoyed, lack of energy, and anxiety. Experiencing depression during EPPP preparation can affect your motivation to study as well as your ability to maintain a healthy balance between studying and time with family and friends.

If you experience any, or a combination, of the above, then the stress of taking the EPPP is affecting your mental health. This means it is time to take a step back and get help. Talk to a trusted friend and seek professional help. A counselor can advise you on how to move forward through depression and anxiety.

If you don’t identify with the above symptoms, maintaining good mental health is key. Here are 3 ways to stay mentally healthy during EPPP prep.

  1. Know the warning signs of stress and burnout

Everyone reacts to stress differently, but here are a few possible warning signs of stress per The American Psychological Association (APA): Headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain; Upset stomach; Dry mouth; Chest pains and rapid heartbeat; Difficulty falling or staying asleep; Fatigue.

Furthermore, if you feel like you have nothing left to give, you may be experiencing burnout.

Look at stress relief strategies here.

  1. Schedule breaks

When you create your study schedule, be sure to include breaks. During periods of rest, our brains store and organize the material we have learned. So, not only are breaks giving you rest to combat anxiety, but they are helping your memory and retention.

Your breaks should include small 5-10 minute breaks as well as longer 30 minute ones. Be sure to incorporate a good night’s sleep as well.

  1. Gratitude

Thinking thankful thoughts can literally detox your brain.  Thinking negatively creates toxins in your brain that can be combatted by shifting your thinking to positivity. By cultivating a positive, gratuitous attitude, you can starve your inclination to think negatively.

Not only will gratitude detox your brain and make you happier in general, but it will reduce stress and anxiety, ultimately making you mentally healthier.

References

Dunn, Carrie. “Mind over Matter: The Effects of Studying on Mental Health.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Dec. 2008, www.theguardian.com/education/

2008/dec/06/mental-health-university-students.

“How Anxiety Can Cause Forgetfulness.” 7 Strategies for Dealing With Work Anxiety, www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/forgetfulness.

“Listening to the Warning Signs of Stress .” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-signs.aspx.

Further Reading:

3 Ways to Rediscover the Joy on Your Path to Licensure

Many EPPP candidates admit that joy is hard to find during the study process. They experience a mental fatigue that can affect their attitude towards their career path as well as success on exam day. Although studying is likely the dominant factor in their mental fatigue, other circumstances can be blamed such as family trouble or stress at work.

Plenty of research on happiness has pointed to the fact that joy is created from the inside out as opposed to resulting from life circumstances. Therefore, to overcome mental fatigue and find joy, you must get outside of your own head.

Here are three ways to get out of your head and rediscover joy.

 

1. Be Healthy

Exercise is often the first item on the list that we sacrifice for additional study hours. Skipping out on the gym, however, can impact our experience of joy. Exercise releases endorphins, increases energy levels and oxygen flow to the brain, and ultimately increases memory and retention abilities. Consider exercise as part of your study routine.

Eating right is the second half of the healthy equation. Certain foods can increase your energy levels and help you focus. Eating leafy greens, for example, can make your brain function like it did when it was younger – sharper and more energized.2. Be Mindful

In short, mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to the moment. Because of our prefrontal cortex, we can observe our thinking and censor our own thoughts instead of falling victim to negative and passive thinking. Practice mindfulness by exercising moment-by-moment awareness of what is going on in your brain and body. Notice when you feel overwhelmed by EPPP study. On the flip side, notice when you are relaxed and experiencing happiness.

Mindfulness will come more easily with practice. Eventually, you may be able to tune into your emotions more quickly by recognizing how they alert your body. For example, perhaps you notice constant headaches and fatigue despite getting sufficient sleep. These are indicators that you are stressed. Through practicing mindfulness, you may be able to understand your body’s emotion indicators before you become overly stressed and eventually burnt out.

3. Be Grateful

Practicing gratitude can literally detoxify your brain. On average, we experience thousands of thoughts daily. Most of them flow into our mind quickly without us choosing to think them. Even if only a small percentage of our thoughts are negative, they can still number in the hundreds and affect our joy.

To cast out the negative thoughts, start by noticing them. Then, when you notice a negative thought, think about something or someone you are truly grateful for. Picture your beloved pet, your spouse, your child, or your career aspirations and achievements. Bringing yourself to a genuine feeling of gratitude will make the negativity vanish.

 

Further Reading

Exercise and Passing the EPPP: Why you Should Include Exercise in your EPPP Study Schedule

Brain Food: Holiday Treats to Boost Your EPPP Success

How Peace of Mind is a Skill That Can Be Developed With Practice 

The Three B’s of Mindfulness: Breath, Body and Brain

Use Gratitude to Detoxify Your Brain

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

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: