Tips for NBCOT Exam
I wrote this in 2009 and never finished posting it…the new test had just come out, with the CST part to it. So this is relevant to the new test, but I am NOT up to date on whether things have changed in the last few years, so read this with a grain of salt. Or maybe a salt shaker.
I didn't start studying nearly as early as I should have, but I used 3 sources: TherapyEd book & review course, NBCOT book + online practice exams, and friends.
If you can afford it, take the TherapyEd review course. If money is an issue, it's probably still worth it IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE TESTING (the cost of that course is cheaper than re-taking the exam). If you are a strong student, you can probably get by without it.
I liked the TherapyEd review book that came with the course. I basically memorized the vast majority of the book. You need to be able to spout off the information, NOT just “recognize” it. I did flashcards, not so much to actually use, but to help me concentrate so that I learned while making them. There is what, like, thirteen chapters? So depending on how slowly you study, try and give yourself a few days for each chapter if at all possible. DON'T SKIP ANYTHING. I really only glanced briefly at statistics/research/management, and I wished I had looked closer. Everyone's test is different, but everyone's test will most likely include a little bit of everything. The more you know, the more likely you'll pass, obviously, right?
Now, the TherapyEd questions are kind of weird, I admit. Long and oddly worded. Still good practice. And it has lots of CST to practice with.
The NBCOT book was much more like typical NBCOT questions, although oddly enough, the book didn't have any example CSTs…those new clinical simulation questions. (I ALWAYS confuse the words stimulation/simulation).
NEW NOTE: All this may have changed in the last few years with new editions!!
I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the NBCOT online exam that is 100 questions. According to a classmate who researched it, there is like a .9 (ie high) correlation between your score on that exam versus the real thing. I don't have the evidence though. Also, one of my classmates went up FIFTY points from practice to real thing so I guess um, well, ….anyway, it's still helpful to see how you do on that online exam. The other things you can buy I don't necessarily recommend…if you can afford it, great, it helps with confidence …remember you cannot necessarily go back and see the question though…and answers aren't always given I don't think. So examine everything carefully the first time, and jot down notes as needed.
My favorite study questions had to do with psych….here is a (very very) brief psych med overview. Like I said, it may or may not be on one of your tests, but you should know it regardless! It seemed like each study book had this same information in it.
Akathisia = restlessness, urgent need for movement, typically a psych med side effect.
(This is like my favorite word!)
Tardive dyskinesia = almost constant movement, more chronic and serious, does not go away, and is result of years of heavy psych meds. The movements are more writhing with a lot of oral motor involvement.
Make sure you know the difference between the two types of movement. 🙂
MAOIs = drugs used for depression. You have to be on a restricted diet on these medicines because of an amino acid blah blah – so they like to ask diet questions. They can't have like, pickled, smoked, cheesy things…and one of the first signs of toxicity is a headache. Your patients, whether you work in mental health or not, may be on this type of medication, so make sure you know the reasons for the special diet, etc.
Photosensitivity = lots of psych drugs cause people to be more sensitive to sunlight than normal. If you are doing psych activities/groups and it involves being outside, there is a good chance you'll need to remind the clients and/or be prepared to deal with that side effect.
***As far as I can tell after re-reading this repeatedly, I have not said anything inappropriate/proprietary….if anyone disagrees, please let me know. My intent is to share advice, not do anything illegal!! 🙂