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How to Know When You're Ready to Take the NBCOT® Exam

Posted by TherapyEd on Dec 19, 2017 1:07:00 PM

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If you’re like most OT students, you’re wondering how to know when you’re ready to take the NBCOT® exam. Have you studied long enough? Do you know all the right material? Will you just feel it in your gut? Everyone is different, so there are no clear finish lines like studying for 100 hours or reading your NBCOT® exam review book five times. But, there are four signs that can indicate when you’re ready to take the NBCOT® exam –– and pass.

1. You've Followed Your Study Schedule

Study plans are crucial for success. At the outset of your NBCOT® exam preparation, you should develop a clear, comprehensive schedule that outlines areas of focus and how you’ll tackle your biggest weaknesses. This schedule will help you pinpoint when you’re ready to take the NBCOT® exam.

If you follow along with that plan, meet your study goals, and clearly notice yourself retaining knowledge, you should feel confident in your abilities by the time your NBCOT® test day arrives — whether it’s in two, three or six months.


2. You've Done Well on Your Practice Exams

If you’ve done well on multiple NBCOT® practice exams  –– and there’s been an improvement every time you’ve taken one –– this is a clear indicator of when you’re ready to take the NBCOT® exam. We recommend taking all of the available TherapyEd practice exams, which closely match the format of the actual exam and are designed to be more rigorous than the NBCOT® exam itself to better prepare you to succeed.

We also suggest that you closely replicate the conditions of the exam. For example, take the practice NBCOT® exam at the same time your exam is scheduled, sit at a desk, wear what you would the day of the exam, and eat what you would beforehand. Passing your practice exams under identical conditions will provide a better gauge for determining when you’re ready to pass the NBCOT® exam.


3. You're Confident You Know the Material Inside and Out

After studying your NBCOT® exam material for some time, including taking practice tests and attending a prep course, you may find yourself dreaming of the NBCOT® exam content at night. While some may view this as a symptom of test anxiety, it can also be a sign that you’ve thoroughly retained the NBCOT® exam material and are ready to take your exam.

As you review material, if you can anticipate what comes next and make logical connections right off the bat, that’s a clear sign that you are prepared. But be warned: don’t confuse familiarity with comprehension. Challenge yourself to look at each content domain in different ways and approach questions from a new lens to ensure that you haven’t just memorized your NBCOT® exam study materials, but can think critically about them.


4. You Feel Ready To Start Your Career

At its core, this test is a professional exam. If you feel you’re ready to be a occupational therapist and to apply what you’ve learned to real-life patients, you’re likely ready to pass the NBCOT® exam and begin that next phase of your career.

Of course, there are no guaranteed indicators of when you’re ready to take the NBCOT® exam. Other factors like unexpected life events can throw you for a loop. But if you identify with the above qualities, you should feel confident enough to keep test anxiety at bay.


Our National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam Review & Study Guide is the most comprehensive guide available and can help you pass the NBCOT® on the first try. Our two-day prep course will also help you pinpoint the areas you should focus on as you prepare to take the exam. We’re committed to helping you pass. If you don’t pass the NBCOT® exam on your first try after taking our course, you can attend our course again free of charge.