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Why starting your NBCOT® exam prep with several practice tests is your best bet for scoring high come exam time

NBCOT® exam prep
NBCOT® exam prep

What is the first step towards becoming an occupational therapist? People will tell you that the first step is to get a handle on your NBCOT®exam prep and successfully pass the now infamous NBCOT® exam. Well, they are not wrong, but there is a step you must take first. Current research shows that students, who take online tutoring or work with experts during the preparatory phase have significantly higher chances of passing than those who do not. Therefore, before you sit for the NBCOT® exam, you need to find a guide you can trust.

Gathering material from different sources online and collecting tips and strategies from different candidates can be a harrowing experience before the exam. People who have already begun their NBCOT®exam prep know this all too well. That is why it is advisable to study smartly to get the best results. That means getting your hands on the latest practice material, honing your skills on online timed tests, speaking with NBCOT® exam prep experts and working with a tutor online. Check out Pass the OT to learn more about the different phases of successful NBCOT® exam preparation for successfully passing the OTR® or COTA® exam.


Here are a few points of advice everyone should follow to score high on the NBCOT® exam –

i. Practice as much as you can

You may have heard this one already, but most places don’t tell you how and where to practice. You need to practice the exam questions frequently, but make sure that you have the complete material in hand. Not having the right resources might mean that you will find the same questions recycling throughout the paper. Although that might help boost your confidence, it will do little to improve your knowledge.

Opt for simulated and timed exams. Only professional preparatory websites and online services offer these tests for the registered members. Try completing at least three such simulated practice papers before the exam day. It will build your concentration and stamina. These simulations are identical to the actual NBCOT® exams so it will help the first-timers understand the process and budget their time. Always use a countdown timer and NOT a watch.


ii. Answer the actual question

The questions are usually comprehensive, and you need to find the actual sentence that contains the question. Before you click on an answer you deem correct, make sure to identify the question. Completing the simulated tests might help you with finding the best answer faster the actual NBCOT® exam. It is easy to lose your way in the labyrinth of information the questions contain. That is why it is absolutely paramount you include practice tests in your NBCOT® exam prep.

Practising online, whether with tutors or during simulated tests will help you identify the keywords quickly. Extensive practice will help you recognize the essential points including – contraindication, at-risk, most appropriate, first action, recently diagnosed, immediate, initial action and next step. Considering the practice setting, frame of reference, population, and nature of the condition also help in locating the actual question in record time. 


iii. Always deconstruct

You might face a question that you do not know the answer to; in that case, you need to deconstruct the answer choices and ask yourself the following:
  • Is the answer choice SAFE – consider the contraindications, precautions, condition, age, and populace.
  • Is the choice ETHICAL – is it honest or beneficial? Speak with your tutor to learn more about the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics.
  • Is the answer CLIENT CENTRIC – does it respect your client's needs, desires, culture, and religion?
  • Does the option reflect your SKILL – you have received the training as a professional and your choice should reflect the skills you have acquired.
  • Is the answer choice ACTIVE – it should take active measures towards a quantitative or qualitative goal.
There are times when you have to make a tough call; during these times, you need to make choices that are consistent with diagnostics and practice settings.


iv. Have a strategy for problems

During the exam, you will have limited time to answer the questions you already know. So, go ahead with the ones you can solve and save the problematic ones for the later. However, let us remind you that the exam system does not deduct points even when you select the incorrect answers. Do not leave any question unanswered.


For the CST portion of the NBCOT-OTR® exam

When you cannot decide between YES and NO, always go with YES. In this section when you select YES, you will receive the information regarding your selection. That might reveal useful information about other questions.


DO NOT RUSH. Once you select an option in the CST portion of the test, you cannot de-select it. Additionally, once you move on to the MC items, you cannot go back and work on the CST section. So take your time, while keeping your eyes on the countdown clock.


v. Do not fidget with your choices

From the time you begin to the time of the examination, use your NBCOT® Exam
  • Prep to teach yourself to not second guess once you have selected your answer. As we have mentioned before, the NBCOT® exam does not deduct marks for wrong answers. The only time you should change your marked answer is when you are sure about an error. When you come across new information or recollect a crucial fact that can influence your answer choice, you need to do so carefully.
  • Practising online, with friends, and even tutoring others during your free time should instil the confidence you need to crack the NBCOT®. During your practice runs, don’t forget to go back and check your answer choices. Your practice exam should return the scores with information on every right and wrong answer you have given during the test. It should help you understand the level of your preparation.
  • While you are looking for online preparation material, guides and simulated tests, don't forget to consult your textbooks. They might sound too old-fashioned, but books can always give you the in-depth knowledge that many discounted or free NBCOT® study prep guides lack.

Start your preparation and complete the mock tests with plenty of time in hand, so you have the time to integrate any new information you receive from the online sources.

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