Listen to Jen!!!
Jennifer Cornett, from Utah. Let her take the stage:
“Hi, I’m Jennifer from Salt Lake City! I have been working as a behavior analyst for a company called Chrysalis for 2 1/2 years. I have a large Behavior clientele ages ranging from 15 – 91. I have a masters degree in Social Work and took my BCBA courses through FIT. My goal for the exam was one and done! I only wanted to have to take it once – so I figured I would do everything remotely possible, to make sure that happened. My response is a little long winded – but it’s detailed and will hopefully be helpful. Good Luck!
“I think the best way to prepare for the test – will depend on the way that you learn. I learn much better in a structured class with discussion and question and answer while I take copious notes, than I do just reading for example. So, I took the FIT guided review which gave me two mock exams (one as a pre-test and one a post-test), plus two actual days of instruction. There are four sessions and you only attend 2, but you get access to the other two because all of them are recorded and made available to you through the end of the next testing date.
“Now, the guided review I took cost $250.00 – but because of how I learn, I felt like it was well worth the money. I was able to see where I needed more review time in the pre-test and post-test. Plus i was able to ask questions during the sessions and hear good explanations from an expert. Here is the link for the guided review – their next class is August 24th – 25th. http://www.fit.edu/bst/programs/aba/exam.php#guided-review
“I also used the BDS modules and worked on those as well. Best practice for those is to get them to fluency and finish all of them to 100% before the test, and then if you don’t pass the test they extend your “membership” so you can keep reviewing the information for the next exam. I don’t learn well this way because for some reason, my brain remembers random parts of the questions and answers, so I wasn’t really LEARNING the information, I felt like I was more memorizing questions and answers. So I took a different approach and went through every single module, and read every question and reviewed all of the answers and tried to figure out why each answer was right or wrong – then I read the Hint, and took notes from the hints and anything else I learned during the modules.
“Again, the modules were $250.00 so they were quite a lot of money. I enjoyed them and it was nice to be able to do when I had 20 minutes here or there. But I felt like some of the things in the modules were a little confusing, and the thing I don’t like about them, is when you get an answer wrong, it does not always come right out and tell you why – you just get the same hint you would have gotten had you looked at them before the test – so I got a little confused by them.
“I also had a couple of random study groups with other people who were taking the exam – and My boss attended one and clarified some things for me, which I also found really helpful. It’s nice to talk to someone who has passed the test and has a really strong knowledge of the information so that I wasn’t reviewing wrong information.
“Lastly, I read though some of the more difficult concepts in the Cooper Heron book, and used their companion site to go through the chapters and get the important information and to quiz myself. This is that website: http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_cooper_appliedbeh_2/73/18705/4788620.cw/index.html
“In regards to structuring it myself – I finished my class in mid-January, and gave myself until February to not have to think about BCBA stuff – then I started studying 30 minutes each week day and 1 hour each weekend day. In March I started to study 1 hour each week day and 2 hours each weekend day. In April I studied at least 2 hours each day, and at least 4 hours on weekend days. I took the test at the very end of May, so I was studying essentially for 4 hours each night, and 8 hours a day on the weekend. It was a LOT of time to put into studying and a lot of time taken away from my family, but I seriously didn’t want to have to take the test more than once! I figured it would be worth the time and effort I put into studying if I could pass it the first time. It was definitely worth the time and effort since I passed it the first time.
“Oh, and I used a LOT of positive self-talk. I get really bad test anxiety, so I had to start preparing myself early telling myself “I’ve got this” over and over. Anytime someone asked about the test I said, “I’m ready for it” and figured it couldn’t hurt! The day of the test, I felt totally prepared and calm and ready for the test. I was calm throughout the test and felt really good about the questions and my answers, and took it a lot quicker than I had intended, so I reviewed everything again, changed a couple of answers but for the most part kept everything the same, and submitted the test. Even afterward, I felt really good about the test. I didn’t start to really doubt myself until a week before the results were posted, and then some negativity started to creep in as I became more anxious about the results – you know things like, “oh my gosh, what if I was totally wrong – what if I didn’t study enough… etc.” Finally I just figured, if I didn’t pass the test, it would only be by a question or two and that would mean I buckle down again, and take it in September. I wasn’t happy with that thought, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it, and I just tried to remember that I felt really good about the test. I honestly feel like the positive self-talk really helped. Once I started doing that consistently, I felt like my studying really improved. Random I know.
“Whew… I feel like I just took up a big chunk of your day by giving you this information but I hope it was helpful.
“In the end, you know yourself best – you know what will work for you and what won’t. This isn’t the first major test that any of us have taken – so we have all been successful before – we can all be successful at this test too! I don’t know if I would have passed had I studied any other way so any and all of the money I spent preparing was WELL worth only having the stress of taking the test once!
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Jennifer Cornett, CSW, BCBA”
She wants you to check out her company: Chrysalis (www.gochrysalis.com)
Alright… Jennifer just gave us her kitchen sink. So go study, talk positive and trust yourself!
Shout out to Jennifer for sharing her study tips!
May the desired consequence be with you!