BCBA Study Tips XXV

Another Comeback

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St. Louis Cathedral (Photo credit: smthng)

Well, like I said, I am slowly breaking my habit and I am posting again. Here comes the study tips from Amy Theobald of LA.

Fun fact: Amy is my very first FB friend! While she’s not busying helping others or taking care of her family, she connects me to one of the best BCBAs in her area… yes, the interview has been recorded… am editing… coming soon!

Without further delay, here comes her study tips:

Here Comes Amy

“Initially, realize that preparation for this exam begins much sooner than your application to sit for the exam. As you go through your coursework begin to familiarize yourself with the task list, so that you can decipher important information to pull from each course. I wish I would have done this, as it would have helped immensely. Next, when choosing your supervision site if you have a choice of sites choose the one with the most access to a BCBA. I was very fortunate to attend a program that offers an intensive internship; I had multiple hours weekly of 1:1 supervision with a BCBA, also had unlimited access to multiple BCBA’s. So if a session went poorly, or I had a question I literally could walk into a supervisor’s office and say “can we look at the video together?”. So if there are future BCBA’s reading this that are not yet committed to a program try to choose a program with an intensive internship … you can find this info on ABAI’s website. If an intensive internship is not an option consider contacting CARD (Centers for Autism and Related Disorders) or FIT (Florida Institute of Technology) as they are some reputable providers of internship experiences in our field.

“All of that being said, let’s discuss Exam Prep. There are several products on the market. I will only address products which I have direct experience with. I primarily utilized the BDS prep modules, and the Cooper book. Secondarily, I utilized Behaviorbabes website for terms, quizlet too look up unfamiliar terms, behaviorjedi’s tips, and an exam prep powerpoint that was put on the student group of facebook.

“I don’t feel it is an accurate representation just to say I used the modules, because I prepped for this exam simultaneously with 4 other classmates and all of us utilized the modules a little differently. I followed the method in which they (the BDS team) suggested. I started with my weakest areas as noted by the pretest and worked on multiple subsets at a time. The modules are time consuming, are not something you can finish in a few weeks. I committed at least 20 hours a week and it took me 2.5 months to complete the modules to 100%. As I did the modules I kept a running list of terms and concepts I was not 100% solid on. Those terms I would then go to the Cooper book and read, then I would take my list to work with me and I would discuss those terms with BCBA’s at work. There were a few terms that even after doing all of that I still wasn’t solid on, at that point I would email or text other BCBA’s from my University program and we would do group text/email discussions. Hearing multiple interpretations and descriptions helped my generalization and fluency of concepts. Also, I would apply real world situations to concepts. Then I would talk about those real world situations in behavioral terms with BCBA’s at work, others studying for the exam etc. People will say just live, breathe, read, ABA … and I believe being a BCBA is not just a profession; it becomes a way of thinking. During the time before the exam, there were several times when I intentionally took a few days away from the modules and the Cooper book. It helped prevent total burnout. As I worked on the modules, I used a reinforcement system based on duration of work not mastery because mastery levels varied greatly. Once I completed the modules and did the post tests I then went back through my weakest areas as indicated by the post tests. I also looked at how much increase I had between the pretest and the post-test in evaluating which area’s to spend more time on. After reviewing those areas I retook the post tests. I did this type of review cycle at least 4 times. The modules taught me how to discriminate the target response from the question.

“This system worked for me, I passed on the first try. I hope my experience helps you find your prep strategy.

“Amy Theobald, MA BCBA

“Attended McNeese State University”

Great program and great supervisors, BDS, Internship, the White book, Behavior Babe and me? Wow thanks, Amy!

Congrats and shout out to Amy and her family!

For those who are sitting later this month, let me know how I can help.

May the desired consequence be with you!

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