BCBA Study Tips LXXXVIII

 This is the best one I could find… 88

Here Comes Number 88!!!

Well, I promised Mrs. Linsao that she would be no. 88 and I struggled to find one more tips… and so now I simply cut and paste the whole thing… and guess who turns 1 today! Happy Birthday, M-man!

“Hello Behavior Jedi!

“Now that I have put both my kids to bed, I can finally post some tips on how I prepared for the BCBA exam. A little background first: I received my Masters degree in psychology and I spent most of my training as an MFT (marriage and family therapist) focusing on behavioral therapy and ABA techniques to modify my client’s behaviors. I actually started out as a behavior tutor at a private agency in Redwood City working with children with autism. Sadly, I left as a result of my graduate program requiring me to obtain hours at a practicum. I have worked with children since I was 18 years old and was always fascinated on how one could manipulate behaviors. After I spent a few years in grad school and became licensed as an MFT, I went back into the world of ABA (which was always my intention after completing my goal of receiving my masters and MFT license). This is something I have done for 12 years and I was “doing” ABA before I even knew what ABA was. This was something I lived for years and only until I graduated from my masters program and entered the FIT ABA 5 course sequence program was I able to learn the language of the interventions I have been using for years. I absolutely loved learning about the protocols, FAA’s, etc. To me, knowing and understanding what the terms were helped me much more than knowing the “language of ABA.” Fluency and mastery is key as well as conceptualization and application. I’m generally a very introverted person so I often covertly will look at live situations and think about them in my head how ABA would work. That is just how I learn-I cannot “think out loud” or explain terms to people-that was for sure an AO for me (I do not like audiences but am working on this!).

“Now with that background, I spent Oct. 2012 until Jan. 2014 completing the FIT ABA certification classes. Those classes really helped me refine what I already knew but with actual textbooks, definitions, etc. I loved it all. In the meantime, I had just passed my MFT license exams (one in Nov. 2012 and the second in Dec. 2012). I got pregnant with my second child in September of 2013 and prior to that I was diagnosed with post partum depression. My second pregnancy was a very unpleasant and difficult one, but I refused any psychiatric medications. My father in law had a heart attack in Jan of 2014, he had triple bypass surgery, and then 48 hours after his surgery he went into cardiac arrest. He is still currently in a non responsive state. My son was born on May 31st, 2014-the day I scheduled my exam for which I cancelled 4 days prior on his estimated due date when I realized he was not coming on time! That was also the last day I spent studying.

“From June 1st until August 21st. I had absolutely no time to study or prepare for the August exam with a colicky newborn boy, a 2.5 year old active girl, and trying to purchase a new home . But, I told myself that I will go ahead and take the exam without any expectations. If I knew my stuff, then I’ll pass. If I didn’t, then I’ll study harder and try again. Attitude going into the exam is very important to me (I went into the MFT exams with the same attitude: no expectations). This helped tremendously with the test anxiety-I had NO test anxiety. I completed the entire exam in 2 hours, spend the next hour reviewing the 55 marked questions by going through those and unmarking the ones that I felt confident with, which left me with about 20 marked. I went through those 20 and again unmarked those that I felt confident and then I ended up with about 7 that I guessed on. I still had an hour left, so I used 40 minutes going over the entire exam 3 times. I caught a handful that I misread the question and that helped with realizing that reading the question carefully will make a difference on choosing the best answer!

“Test preps I used:

1. BDS Modules-this was NOT for me. I started feeling pressured to get the fluency and mastery so I stopped doing them after 2 weeks in. I learned nothing from them and it just made me more nervous!

2. FIT Guided Review-very helpful in discovering that there are fine discriminations you need to know to help you master the exam!

3. PASS THE BIG ABA EXAM-5 week Remote Workshop-this was helpful on my focus and studying schedule with the chaos that was going on around me. I needed this structure and I needed the impending deadlines each week to keep me motivated on completing my study tasks! I also did the weekend mock exam which really helped me on getting more practice in on reading questions carefully and fluency! The test is timed and as you read, I was able to complete the entire exam in 2 hours and spend almost the entire other 2 hours really looking over ones I was not sure of and rereading a lot of the questions 2, 3, and 4 times.

“I did not crack open any textbooks during this time. I also credit that I have had prior history of test taking in similar environment and setting (I had to do it twice for the MFT licensure!). That prior history really helped me with knowing what to expect at the testing center and how the computers will be set up and so on. It also prepared me for coping with the pressure of timed exams!

“That’s all I have for now. I did everything I could possibly do under the circumstances I had and did my best. And I believed in myself and believed I knew this stuff even if others may not think I knew a lot (since I was not one to overtly show people how much I knew). Now, I can relax and enjoy being a mommy to a BCBAby (term coined by behavior jedi)! I will eventually have a blog up, when I find time. Hopefully soon. I will let you know.

Amy Linsao
Fairfield, CA”

Thank you very much, Amy! Sorry it took so long… but hey I got it done… and guys, look at Amy! She studied hard and then she had to take a break to care for her newborn baby… and still she still got it done! It’s not easy but it can be done! Live, breathe and love ABA!

It took months to finally finishing posting all the great tips from the August 2014 crop… maybe I can build up some momentum?

May the desired consequence be with you!