Tag Archives: BDS

BCBA Study Tips LXIX

The far-famed Georgetown loop of the Colorado ...
The far-famed Georgetown loop of the Colorado Central Railroad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lori Fry-Larson of CO

“I was not successful with BDS. The PASS THE BIG ABA manual, going through each task and writing notes with examples, safemeds, and the FIT mock exams.”

See not everything works for you… everyone studies differently and you need to adjust. Lori did just that. She worked hard and found what worked for her.

There are many other tips posted here (search BCBA, how to)… check them out and see which of our friends’ tips works for you!

May the desired consequence be with you!

***Boo-boo Update***

Here is Lori:

“I currently live in Indiana. I plan to continue my work as an Autism Consultant for a school district, and build my private clientele on the side.”


Petra Serafini of New York

“I purchased the BDS modules as my attempt to start studying. I worked on them for about 2-3 hours on week nights and maybe about 4-5 hours on the weekends. In addition to that I also read some of the Cooper chapters, especially one’s I did poorly on in BDS pre tests. About a week before the test I went through SAFMEDS and also went back through the modules and reviewed any that took 4 or more tries to reach the criterion. But most of all, I am just thankful for FIT, I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do it without having that as my foundation!”

“My future plans? Well about a month ago I accepted a position at a hospital as the first ABA person (they were willing to hire me before receiving my certification). I am currently working on revamping their programs on the units (especially with the little ones) to make them run more smoothly. I started doing basis ABA training for staff and just being present to provide behavioral supports. The hospital uses a lot of restraints and seclusions for behavior management and I am int he process of changing that!

BCBA Study Tips LXVI

Cristina Garganta Carlson of AZ


“I don’t really have any tips for the exam. I studied… A LOT! I did 1:1 FIT, FIT mock review, Pass the BCBA, Modules, Cooper, Flashcards. I think the tutoring and doing face to face study groups helped me the most because I could ask questions. I really think that it comes down to where you took you classes… 100%”


Another Arizona BCBA! Yes Cristina used some exam preps as her MEANS to get to her ENDS… well goal sounds better… to become an amazing BCBA!


There is no easy way! Study! Study! Study! Ask questions, questions, questions!

The reward in this case, it’s a reinforcer, and ain’t it sweet?

Thank,s Cristina!!!


BCBA Study Tips LXII

English: Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA Français...
English: Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA Français : Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terri Wright of AZ

This is THE kitchen sink version of the BCBA study tips for the February of 2014 group!

Thank you all for sharing your tips and I apologize for being such a late, lousy poster!

Enjoy Terri’s treat!


  • I started studying Safmeds 8 months before my exam date and studied them daily for a couple of months. After that I periodically reviewed them until the text date (maybe 1x monthly). I did not create my own flashcards; rather I used a link provided by my supervisor.


  • I started the BDS modules 6 months before the exam.

  • Initially I just started going through each module to mastery but I quickly realized that I was just memorizing answers which wasn’t going to work, so just prior to each new content area in the modules, I outlined each Cooper chapter related to that particular content area and then took the online Cooper quizzes (tracked the results for each chapter on a data sheet). AFTER taking the quizzes, I completed the related modules to 100% for that content area. Then I moved onto the next content area and repeated. Doing it this way, it took me 3 months to complete the modules. I completed all modules to 100%.

COOPER (again)

  • Once I finished the BDS modules, I re-read/studied all Cooper chapters where I had performed with less than 80% on the online quizzes. Then I took the quizzes again for these chapters. There were a handful of chapters where I was still scoring below 80% and a couple where I was scoring in the 60s. Ugh!


  • Next, I purchased The New BCBA & BcaBA Exam Preparation from Amazon. It is important to know that this is NOT a study guide.It simply has two tests with answers provided in the back. Correct answers are provided, but they are NOT explained anywhere. I took the pretest, checked my answers (with answer key in the back) and did horrible.

  • This is when I started to get very nervous about the test. Prior to this practice exam I thought I knew the content. In fact, I became so nervous that I changed my test administration date to the end of the month from the original scheduled appointment at the beginning of the month. Time to take control & conquer! I divided two, 5-subject notebooks into sections by task list; with the 10 content areas becoming the titles for each “subject” in the notebooks. I went through each question from The New BCBA Exam Prep practice test (whether I got it correct or incorrect) and made sure I knew why the correct answer was indeed the correct answer. (It is important to know that there are some incorrect answers in the key; which I found during this process). If I was not completely clear on a topic or knew that I would want to review it again, I wrote it into my notebook with notes and comments under the corresponding subject heading. Then I took the 2ndtest in the book, did equally poorly, and repeated the review of questions and writing notes in my notebook like I did for the first test.

  • Using this practice test was a critical point as it made me aware that there were a few topics I had not addressed at all in my studies; such as precision teaching and direct instruction. Had I not used this practice test I am CONVINCED I would have missed related questions on the exam.


COOPER (Yes, again!)

  • I went back through my lower-performing Cooper quizzes, studied each question (correct or incorrect) and added notes into my notebook per content area as needed.

  • Then I put the Cooper book away and have not touched it since.


  • For concepts that were still fuzzy, I studied them using this text; again adding notes as needed to my notebooks.


  • I read the entire Bailey & Burch Ethics books. I didn’t study anything specific from the book; just read it from cover to cover.

  • Memorized all IOA formulas and made up tons of data to practice all of these formulas.

  • Studied Standard Celeration Charts using a document that I found online (see attachment) [Jedi note: email me for this]


  1. Develop a study schedule, know that you will not be able to stick to it exactly, and revise frequently.

  2. While working on BDS modules, I studied them almost daily. Once I completed the modules; most of my studying was done on the weekends; with very little studying after work during the week. I was worn out and simply could NOT study after work so I made up for it on the weekends instead.

  1. With all that weekend studying, plan on snoozing some. I often fell asleep while reading the Cooper text, and my husband referred to those days as “sleep studying.” It was a given that it would happen, so I just planned accordingly.

  2. Take the practice quizzes on the Cooper website, but make sure you explore why EACH question was correct; not just the ones you missed.

  3. Join a study group on facebook. I joined “Students of Applied Behavior Analysis

  4. Check out the blog for Behavior Jedi [FB page and website].  LOTS of useful study tips here.
  5. Conduct a VB-Mapp during your supervision if possible. I did this and it clarified verbal behavior on an entirely different level and, as such, I did not have to spend much study time on this area.


This wraps up the February edition of BCBA study tips! I will work on the May edition.

May the desired consequence be with you!

BCBA Study Tips LXI

English: Coat of arms of the Philippines
English: Coat of arms of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here comes another overseas BCBA, Kathryn Millano-Mendoza!

“Hello everyone. I passed the February 2014 BCBA exam; first time to take it. I have Masters in Education with specialization in Child Study, undergraduate Psychology.

“[I] took FIT online course then another year for my supervised work. Purchased BDS module and had an intensive 2 months review (4 hours reading the CHH, journals and other related books –Ethics BB, old FIT study guidelines, online CHH then another 4 hours of answering BDS) when necessary I went back and watch old FIT videos. It actually helped me a lot and enjoyed watching Jose again

“As I work and make reports and speak with my co-workers i made sure I used the terms I read and shared it with them.
I ended my review with positive results from BDS Modules. Evenings are fun night and made sure my weekends are my off days from review. I ate cereals, apples, chocolates when reviewing under a tree (quiet green place) or in my office with less distraction. Kept positive thoughts and prayed really hard!

“I live in the Philippines, you can imagine how limited my resources are but… I did it! I’m now the first (last time I checked, haha not bragging here, just sooo happy!!!) Filipino based in the Philippines who took the courage to take formal study, training and passed the BCBA exam. Glad to serve Filipino families and other aspiring professionals.

“I especially thank FIT and their excellent mentors and my supervisors.

“For those who didn’t pass… take it one step at a time (like the song of Jordin Sparks) you’ll get there!”

Her website: piecesaba.com

Congratulations on your achievements, Kathryn!!!

BCBA Study Tips LVII

Katy Palmer of VA

Location of state of XY (see filename) in the ...

“I did the Bds modules. They really really teach you how to attend to a question and to find the “tricks” in questions. I did the cooper online quizzes, ppts and printed and completed all the cooper guided notes. I did not study at all the final week before the exam. I read each question on the exam twice before even attempting to answer”

Read TWICE! Read Twice! Great idea! Thanks, Katie!!!



Map of Three Mile River (Massachusetts) and en...
Map of Three Mile River (Massachusetts) and environs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kathleen Brundige Dorn


“BDS modules to 100% (although I did not do awesome on the post tests.)

“[I] used quizlet a bit for vocabulary and I revisited the schedules of reinforcement in Cooper (lots of questions).

“I had a great mentor and study partner.”

Thanks for sharing, Kathleen!



BCBA Study Tips LV

Map of California showing the primary cities a...

Lisa Taylor of CA

“I used BDS, cooper like 3 times reading, memorize concepts in glossary, cooper quizzes online, just over and over everything. Intense studying all the time. MS in ABA helped the most”

Cooper quiz rocks I heard! And MS ABA makes a difference I heard (my podcast… look it up on itunes or here) I will update the link… some day…

BCBA Study Tips LIV

texas our texas
texas our texas (Photo credit: jmtimages)

I am not done with the February post yet but I have to rush the May tips out… there’s a method to my madness… so bear with me, but definitely worth it!

Cissy Harland Carter

“I did my coursework through FIT. I purchased the study guide (handbook) for each course. I would review each of my unit tests for things I missed and then review the handbook. I talked with others all the time trying to use the terminology and concepts. I analyzed daily activities for a behavioral explanation. I did the BDS modules to 100% and then reviewed each module that took me 4 or more tries to get to 100%. Many instructors on FIT had supplemental materials – I accessed many of those to help with my studies.

“I work in the public schools in Texas. I have 30 years in the field. I started out as a speech therapist. I coordinate autism programming for my district. My future plans are to do my best to make programming great for the students into district. I plan to be a lifelong learner – and hopefully lifelong teacher.”

FIT and BDS? SLP and BCBA? Thank you for sharing your tips with us, Cissy! Shout out and congrats to you!!!