Tag Archives: Cooper


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 LXV




Colleen Coleman of Indiana


“I did pass the big exam remote 5 week class, I read cooper a bunch of times did the online quizzes, I also had a one on one tutor through FIT for 3 sessions and I did the guided review from FIT.


“I graduated from ball state university with a masters in aba I have my bachelors in speech I’d love to work at an autism center again there is just a lot of support there! For all the future bcbas/bcbas when taking the test read the question two times and focus on what they’re asking you! It’s definitely tricky when I walked out I had no idea what to expect thank goodness it was some good results! Keep studying!”

Well, Colleen, you are not the only one who thought that way when you walked out. It was totally a “bleh!” moment for me… totally Sr- (shhhh!)

Thanks for sharing your tips, Colleen! But wait! There’s more from Colleen soon! Stay tuned!

BCBA Study Tips LXIV

Stephanie Ciaravolo Chicago, IL,  FIT student, first time taker, in the field 4 years. She said she saw me at ABAI, but I was talking to Jose.. sorry, Stephanie! Please don’t tease me…

Here is her study tips:

“I did more of a review of my courses at FIT. I took the test a few weeks after I finished my courses. I did the FIT guided review and followed up with three hours of one on one tutoring and finally studying with a partner and group helped. Thanks for all the support!”

Future plans?

“BCBA for a company/open my own agency”

Thanks, Stephanie! Long due congratulations!

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 LX

The skyline of the Sydney central business dis...
The skyline of the Sydney central business district in Australia. Sydney is the most populous city in Oceania and is Oceania’s only Alpha World City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Great Tips from Down Under

Alexandra Brown of Australia, a Sage girl

” [I] did a great masters course (Sage) then reviewed Cooper Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd Edition)using guided reviews and quizzes on pren hall, own safmeds, and FIT mock. I only studied on weekends for 6-8 weeks beforehand. But have worked in the field since 1999 so that helps too. Thanks for the group!

“I run a small early intervention clinic in Sydney Australia. My main role s the development and supervision of intensive programs based on the principles of ABA (I hate saying we ‘ABA programs’-as people assume it’s all rote learned drilling). As a psychologist I also provide anxiety sessions, diagnostic assessments and other psychometric assessments. The concept of a ‘BCBA’ not widely understood yet in Australia. However I am on the board of the newly founded Association for Behaviour Analysis, Australia, so we a hoping that will change over the next decade.

And for those of you who are interested in Sage Colleges’ online ABA master’s program. Please visit here and my podcast… where I interviewed Dr. Dana Reinecke.

May the desired consequence be with you!

BCBA Study Tips LIX

The Skyline of Downtown San Diego, California,...
The Skyline of Downtown San Diego, California, US, during daytime. Seen from Coronado Island, in November 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lauren Emison of CA

“Passthebigabaexam.com … This was my 2nd attempt. I would have passed first go around if I gave myself more study time. I only studied a month (many hours) but it just wasn’t enough time and I missed passing by 3 points! But the 5 week course I took with that program was phenomenol bc u get manual and videos. So then the next 2 months I had to study I watched videos and read manual over and over and started to really understand concepts and reading it concurrently with cooper. I made my own study guide based off of their manual while going through videos so I was writing then I used those notes to study and go through videos and just really made sure I understood everything. Then weekend before my test I took the weekend intensive …. It was a perfect last minute review but you have to be really ready for the test before u take that because it’s a TON of Info in a weekend. Put in the time to study and really understand concepts/definitions and how to apply them. Best of luck! I will use their manual forever!

“A lot of practice tests too which I would answer and then research answers for any I got wrong. U can do it! Put in the study time!

 “My second go around I actually felt like I understood and could apply things my first attempt I felt like I didn’t have a deep understanding but had simply memorized then I failed. Now I am a BCBA feels great. U can do it
“I started my career doing in home aba for ACES. I was concurrently obtaining my masters in school psychology while taking ABA courses through F.I.T online program (which I loved). I currently work full time for San Diego unified school district as a school psychologist. My second job is Still doing ABA in home services with ACES,inc. my goal is to bring ABA principles into the schools and move away from the current understanding of ABA as just “discrete trial”. I also have interest in doing parent training and teaching BCBA courses/Supervision.”


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!