posted in: BCBA, How-To | 2



Reliefmap of Australia
Reliefmap of Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The May 2015 results are up! I hope all is well.

And this reminds me that I should really, really, start posting the tips I hoarded over the past few crops…

I will post as fast as I can…

Here is one, from Dianne, a close friend of mine…

Great stuff, no editing needed…


“Many people have already given tips on how to study or how to prepare for the exam, so I am not going to re-hash that information. I am not going to tell you to read Cooper, I am not going to tell you to BDS modules.


“I didn’t actually study for the exam. The day before the test I reviewed some notes and that is all. I have not read Cooper front to back, and I have not done any prep modules at all. I took the BCaBA exam, and passed, I then took the BCBA exam a few months later and I passed.


“I am very fortunate that I have been in this field for a long time, over 15 years without having taken a single course or class in ABA. I fell into this field as my background is in physical education, curriculum development and physiotherapy. I stumbled into ABA and I fell in love with it. My life is Behaviour Analysis. In Australia there is no requirement to be a BCBA or BCaBA to deliver services, sadly anyone can call himself or herself a behaviour analyst, behaviour therapist or ABA therapist. Hopefully with our new Association for Behaviour Analysis here, we will be able to make a difference.


“To be able to take the exam as I did a Masters degree in Linguistics, I took the Florida Tech classes and they were fantastic.


In my humble opinion, the best preparation for the exam and more importantly becoming a good and well-rounded therapist, interventionist and Behaviour Analyst and then specialist are the people you learn from and surround yourself with.


“So here I am going to give you some tips on what to look for in mentors, supervisors and people that you learn from. These are totally arbitrary and I made them up!


  1. People have strengths in different areas. Have more than one supervisor.
  2. If you have an area of interest find a supervisor who specialises in this area. For me this was RFT, so I found a supervisor who was experienced in that area.
  3. Your supervisor should take baseline data on your skills, give specific feedback, evaluate you again and take data.
  4. Interview your supervisor, they are crucial in developing your skill set.
  5. I know for many people cost is a big factor, but keep in mind that often you get what you pay for.
  6. When I first learned about BA, I was on a ton of mailing lists, lurking. I learned so much from people posting questions. I tried to think of what my answer would be and then read others’ responses. If there was a term I didn’t know or understand I’d look it up.
  7. I cannot stress enough, have more than one supervisor. Someone who specializes in
    1. Discrete Trial Training
    2. Natural Environment Training
    3. PECS or other AAC
    4. Relational Frame Theory (RFT)
    5. Verbal Behaviour
    6. Conducting Functional Analyses and reducing problem behaviour
    7. Organisational Behaviour Management (specifically for BCBAs)
    8. Ethics
    9. Research and data taking
    10. I am sure there are more areas!


“Some sample questions to ask a potential supervisor (I will tailor the questions specifically for people who are looking to gain experience in working with children with special needs)


  1. How long have you been in the field? How long have you been a BCBA?
  2. Why are you in this field? What do you like/love about it?
  3. Which companies have you worked for?
  4. Who was your mentor/supervisor and what have you learned from him/her?
  5. How many people have you supervised?
  6. What is the pass rate for the people that you have supervised?
  7. What are your specific interests?
  8. How many children have you worked with directly and written programs for?
  9. What would you consider your strengths and are there areas you consider yourself weak in?
  10. Do you have a current mentor that could supervise me in the areas that you feel that you are weaker in?
  11. What are your expectations of me as a supervisee?
  12. What is the process of supervision? (This should typically involve base line data, video or observation of direct skills, initially it should also involve behavioural skills training and geared specifically to meet the task list)
  13. Do you use a specific curriculum to train me? If not, how do you set goals and targets for my development?
  14. Can you provide assistance with test preparation and provide mock exams?
  15. How much is your hourly rate and what is included? Can you send me a copy of your supervision agreement for me to have a look at?
  16. Is there anything that I haven’t mentioned that you can offer me?


“Lastly, this field is evolving and passing the exam is just the start, it is a minimum requirement. Don’t be a mediocre Behaviour Analyst, strive to be the best you can be. This includes continuing to learn from peers, people who know more. You can make the world a better place by changing one behaviour at a time but only if you try everything in your power to be the best behaviour analyst you can be.


“I also want to thank my mentors that have guided, helped me and taught me over the years as I wouldn’t be here without them.







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