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How to Prepare for the EPPP

How to Prepare for the EPPP

The Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) was developed by the ASPPB to assist in the evaluation of applicants in granting licensing and certification. The EPPP is a multiple-choice test consisting of 225 questions, 175 which are scored, and 50 of which are unscored, pre-test questions. To help reduce your anxiety about the EPPP, we share the most helpful and proven preparation tips. Good luck!

Master the Content

Content Mastery. This means knowing the content so well that you would be capable of explaining it to someone else. More specifically, you should be able to take any one of the books for the highly weighted domains, pick a random concept out of it, and be capable of teaching it without any notes.

Many people think that content mastery simply means being able to answer questions correctly on practice tests. However, since the questions on the EPPP are not the same questions you’ll encounter in our exam prep program, getting the right answer on practice tests is only of value if you actually understand the concepts behind the questions.

As mentioned previously, a good rule-of-thumb for assessing mastery is to ask yourself, “Would I be able to pick any concept, at random, and then teach it to someone without any notes?” If the answer is no, then you haven’t achieved content mastery, even if you happen to get isolated questions about a concept correct.

Of course, no candidate can be prepared for everything on the exam. There will inevitably be an odd question that catches you off guard about material you haven’t studied for. However, candidates who have achieved content mastery in the highly weighted domains will be able to get enough right answers to buffer themselves against the impact of these oddball questions. Content mastery also helps you develop conceptual schemas that will assist in being able to guess the correct answer on questions that catch you off guard.

Understand the Question Section:

The EPPP tests candidates through Multiple-Choice Questions or MCQs. The benefit for you is that the answers are right there in front of you in one of the four answer choices! Your task is to select the correct answer choice by having a thorough understanding of the EPPP content and by being a critically thinking and practiced test-taker.

Here are some proven strategies that can help you become a better EPPP test-taker and improve your ability to determine the right answers. If you can train and discipline yourself to strategically approach MCQs, you can significantly improve your chances of performing well on your EPPP.

Anatomy of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs): EPPP MCQs are looking to assess your test-taking strengths and your knowledge base. Some questions may simply test for recall of factual knowledge, but the majority will test your understanding and comprehension of the content, as well as your ability to apply this knowledge.

MCQs include two parts: a "stem," which presents the question/problem/statement, and, the answer options (the correct answer is the "key," and the incorrect answers are "distractors").

MCQs require you to select the best answer, not just the correct one, nor the one that must be true all of the time/without exception.

Higher-Order Thinking: The EPPP requires you to be a critical thinker, using your logic, reasoning, and deductive skills. You will be required to conceptualize, analyze, synthesize, and apply the information presented to you. Critically thinking your way through the EPPP will assist you with determining whether an answer choice is correct, incorrect, sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect, or partly correct and partly incorrect.

The following are some higher-order thinking steps you can implement to organize your thought processes:

  • Make sure you keep an open mind while carefully and thoroughly reading each question and answer choice
  • Clearly and precisely formulate the questions/problems, and accurately assess the relevant information
  • Recognize unstated assumptions within a test question
  • Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations
  • Test your well-reasoned conclusions and solutions against relevant criteria and standards
  • Remember that a correct distractor does not necessarily make it the "best answer" to the question; the best answer must connect with the stem

Properly Reading EPPP MCQs: Faulty reading and comprehension of questions and answer choices results in misunderstanding/misinterpretation the information and in wasted time. Properly reading the EPPP’s MCQs will help your thinking and reasoning process, and assist with identifying the slight differences between the answer choices, allowing you to deduce the necessary reasons why one answer choice is better than the others. Here are some steps for properly approaching and thoroughly reading the questions and answers:

  • Cover the answers while reading the question
  • Try to read the question thoroughly the first time, such that you don't have to re-read it a second or third time unnecessarily
  • Identify the Domain and Key Term being questioned
  • TAK: Ask yourself: What is the question Telling me, Asking me, and, what do I Know about what is being asked of me
  • Try to and voice to yourself what the question is saying, then try to answer the question for yourself before uncovering the answers
  • Read all the answer options and find the one that’s closest to the one in your head
  • Identify the main points within the question, and avoid being distracted by extraneous information
  • Identify key words in the question and answer choices, as one word can significantly change the meaning
  • Accurately focus on the question and avoid careless mistakes by making a mental note of critical words in the stem: except, generally, rarely, only, necessary, sometimes, not
  • You can combine and read the stem with each answer choice as though together they were either a true or false statement
  • Make sure you read all of your answer choices before you select your answer; even if you think you’ve found the correct answer it may not be the "best answer"
  • Make sure your considered answer choice completely and correctly answers the question, as it may just be partly correct
  • Don’t skip around the test, answer the questions in the order they come
  • As you read your answer choices eliminate those choices you clearly know to be incorrect, as this reduces the number of answer choices and increases your odds of a correct selection: eliminating wrong answers: none = 1 in 4 odds =25%, eliminate 1 = 1 in 3 odds =33%, eliminate 2 = 1 in 2 odds =50%
  • Don’t dismiss an answer choice just because it appears too easy/obvious… it may mean that you’ve prepared well!

Take Practice Exams

Testing actually improves learning, versus just studying alone, and increases the likelihood you’ll remember the content later. This is due to the "Mediator Effectiveness Hypothesis," which supports the finding that testing is good for learning and memory. Through testing, we generate more effective mediators (mental hints, key words: information linking cues to targets) during the testing process. Incorporating this study-test practice will result in you creating helpful mediators that will help you construct the information for memory and assist you with retrieving the needed information during your EPPP!

Practice Self-Care Section:

In preparing for your EPPP, you will be required to dedicate a significant amount of time and prioritize your study needs in order to give yourself every opportunity to pass. During this preparation, it’s a great opportunity to look to build in a few new habits that could have lasting effects. For example, you may not be the exercising type, but maybe you choose to take a half-hour walk every day in between study sessions; or listen to exam prep audio while you try out a treadmill or stationary bike for 15 minutes/day.

These small, manageable habits, when paired with your overall study process, can lead to new, needed disciplines being practiced and incorporated in your life. Why not think about something you’ve wanted to add or change in your life, and consider starting it during your EPPP preparation! Your study process can serendipitously have lasting, positive effects well beyond being licensed! In general, be nice to yourself, and work to make the most of this time of preparation! Try to enjoy it. It is possible.

Best of luck, candidate. Please know the Taylor Study Method Team is here to help you prepare when you're ready to take the next step into preparation.

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