Monday, September 8, 2014

Preparation Strategies and Tips for the Psychometrician Licensure Exam

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We tweaked this blog post to make it more applicable for those taking the psychometrician licensure exam here in the Philippines. The text  was adapted and quoted from the Preparation Strategies and Tips from the book EPPP fundamentals: review for the examination for professional practice in psychology authored by Walter Penk and Dolores K. Little. The material was provided to us by our friend from the police force or Philippine National Police (PNP).

Preparing for the Board Licensure Examination for Psychologist and Psychometrician (BLEPP) is
the most exciting and a challenging licensure exam to be given for the first this October 2014 for those aspiring to become licensed psychometricians and psychologists. 

Here are some techniques and strategies to consider.

Deliberate Practice Theory

It is not clear that deliberate practice theory, or the 10,000-hour practice rule (the amount of time it takes to become a world class expert), applies as much to psychologists as it does to expert musicians or other scientific thinkers (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993). Taking the board exam requires hard work in order to pass. Research shows that approximately 400 hours is generally sufficient when preparing for an exam but for others it might be doubled or trippled.

Getting Grit

It is also the time for grit, to access within one’s self and to promote one’s grit, defined as the personal characteristics of perseverance and passion for the longterm goal of becoming a psychometrician or psychologist (Duckworth, Kirby, Tsukayama, Berstein, & Ericsson, 2011). Psychology is both a profession and a science and it develops on case studies followed by randomized clinical trials, results from which must be learned and then applied.

Taking the board exam is a time when one stands alone, outside the care and comfort of one’s college, beyond facilities where one was trained to practice. It is an exercise where one has to prove and demonstrate what were learned and be qualified to be called a psychometrician.So it is a time to let go of your anxiety and worries and trust in your studies and abilities.

Test-Taking Strategies

In the PRC's NOA, among the prohibited acts include  "4. Taking out of the examination room any questions used in the examination, copying, and or divulging or making known the nature or content of any examination question or answer to any individual or entity. When you are through with the examination, return unused answer sheets or any other test materials furnished you by the Room Watcher." Whether the said act is applicable only during the exam day is to be clarified. Definitely the Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists does not contain provision regarding the licensure exam, but for psychology graduates they are expected to respect and observe certain ethics like test security, non-disclosure and the like so as to maintain the control and quality of the test.  

Reviewees can access “test-taking strategies videos” on Google or YouTube and relearn previous
skills for answering multiple-choice items like, eliminating wrong answers, solving easy items first, coping with tricky words, coping with “all” or “none” answers, and setting a comfortable pace. And we have posted this before to serve as guide.

Distribute Your Learning

Test-taking strategies require that you constantly improve your skills for learning. Cramming for the EPPP, indeed, will yield some positive results. However, what you learn fast, you forget quickly. Psychology is a marathon, not a walk around the block.

Research by such psychologists as Henry L. Roediger III has demonstrated that we remember more of what we learn when we distribute our learning over time and learn by frequently self-testing ourselves about the content that we are learning (e.g., Roediger & Butler, 2011; 2012 award address at www.psycho 

We must go beyond rereading, summarizing, outlining, and highlighting. Rather, we must also repeatedly test ourselves on the materials we are learning and the results and outcomes from what we practice.This principle, validated now by Roediger and others, is as old as psychology itself, for as William James taught us long ago, in Principles of Psychology, paraphrasing James: it is better to recollect from within than to look at a book again.

Updating observations by James from his time of books and journals to our time of the Internet and Apps, we improve our performance when we increase testing ourselves about the new materials we have just learned (Roediger, 2013). Our mastery of self-testing to improve working memory is just as important for
each one of us to do as it is for us to facilitate performances of others whom we may be training by teaching them to test themselves. Learning is testing (Simonton, 2008; Tsay & Nanaji, 2011). 

And the wisdom about learning required by preparing for the licensure exam is confirmed by recent reviews
about learning techniques that are effective (e.g., Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh,Nathan, & Willingham, 2013). As noted by Roediger (2013), cognitive and educational psychology are demonstrating that learning to test ourselves has been empirically validated as effective for learning, along with other approaches; for
example, distributed practice on tasks (not massed practice), the aforementioned retrieval practice (or testing), interweaved practice (i.e., interweaving topics while learning), elaborative interrogation (i.e., asking why information is true), and self-explanation (i.e., explaining information to one’s self).

Exercise the Body and the Mind

Prior to taking the board exam, one should exercise both body and mind. Taking the exam is likely to be improved when you yourself have mastered relaxation and meditation, when you yourself are exercising and practicing positive nutrition. Such mastery of mind and body is essential, because psychology is a field that
confronts and copes with stress. 

Psychology is a discipline in which clinicians vicariously experience stress and trauma when providing services for clients who have been stressed and traumatized. Exercise and meditation not only facilitate organization in coping with personal feelings, emotions, and thoughts, but likewise improve relationships with others. As a consequence, when preparing for the board exam, make effort to improve performance by balancing reading and reviewing with exercising and meditation. Preparing for the board exam is a matter of organizing one’s life around the age old principle of balancing time to create a sound body and sound mind. One should confront the exam well rested and relaxed.

(Interested in meditation check this site - )

Reading Books and Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Internet Age

NO harm in reading journals to reinforce knowledge. And it should become a habit after passing the licensure exam to keep abreast with new developments in the field of Psychological Assessment. Maximize the internet for online resources both for text, videos and other multimedia resources (slides, ppt, audio recordings, etc).

Learning With Peers and Others

It is important that you form social groups, not just of supervisors but also peers, from whom to learn, not just facts, but categories of principles to practice. Training and having work experience related to the exam will be useful. Still there are professionals whom you can interact with and get coaching and mentoring. It will be ideal to form groups  of other examinees to study together; to develop tests taking abilities;  to improve
working memory; and to practice transferring principles of psychology from one kind of discipline to another and from one person to another. Peers are necessary to  corroborate acquired information and learning, as well as feedback from others. 

So let us all learn together through our FB page and this blog.

Persevere Until You Pass

A useful test-taking strategy, that you can accomplish at the outset, is agree to keep taking the licensure exam until you pass, the law is silent about the number of times you can take the exam. That means, from the beginning, that you plan for the worst possible outcome—not passing (although the statistics are definitely in your favor for passing the first time). You prepare by learning at the outset what you will do if you do not pass. From the beginning, you create your own personal support services from peers and supervisors. You obtain all the feedback you are able to amass. You constantly test with peers, supervisors, and clients the new skills you are learning.

Your main test-taking strategy is that you will persevere until you pass.

May the odds be ever in your favor.... May the source be with you... Kita-kits sa Oath Taking!


Klee, Anne S.
EPPP fundamentals : review for the examination for professional practice in psychology /
Anne S. Klee & Bret A. Moore. Springer, 2014.

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