Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Books to Read for BLEPP (Psychometrician Board Exam)

by Ms. Merillie Alberto

I’ve been asked a lot of times how did I do it (topnotching the Psychometrician Board Exam in 2016, ranked 8th). I mean I don’t know how to answer. If you’re asking me for a simple straight to the point summarized answer, I would give you 1) good study habits 2) love for Psychology. Since I’ve been asked for tips and tricks in studying, I decided to make this sort of guide for those who want to take the exam. The way I studied, I had a priority book for every subject and a “support”. I also used the handouts provided by the review center as support too. BLEPP 2017 is going to be in October 29-30 next year which means a longer and more than enough time for preparation compared to us, we took it in August 30-31, 2016 so use your time wisely! And make sure to make the decision of taking the exam in the first 2 to 3 months of 2017 and be really sure about it. The earlier you decide you’ll take it, the earlier you’ll be able to ready yourself for the exam. We don’t want to rush things, do we?

Let me share the recommended books to be read and the books I’ve read. I provided some of my insights about them and how I used them too. (This is your warning that this post is long.)


· Theories of Personality by Feist and Feist


This is the recommended book by our lecturers in the review center. They say the board who creates our exams uses this book. This book looks complete and it will give you in depth discussions of the theories. I personally enjoyed reading this because it doesn’t throw all technical on you. It’s like reading a novel and it explains very well by talking to you. TOP is one of the hardest subjects because there are so many theories so cover to cover reading is a must and if you’re planning on doing it, do it on this book. If you still don’t have a copy, try to get one now as this book is quite thick and you should start reading early if you want to finish this. But as I remember, there are some theorists that are not in here so you still need other sources.

How did I use it? Color-coded highlighting (which I did for almost all of my sources). Orange for concepts, yellow for definitions, green for positive aspects of the theory and pink for negative, I used blue or green if it’s research results and related studies. Also, I took notes but I didn’t make notes for everything. I made notes for the terms I never heard. Did I do cover-to-cover of this? Almost. Wasn’t able to finish the last part, the cognitive behavioral people but I scanned through that area.
· Personality: An Introduction by Burger

This was our book in undergrad so I’m pretty familiar with its contents. This is not a priority read but this could help. This is not as complete as Feist and Feist but this has pretty good content too. I recommend reading this before reading the book by Feist and Feist. This will serve as a good boost before you dive right into the concepts in depth. Why do I recommend this? This book has another way of explaining things. The board exam questions are going to be tough. They might use complicated or simple words so you need to understand the concepts in the way that you can explain them on your own. I personally used this book as a support for Feist and Feist and I enjoyed reading it too.

Did I take notes too? Yes, I did. The same way I did with Feist. Cover-to-cover? Yes. I finished this book since this is one of the first I started reading (May-June I guess?).


· Abnormal Psychology by Barlow and Durand

If you’re looking for a book that will be a priority, I would recommend this but I didn’t finish this cover to cover so as my friends. I focused more on the part that explains the disorder from a theory’s perspective. A pretty good background in TOP will be an advantage for Ab Psych since a lump of questions (during our time) relate directly to TOP and it might be like this again. The knowledge required to conquer the board exam is to know the theories in depth, not only the concepts but the application of it. Say, a man has depression, how do you explain it using Freudian view? If Adlerian? How about the Cognitive-Behavioral Perspective? This book could help you in that aspect.

· Abnormal Psychology by Ann Kring

This is a support. I just scanned thru this so I can’t say much but this book is good too.

· Abnormal Psychology by Whitbourne and Halgin
The reason I have this book is because this was what we used in undergrad and the edition I have uses the DSM-IV TR. This is also the only book that I have a physical copy and I prefer physical copies when studying. I just scanned through it. I used this to get the general description of the disorders and yeah, another support.
There’s a unique way I used this book. If you’re familiar with how academic books look and made, that will be an advantage. I started taking Ab Psych seriously only a month before our actual board exam so you can sense some panic there. I made notes out of the key terms from each chapter. To make it easier, I took the definition of the key terms from glossary rather than scanning them on the chapter pages which takes a lot of time (but this method gives a better definition and some good explanations). I am actually thinking of sharing that reviewer to you guys. Let’s see if I will. :D


· Industrial Psychology by Aamodt


The BOP(Board of Psychology) has been using this book since the first batch(as ates and kuyas said) and I don’t think they intend on using other books as the main source of their board exam questions. Read on this and as they say, “Buhay ka na sa I/O!”

They say this is the easiest subject and I agree (but you don’t have too, we are all different after all). According to one lecturer, it is the easiest because this is an applied subject, meaning most of the concepts of I/O root from TOP, Ab Psych and Psychological Testing. If you’ll notice, the four subjects overlap and concepts appear and reappear once you start studying in different books of different subjects. Read this cover-to-cover and I bet you’ll survive I/O.

Did I read this cover-to-cover this? Yes. It’s just a must.

· Psychological Testing and Assessment by Cohen and Swerdlik


If you’re looking for a book in Assessment that is almost complete, this is it. But beware because this book is really technical. This is the only book that I have to read twice before I fully grasp what is being discussed but it will really feed you with everything that you think you will need to conquer the most difficult subject of the board exam.

I didn’t do cover-to-cover of this book because of time restriction but I read up to the 4th or 5th chapter. I can’t be sure since my book is already borrowed. After doing those chapters, I did the same thing with what I did with my Whitbourne and Halgin book. One friend was able to finish this by just reading the terms that are bold typefaced. Use this whatever way you want, just use it.
· Psychological Assessment by Kaplan and Sacuzzo


I’ve put priority read too because if you want to understand Psychological Assessment but had difficulty understanding Cohen and Swerdlik, this will work for you. This is an easier read, it has a way of explaining things without making it sound too complicated. I’d recommend reading this first before jumping to Cohen and Swerdlik if you have time. In my case, I scanned through this. I made notes too but not as extensive as I did with the Cohen and Swerdlik book.

But wait, how do I deal with Statistics? Statistics!!!!

Know about the concepts and different statistical tools and you’ll be fine. Know the difference between parametric, non-parametric, the statistical tools to be used if the data is nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio. And know if it’s for difference, correlation and the likes. Statistics is crucial to survive Psychological Assessment! For this, I made notes from the summaries of Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences by Gravetter and Wallnau and the handouts provided by the review center.

And how do I deal with Ethics?

I relied on my review center notes, handouts and drills for this. To answer board exam question about Ethics, you need the basic knowledge of our profession’s Code of Ethics, common sense, a sound judgment and your conscience. Combine those to approach the situational questions and I bet you’ll be good. Be really careful as the choices for questions about Ethics look like all of them are acceptable, good and proper. Go for the one and only best answer among them. My review center really helped in enhancing our skills in this area. (RGO Review Center)

I guess this has given you a clue on how to start reviewing for the board exam. You don’t have to follow the tedious way I studied. Find what works for you and what doesn’t and pick it up from there. Plan, make your own study strategy and it doesn’t have to follow everybody else’s. Study the way you want to.

I hope this helps. Good luck and God bless on your journey, future RPm!

If you have questions and topic suggestions, put it in the comments. Thank you!

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