Studying for the NBCOT® Exam can be a long and arduous process for anyone. Whether it’s your first time going through the motions of reviewing content or your third time taking the exam, the journey is long and, at its worst, grueling. Finding the motivation to stay on task can be incredibly difficult during the lulls of the process, however, with the right tools, getting yourself out of the rabbit hole of negativity can be much easier than you think. Below are seven tips to help you when times get tough.

#1 – Create a vision board of things that can serve as reminders as to why you decided to become an occupational therapist. We all have unique stories as to how we chose Occupational Therapy for our careers. Creating a vision board or writing down a tangible goal that you want to achieve once you obtain your license and posting it in a place where you can see it every day could be a great reminder of why you are taking the exam. Embrace and appreciate your reason and use it to get you through the low points of studying for the NBCOT Exam®.

#2 – Take a break. Yup, you read that right. Sometimes, the fastest way to regain traction and to clear your head is by not doing so. Give yourself an hour, a day, or a couple of weeks. If you have a big event coming up, such as a wedding or a vacation, regain your study plan afterwards. The test will always be there. Studying when your brain is not really focused is just wasting time.

#3 – Learn material without feeling like you are studying. It can be great to use tools like audio recordings where you can actually be learning valuable information without feeling like you are reading from a book or going through countless flashcards. The best way to use audio recordings would be while driving, exercising, or even taking a stroll in the park.

#4 – Utilize your support system. Not only are they there to give advice or be a shoulder to lean on when you’re drained, they’re also there to ideally tell you how far you have come and will go once you get over this hurdle, amongst other things. Clue them in on your study plan so they can hold you accountable or ask them to send you motivating reminders to stay on task.

#5 – Find that song that keeps you energized. Walk-up songs in sports are walk-up songs for a reason; to motivate the players to perform their best. While you may not have big league baseball aspirations, the concept can still apply to your studying. Think of a song that gets you ready to work and put it on when you’re feeling burnt out from the study process.

#6 – Meditate. Calming your brain down and thinking positively can bring clarity and focus to your studying. You can download the app headspace or go to to learn this skill as well as get access to many free meditations. Pass the OT also has a wonderful meditation called “Meditation for Higher Scores” that many students have found really useful

#6 – Break larger tasks up into smaller, manageable ones- You’ve probably heard this tidbit of advice countless times, but it truly works, especially when using a check off to do list. It’s easier to battle through another subject or quiz when you can see how much you have accomplished over the course of a study session so far.

#7 – Avoid repeating the same mistakes and habits that didn’t work for you before –
Repeating the same study habits and study prep methods after failing the NBCOT® exam and hoping that you will get a better outcome is a mistake that many students make. If your method didn’t work, change your method – study the material differently, invest in a tutor, or partner with someone to study with. Don’t find yourself in the same boat as many other students, taking the exam three, four or up to thirteen times.

Studying for the NBCOT Exam is a stressful time for virtually everyone that goes through it. At times, quitting seems easier than battling through the low points, however, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in the process and that with the right strategies, staying motivated isn’t as difficult as it sounds. No matter if you’re a seasoned study pro preparing to take the exam for the third time, or new to the ride, you can do this, just keep this checklist handy for when times get tough, and you need reminders that the battle you’re fighting is worth it. As cliche as it sounds, you will succeed if you want it bad enough.

About Pass the OT:

Pass the OT is the most efficient, effective study prep for the NBCOT® exam. The program consists of a comprehensive web course, complete with 1600 up-to-date practice questions, 18 hours of audio recordings, videos on topic matter, as well as timed and untimed practice quizzes. Additionally, Pass the OT has personal tutoring via skype and phone with licensed, seasoned therapists. is not endorsed or affiliated with The National Board For Certification in Occupational Therapy, NBCOT®. NBCOT® is a registered trademark owned by The National Board For Certification in Occupational Therapy. Pass the OT LLC is independently owned and operated.”