The NBCOT® exam strikes fear in the hearts of occupational therapy students everywhere, and for good reason. The exam has developed a well-earned reputation for being extremely hard to pass. Why is it so tough, and what can test takers do to boost their chances for success? Let’s unpack these issues.

Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a very real thing, as anyone who has ever taken the SAT or ACT can attest. Knowing how much is on the line, feeling unprepared, and simple self-doubt can cause you to build the test up more and more in your mind until it feels completely overwhelming. Couple these feelings with the NBCOT exam’s reputation for extreme difficulty, and it is easy to see how test anxiety can actually tank your score.

Solution: Preparation is the key to managing test anxiety. Running through practice material over and over again, under conditions that simulate the actual testing conditions, can boost your confidence. When you enter the testing room, you should know beyond all doubt that you are ready.

Breadth of Material

Part of what makes the NBCOT exam such a bear is that it covers so much material. The process of doing occupational therapy, standards and practices, human development, various conditions and approaches to evaluating and treating them…all wrapped up in 170 multiple choice questions and three clinical simulations. It’s enough to make anyone feel hopeless.

Solution: Practice, practice, practice. Although it is impossible to predict exactly what test questions you will face, working your way through an organized, modular system with lots of practice questions will help you understand what you are facing. There are also specific strategies to learn regarding how to approach various types of questions, as well as the test as a whole.

Over-Thinking or Under-Thinking

Occupational therapy students tend to be both highly detail-oriented and very good at interpreting complex scenarios. However, these skills can actually work against you when facing the NBCOT exam. There is a strong tendency to either get lost in the details and over-think what is being asked, or to sum up a scenario too quickly and under-think the factors that could change the correct answer.

Solution: Learn the psychology of the test. Although it can be difficult to see at first, the entire exam is laid out in a coherent way that tests not only specific knowledge but also your clinical reasoning skills. Understanding what is being tested and how can help you avoid common wrong answer traps.

How Can Help combines web-based materials with optional one-on-one Skype tutoring into eight comprehensive, streamlined, easy to follow modules. You will learn the best way to approach each section of the exam, the psychology behind it, and strategies for answering each type of question. You will also become highly familiar with the specific types of questions that are asked, and learn to focus your studying in the most productive ways.

Since 2013, has helped more than 1500 students pass the NBCOT exam. We combine web content and one-on-one Skype tutoring into a proven eight-module curriculum that consistently knocks out the competition. Our first-time test takers average a score of 470, and repeat test takers raise their scores by an average of 36 points. If you’re ready to get started, just choose the level that is right for you.