Last week, I completed another milestone in my #SLP life. I passed my national licensing exam in Speech Language Pathology! I am not a great test-taker so this was a topic of much anxiety for me…I studied for about 3 weeks (watching Review videos compiled by my Department, taking practice tests provided by ETS and reviewing my areas of weakness, using a Praxis review book, and searching personal blogs for bits of inspiration and test prep tips). I found some inner confidence to face an exam that in all reality was fair and related to real life situations we find in our field.
I originally scheduled my exam for February 14th. After hearing success story after story of my classmates passing the exam, I decided to push my date up by a week. Testing sites usually offer times beginning at 8am. I scheduled my exam for 12pm on a campus I had never previously visited. I also rented a car to get there. Below are some things I learned from the experience.
Smart things to do:
- If you schedule your exam at a site that you are not familiar with, take some time to go and visit the location, and find out what parking is like, etc. I didn’t own a car at the time, so I didn’t have the option of doing this ahead of time.
- Know yourself well enough to schedule your exam at a time where your brain is at its most productive state. I scheduled my exam for 12pm because I didn’t want to oversleep and I wanted to have a decent breakfast. The morning of I woke up at 7am and could not go back to sleep. Needless to say, I spent a lot of hours twirling my fingers at home that morning.
- Approach the exam with confidence. For me, I kept writing affirmations like “I’m grateful that I will pass the Praxis” and taping them on my walls, used positive self-talk, and envisioned what I would do the moment I saw my passing score. This is another perk of the computerized exam– your exam is graded right away!
- Anxiety is good, if you can learn to manage it. Anxiety can help us, whether it be that kick in the behind to stay on our study schedule, to turn down social events, stay focused at the task at hand during the exam and to stay motivated about the end result.
- Don’t second guess yourself! Your first answer is usually the correct one.
For me, the most helpful piece of advice was to stay confident because, if you’ve made it this far in your graduate school journey, you know more than you give yourself credit for! I spent a considerable amount of time studying how to take this particular exam, because it is not merely an exam of recall– it involves analyzing, synthesizing and critical thinking. I took 3 practice tests, under real live testing conditions (put my phone on airplane mode and out of arm’s reach) and gave myself 2 hours. It also helped that my school offered a Praxis preparation course, where helpful tips are given and practice exams are also administered.
I wish every #SLP2B, no matter where you are on the journey, positive wishes to stay the course…the pay off is surely worth it!
Any SLPeeps who have passed the PRAXIS have any tips they care to share?