Starting EPPP Study Now – Top Ten Tips

  1. The most important strategy for passing the Examination For Professional Practice In Psychology (EPPP) is to begin preparing now! If you are in graduate school do not wait to begin studying. Be proactive. A good place to start your search for study information is on the Internet. Learn everything you can about the test. Learn which topics will be covered, and how extensive your knowledge and understanding of them needs to be. A good place to start is at the site of the organization that makes it all possible, The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. They have all kinds of interesting information on the examination for you to read.
  2. Start reviewing commercial test preparation materials. Beg, borrow, or steal used copies of the major study guide programs from friends and colleagues. You can find used copies online; eBay is a good source. If money is not an issue, consider buying new versions of EPPP study materials from the major test preparation publishers: PsychPrep, Academic Review, Taylor Method, or the Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences. At the very least, buy a few of the less expensive commercially available study guides, such as the EPPP Secrets Study Guide or EPPP Flashcard Secrets. Read reviews of EPPP study materials to help you select the most appropriate.
  3. Flashcards are an important component of your study plan. You first need to remember the key terms and concepts before you will be able to answer questions on the examination.Use software to create flashcards of the psychology topics you want to remember. Make flashcards of important, difficult, and unfamiliar concepts.
  4. The best flashcard programs are driven by sophisticated algorithms that optimize learning and maximize recall of the information. The program helps in several very important ways. It minimizes the time it takes to memorize items by scheduling the presentation of the flashcards at optimal intervals. It does this by only presenting flashcards that it predicts you are about to forget. In this way, no time is wasted reviewing flashcards that you have already memorized. The use of a flashcard program allows you literally to maintain your recall of the information indefinitely (as long as you continue to do the scheduled repetitions).
  5. Online discussion groups on preparing for the EPPP are an excellent source of information. They not only discuss which topics you need to study for the exam, and how, but also offer advice on coping with the length and difficulty of the EPPP study process. Fellow examinees can be your best source of support. One helpful group is the Preparing To Take The EPPP Discussion List on Yahoo! Groups.
  6. Make use of the free advice, EPPP study materials reviews, and testing strategies on sites devoted to preparing for the exam, such as How To Pass The EPPP Exam Without Even Trying!
  7. Learn how to test well on the specific type of multiple choice examination represented by the EPPP. There are specific strategies for taking this type of test. These test taking skills will also serve you well in graduate school classes. Look for test taking advice on EPPP preparation sites on the Internet.
  8. Learn how to study. Good study skills and habits will see you through to the end of this process more efficiently. Don’t waste your time trying to cram for the national psychology exam. Just because you’ve made it to graduate school, doesn’t mean you can’t improve your study skills even more. There are many good books on how to study. Go ahead. Read one. I promise not to tell your classmates.
  9. Stress. Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling overwhelmed. Agggg! Where does it all end? It ends with you. Learn to control your mental state. Learn how to remain calm, focused, and motivated while thinking about studying, while studying, before the exam, and during the exam. Repeat after me, “It’s just a test.” Learn how to relax. Keep your spirits up. Keep moving forward. Eat right, exercise, go out, and socialize. Get enough sleep. Don’t study all the time. Take frequent breaks. Taking care of yourself in this way will improve your effectiveness.
  10. Remember, the Internet is your friend! Browse sites about the EPPP. Read discussion groups on it. Learn how other examinees cope. Many students and postgraduates seek out a professional, such as a counseling psychologist, to support them psychologically and keep them on track. Do whatever it takes to keep going.

It is my sincere hope that you find these tips helpful. More importantly, I hope that you understand why you should begin studying for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology now!

Kids and Lifebooks: Tips for Social Workers

Every child who is adopted from foster care deserves a clear, detailed record of his or her life prior to adoption. While a foster child is waiting for a forever family, a lifebook can help her to make sense of the past and prepare to go forward.

Once a child is placed with a permanent family, lifebooks are a connection to the past that can inform and improve the future. Done with care, lifebooks are an invaluable tool for helping children through difficult life transitions and enabling them to take ownership of their unique histories.

Simply stated, a lifebook is a book that presents a child’s life story. Like other books, lifebooks can contain pictures, artwork, text, and other meaningful memorabilia that convey information about a child’s personal history. What child doesn’t like being the star of his own story for an audience of his choosing?

It is very simple in principle…until you begin to factor in abuse and neglect, multiple placements, loss and grief, complicated legalities, and disruptions. How can you translate abuse, drugs, and rejection in terms and images appropriate for a five-year-old? You may have to learn some new skills, but a well-constructed lifebook can hold a tale of even the most profound loss and pain.

Key Components

When I was a new adoption worker, the experienced writers in my office created a lifebook template/checklist of sorts. All of our lifebooks included:

o information about the child’s birth

o a copy of the child’s birth certificate

o birth family information

o why the child entered foster care

o a history of different placements

o a worker’s blessing page

To bolster children’s self esteem, our template included a very upbeat birth page. One common line was, “When you were born, the doctors ooohed and aaahed…”

While I believed in all the lifebook components, I never liked this line. For me, it just did not ring true. So many of our children were tiny drug-addicted babies, fighting for their lives. Lifebooks are supposed to be about the truth.

Lifebook Truths.

Because lifebooks are historical documents, it is never okay to lie. Sometimes, though, you may not know much about a particular event–say, the moment the child was born. In such circumstances, you may need to say, “I’ll bet that….”

For example:

I’ll bet that your birth mother was happy to have given birth to such a beautiful baby girl, but she may have felt sad and confused too because of her problems with bad drugs.

Official documents such as birth certificates and hospital birth records are a great source of factual information, and kids love to see the important pieces of paper that validate their very existence. Foster kids sometimes need to be reminded that they, like everyone else, started life by getting born.

Another way to promote lifebook truth is to involve the child. After all, this is his or her story. Grab crayons and markers, and find a quiet space. Younger children may enjoy dictating while you write; pretend they are guests on a talk show and interview them. Other kids may want to write down their own words, and have you transform them into neat, printed pages.

Some truths are hard to explain and accept. But if an event is an important part of the child’s history, include what you can in a developmentally appropriate way. A teenager may be able to understand “sexual abuse” and a birth parent who was “addicted to cocaine and alcohol,” but a younger child may make better sense of phrases like “bad touching” and “couldn’t stay away from bad drugs.”

Omissions say to a child that things are so bad they can’t be shared. Then the child may fill in the blanks with much scarier imaginings and a sense of guilt or shame. Truth leads to healing, and troubling past events, over time, can fade into “just the way it is.”

Family History

Think about your family for a minute. Which relatives do you take after? Whose athleticism matches yours? Whose laugh echoes yours at the same jokes? Whose nose is (for better or worse) stuck on your face?

Much of our identity comes from being part of the generations that came before us. Children who live with their birth family can see the traits they share with relatives. They also hear and relive family stories at the dinner table, at family gatherings, and through shared memories.

Children who are adopted from foster care may have vivid memories of their birth family, but relatively few positive stories or happy shared moments. Once the birth family is out of their lives, they lose major connections.

Can you imagine going through life without meeting anyone who looks like you? Imagine what it feels like to go through a significant life event–having a baby or being screened for cancer–without knowing your family medical history?

Lifebooks can help answer questions that keep kids, teens, and adults up at night wondering. Adoption social workers often have access to detailed social histories, old medical records, and other social workers who once worked with the birth parents. If visits with birth parents are still going on, you have a golden opportunity to gather important facts and images.

In my view, any chance to get information or pictures should be considered a last chance. Additional family photos and details about the birth family will be a treasure to the child–and to those who parent the child for the rest of their lives.

And let’s not forget siblings; they have a special magic all their own. A simple page with siblings’ names, ages, pictures, and locations can work wonders.

Asking Why

One of the hardest and most critical parts of lifebooks answers the question: Why don’t I live with my birth family?

It is unwise to tell a child that their birth parent was sick (unless it is an honest part of the story). Don’t sick people usually get better? And if Mom gets better, shouldn’t the child go back home? What if Mom doesn’t get better–is she dead, or dying? Why give the child this worry?

I tell children that their birth father, birth mother (or other caretaker) had grown-up problems and wasn’t able to take care of him- or herself. In fact, the caretaker took such poor care of him/herself that he/she couldn’t possibly take care of a child–any child–at that time in his/her life.

By placing responsibility squarely with the adult, we can help children work through nonsensical thinking evidenced in rhymes like: “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.” Many children with abuse histories believe they were bad or somehow responsible for being taken from their birth families. As social workers, we must make sure that kids don’t carry this burden of false guilt through life.

I often directly ask children, “Why do you think you aren’t living with your birth family?” In 10 minutes, I get more information from this question than most therapists do in 10 sessions. Depending on the circumstances, I will then discuss each child’s specific situation.

Placements

Pages on placements are often the most straightforward. Start with here and now; do a page on the child’s current school, favorite foods, good friends, sports, and favorite activities. Get any photos you can. Do the same for past placements in foster homes, group homes, or emergency shelters.

If the child is just about to enter an adoptive placement, a favorite page may be one commemorating when the adoptive parents and child first met. Interview the parents and child separately, and then share their quotes. Now you are accumulating text for the lifebook.

Seek out school report cards, awards, and positive quotes from teachers and foster parents. Awards and praise can help children feel good about who they are–a feeling that can give them the ego strength to deal with difficult transitions.

The Worker’s Blessing Page

As a social worker, you probably have worked with this child for months, if not years. Just before the child is placed for adoption, take time to write one page for the end of the lifebook. Talk about the child’s strengths and what you think is special about him or her. Include a funny story or thought.

It is important to give a child permission to move on and be happy. This is a powerful message for the years to come.

Getting It Done

A team approach to lifebooks may be most rewarding. If foster parents can capture a few moments of the child’s life–maybe grab a picture of the birth family and share a picture of the foster family too–then the lifebook has begun. Social workers and therapists can add to the record.

When the child is adopted, carefully transfer the book to the adoptive family. Coach adoptive parents to keep the lifebook somewhere special and secure. If the child wants the book in her room, make a copy of the original for her to keep. The child gets to decide when the lifebook comes out and parents should never share the book without the child’s permission.

It may be that the book will become a part of adoption anniversary celebrations, provide help with a school family tree assignment, open the door to conversations about adoption and identity as the child gets older, and help the child to deal with the painful loss of his birth family. Then too, it may be something that the child can only appreciate once he starts his own family. The lifebook should be available whenever the child is ready.

Soon after I began working on lifebooks for children, I heard back from families whose children had my first plain, typewritten efforts. To my delight, they reported that the lifebooks became more valuable over time. Lifebooks give foster and adopted children crucial, life-affirming information: basic factual data about themselves, as well as an understanding of where they came from and why they have a new family. It also gave them permission to remember and grieve their losses and better bond with their new families. What a gift!

Psychology of Daily Living: Five Essential "Street Smart" Tips for Success in Life

Five Street Smart Tips for Success in Life…

Did you ever notice that some people with absolutely no education wind up in the same profession as those who had engaged in extensive training? And… get this… some of those “college dropouts” went on to become millionaires, extending light-years beyond their educated colleagues!

You might think it’s some sort of accident… you might think it’s because, well just maybe, they’re way smarter than their colleagues.

But the truth may surprise you…

Actually, those successful people you’ve heard of – Steve Jobs, Bill Yates, Bob Proctor, Oprah Winfrey – they all dropped out of college; and, they all had one thing in common, knowledge of the “street smarts” of becoming successful in everyday life.

You might think that success people had the advantage of a proper family life, surrounded by love, acceptance and encouragement.

However, in many cases, the opposite is actually true.

For example, what would you think the chances of success are for a 10-year old black girl growing up in the slums? Living in a single parent home, this child was abused both physically and sexually until the age of 13, where she found herself pregnant by one of the men who raped her.

And, after losing the baby, she found herself in a correction facility for misconduct, where she had to spend many of her teenage years.

Would it surprise you that I’m talking about Oprah Winfrey? Yep, that’s right… Oprah didn’t have an easy beginning…

… And neither did Wayne Dyer, today’s “Father” of personal development psychology. Having been brought up in a home during the depression with a father who ran out on the family, Wayne was given up for adoption by his mother. She loved him, but just couldn’t afford to support a family during the depression.

But, like Oprah, Wayne had something that many of us strive to have – those ‘street smart’ tips of the psychology of daily living.

So by now you’re asking, “So tell me already! What are these ‘street smart’ tips for success in life?”

Well for starters, you need to know what you want. And, I don’t mean just having something in mind… I mean know like it’s part of your identity – something that you just can’t stop thinking about… something that’s FUN for you to do!

Let’s say, for example, you HATE your job. So how many hours a week to you REALLY WANT to work? As few as possible, right?

But, let’s flip the coin for a second… let’s say you’re doing something that you REALLY LOVE to do. How many hours a week would you be working then? For many, time seems to stop as they continually work for hours… or as the successful person thinks of it, “playing” for several hours past that 40 hour a week mark.

“Doing what your love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life”… Wayne Dyer

So that’s number 1 for successful life tips: Know what you want, and go after it.

And the number 2 “Street Smart” Tip: Practice the “7 Day Mental Diet”…

The idea here is to practice the next seven days to not thinking a single negative thought. Don’t worry, that’s actually impossible! But what you CAN do is this: try to catch yourself whenever you’re thinking something negative… when someone cuts you off in traffic, or the boss is sarcastic with you. Make yourself think (or even say out loud) “Stop” or “Cancel”. Tell yourself you didn’t really mean it and try to think something positive instead.

Why would this make a difference? Negative thoughts breed worry, and worry, believe it or not, is even below hate on the emotional scale of vibrations! By law of attraction, worrying about anything (or thinking negative thoughts about something) breeds more bad stuff!

So if you know of someone who continually complains about their life, be aware that it’s the complaining that brings on the bad life, and try to bring that conversation around to a positive bend as best you can.

“Tips for Success in Life” Number 3: Find something to appreciate in someone else…

Every day, and make it a habit to give compliments to strangers whenever you can.

This is more than just a nice thing to do. Did you ever notice how good YOU feel when you compliment someone and you see their face light up? By law of attraction, those GOOD feelings you have will summon good stuff your way!

And, furthermore, when you practice thinking good thoughts and having faith in others, they tend to subconsciously have faith in you – and this gives you more self-confidence and energy towards your true life goal. It gives you “inspired action”… which is the real secret to knowing what you want and going for it.

Number 4: Ask yourself a quality question.

This is what Tony Robbins preaches, and I’ve found it to be SO TRUE. We actually are all continually “talking” to ourselves in our minds… asking questions.

“Why does his always happen to me?” – That question, for example, is a recipe for disaster! Because the Universe will answer – “Because you’re a SCHMUCK!” You subconsciously will find the answer to questions you’re asking yourself.

So the answer to this is easy; just ask yourself a better question; i.e., “How can I use this situation to learn from and become better at what I do?”

“Quality questions create quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers”… Tony Robbins

And last but not least for your “street smart” tips for success in life, number 5: Use the ‘F’ Word (Faith)…

Faith in that what we’re doing is supporting a higher purpose, a purchase greater than us… that’s the common denominator for success.

Wayne Dyer believed in himself so vehemently that he actually purchased thousands of his books himself and stored them in his garage – all to make it look like he was popular! And where is he now? A millionaire, of course, recognized worldwide as the Father of Psychology!

But what Wayne and many other people do is always strive to do and be better. Commit to yourself that you will learn something today to make you a better person than you were yesterday. When you believe in yourself, others will also believe in you. And it all begins with faith.

Once you combine the power of belief with the first 4 essential street smart tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and meaningful way of life.

Four Tips for Multi-Team Early Childhood Assessments

School Psychology professionals and clinicians are often asked to complete multi-team assessments for early childhood and pre-kindergarten children. Here are four tips that may help professionals involved in multi-team early childhood assessments.

Tip One: A multi-team assessment can take many forms. Some school districts have the child go around to different clinician's offices and they are tested or interviewed individually by the school psychologist, speech therapist, school nurse, special education teacher, general education teacher and other professionals if needed (such as the occupational therapist, physical therapist or vision and hearing specialist.). The clinicians then consult with each other after the family leaves the assessment offices. Other school districts may use a more play-based assessment system where the child is playing with other children and all the clinicians are watching the child at the same time. The clinicians can quickly share information and make determinations as to whether the child continues in the assessment and needs no further assessment, a screener or a full assessment.

Tip Two: Seek outside assistance if needed. Some clinicians just need more information than they get from a one time assessment. It may be necessary to obtain consent from the parent to contact outside agencies or organizations. This may include obtaining additional medical information, contacting preschools or day care programs the child is attending and social service or foster care agencies to get a better picture of the child. It may be necessary for the school psychologists and clinicians to make additional observations of the child as he or she interacts with the same age peers in preschool. This outside assistance can help get a broader picture of how the child appears in different settings and situations.

Tip Three: Seek Parent or Guardian Input in the Multi-Team Assessment. Parents or guardians often know their young children best so it makes practical sense to collect as much information as possible from parents and caregivers. It is important to note that guardians can also have different perspectives about the child. The clinician or school psychologist can find similar factors that a parent or guardian reports, but the clinician can also note differences in reporting the results. Parents or guardians may not view the child in the same way so clinicians may have to share some unique or overlooked characteristics the child is presenting with in the assessment process.

Tip Four: Write Recommendations to Reflect Possible Changes in the Child. The clinicians and school psychologist may want to consider broad recommendations to understand the child may be making changes. Sometimes recommendations may include areas of the assessment where the child was inconsistent with task completion. It could be the child needs more practice to fully master a task or needs directions repeated to fully understand how to do an activity. There may also be inconsistencies in characteristics the child presents like limited eye contact that may need to be monitored or observed more as the child attends pre-school or participates in play activities.

Psychological Tips for Effective Studying

STUDY STRATEGIES

* Revise regularly- Revision should be continuous if you are to gain a deep understanding of the subject. It should not be superficial and rushed. Cramming might help you remember a few facts but it will not give you the overall understanding of a subject, which you should be studying for in your University Education.

* Be systematic- You should begin organizing a study schedule as soon as possible in the start of the semester

* Use varied techniques- besides making summaries of your lecture notes, use varying strategies for your revision. Draw up schemes showing the relationship between the concepts you have studied in your subjects or form study groups with your fellow students to discuss the different topics and the relationships between them to reinforce both understanding and recall.

* Use relationship to memorize- Understanding the relationships between pieces of information, such as their similarities and differences, and using their relationship to information already known is a definite advantage during stress of an examination.

* Practice previous exam papers- You should obtain copies of previous exam papers as early as possible in the revision process. Doing these exams in the required time limit will give you practice in applying what you have learnt to specific topics and practice in examination techniques. This will also give you a good idea of the format, time limit and the number of questions in the examination.

* Attend lectures- Pay attention in lectures and tutorials and so on for information relevant to exams. For example what topic might be expected in a test etc?

Stress the following areas in your revision:

o Points emphasized in class or in the text

o Areas the Professor has advised for study

o Questions in study guides, past questions and reviews at the end of textbook chapters.

STUDY HABITS

* Decide what to study (choose a reasonable task) and how long or how many chapters, pages, problems, etc. Set and stick to deadline.

* Do difficult tasks first. For procrastination, start with an easy interesting aspect of the project.

* Have special places to study. Take into consideration, lighting, temperature, and availability of materials.

* Study 50 minutes and then take a 10 minutes break. Stretch, relax, have energy snack.

* If you get tired or bored, switch task/activity. Stop studying when you are no longer being productive.

* Do rough memory tasks and review, especially detail, just before you fall asleep.

* Study with a friend. Quiz each other compare notes and predicted test questions.

STUDY SKILLS

o Physical environment- Choose situations, which make you feel comfortable, for example a particular space in the library, in your own home or study room in halls of residence.

o Plan a time table- Use a time schedule to prioritise study times and try to stick to your schedule.

o Mental activity- Remember that your concentration span is limited. So do not sit for 3-4 hours at a time starting at one page of notes. Wait for an hour or so reading and making extra notes. Draft out or use real exam questions from past papers and consider how little you know and understand

o Stop to take a break- Have a coffee or short walk and mentally review what you have achieved. Return to your studies.

o You will find that the process of activity and review will be useful and will help you to set a pattern of study.

o Quality of study- Remember that it is not time itself spent on studying which matters, it is the quality of the exercise of studying. Develop an understanding of the material you are working on. Information simply committed to memory will rarely see you safely through your exams.

o Choice of material- Don’t shy away from material which you find most difficult to understand because if you do it will be precisely this material which will be problematic for you in the exam. Take this material first.

o Problems- If there are sections of the syllabus, which you cannot understand, try to find the appropriate lecturer to help you. But try not to leave this until the day before the exam. Ask someone on the same course as you. If these strategies don’t work for you try using a variety of different textbooks, some authors explain difficult concepts better than others.

CONCENTRATION

Concentration is the ability to direct one’s thinking in whatever direction one would

intend. We all have the ability to concentrate sometimes.

Think of the time when you were engrossed in super novel or in a cinema -Total

concentration. But at other times your thoughts are scattered and you mind races from

one thing to another. Learn and practice concentration strategies.

Poor concentration- External causes

-Internal causes

REVISION

Revision is a process of looking over past work as preparation for examination. It is an activity which can produce good results and reduce ‘exam nerves’ if it is carefully planned and carried out in a systematic way. Black coffee and sleepless nights just before your exams rarely allow you to do justice to your talents.

Towards end of a course, a review of your completed written work and of past examination papers will often indicate the existence of close links between exam questions and essays, assignments and project work. On this basis, you select your own best work and use it for revision. Work, which has been less successful, should contain advice from a tutor and this can be followed up.

What revisions can do for you:

* Extends your ability to assess your own knowledge and understanding.

* Provides an opportunity to analyze this in relation to the requirements of the examination.

* Enable you to pass examination and gain recognition for your talents.

GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL REVISION

* Make sure you know well in advance the topics to be covered in the particular exam.

* Keep copies of all course documents, projects, essay questions, title of assignments and reading list on file.

* Make this the basis of your revision. Resist the temptation to try to start your course all over again from the beginning.

* Review your own the assessed work, making a selection of that with the best grade.

* Compare your own work with the question asked as past question papers.

* At this stage it is vital that you will have enough material to answer all the likely questions.

* If you decide on to expand what you have already got, look at less successful papers and see if you can improve them by careful editing, filling in gaps, correcting errors of fact or understanding.

* Reduce each piece of work to note form.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Avoid overload.

Organize your hours to include ample time for rest, relaxation, sleep, eating, exercising and socializing.

Break the study time into manageable amounts of time to avoid boredom and loss of concentration. Sessions lasting 20-30 minutes are the best Studying for six half hour sessions is much more effective than studying for 3 straight hours.

Don’t put everything off until the last minute.

PRACTICE EFFECTIVE STUDY TECHNIQUES

Have appropriate study environments.

Split large task into more manageable tasks.

Read for comprehension rather than get to the end of the chapter.

Be prepared to ask questions as they come up during study, rather than waiting until just before and exam.

Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your projects.

Read the syllabus as soon as you get it and note all due dates( and milestone times) on your calendar.

Be a model student.

Be attentive and participative in the class and punctual, prepared and eager to learn.

BE ABLE TO BE FLEXIBILE

The unexpected happenings, e.g. Sickness, need to be able to fit into our schedule.

Know how to rearrange your schedule when necessary (so that it doesn’t manage you, but you manage it).

HAVE A VISION

Don’t forget the big picture.

Why are you doing the task? Is it important for your long-term goals?

Have and follow a personal mission statement (personal and career) Are your activities ultimately helping you to achieve your goals.

Know what is important to you.

(What do you value most)

Have a positive attitude.