1. It’s almost better to know nothing. I took almost the first two weeks of study time to read through the study guide manual so I could attempt to categorize how well I already knew certain topics. And to be completely honest this was a total waste of time. It ended up making me feel more stressed out and frustrated. So here’s my advice: Study everything as if it was brand new information, from start to finish. You’re gonna have to review it anyways so you might as well cover it all.
2. A 55% isn’t that bad. I waited to take the practice exams until the last two weeks before I took the real exam. And I freaked out. I consistently kept getting anywhere from 52-67%. And with only two weeks to spare, I felt certain that I would not pass on my first attempt. It wasn’t until after I took and passed my NBCOT exam that I found out that those who consistently score in the 50-60 range on the practice exams usually pass the real thing. So here’s my advice: Don’t freak out because your practice scores suck. But use the information from the practice tests to finalize your knowledge on those weaker areas.
3. Hard working brains function better in hard working bodies. It wasn’t until after I passed the NBCOT exam that I actually started to take my physical health more seriously. And I wish that were different. I truly believe that if I had taken the time to exercise my body I would have had a clearer mind. So here’s my advice: Take the time to go for walks, hit the gym, or do some of your favorite summer sports. It is more than okay to set aside time for yourself.
4. More time does not equal more knowledge. Along with freaking out that my practice scores were down the tubes, I also spent the last few days before the exam feeling guilty for not spending 8 solid hours a day studying. I had originally scheduled about 5 hours of study time each day. But at the end of the day, after accounting for all the breaks I took, I probably only studied for about three and a half to four hours a day. Which ended up being just fine. So here’s my advice: Take breaks. Listen to your body. Take the time to let the information digest before cramming more in. Maintaining balance is so so important.