After countless hours of coursework, practica and internship, and pages of dissertation edits, you now have to take the EPPP. Whether it’s fear of failure, sheer exhaustion, juggling too many priorities, or imposter syndrome creeping in, the motivation just isn’t there and at the same time, you didn’t come this far to quit. Try these tips to help re-energize yourself and build momentum while studying for the EPPP.
- Remember your “why” and what you have accomplished already.
Remember why you’re in this field in the first place and use this as motivation to move in the direction of your goals and values. Create a vision board or post quotes and goals around your home to increase your motivation and help visualize your success. It took a lot of hard work and persistence to earn your degree; this exam is no different and you’ve already shown you have what it takes.
- Set a reasonable and structured study schedule.
You would never ask a client to go from 0-100 when goal setting because it would set them up to fail -- you’re no exception. If your schedule is vague, you take on too much too soon, or you jump from topic to topic without a plan, you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and quit. Your schedule should include specific, achievable goals for each day and incorporate short breaks. When you have a plan, it takes the guesswork out of “what should I study today?” and you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Aim for quality study time over just logging hours.
Identify chunks of time based on: times of day you’re most alert & efficient, number of hours you can reasonably review information before you attention wanders, and times when you’re free from distraction. When working with your natural rhythms and being strategic with your time, studying will go more smoothly, you’ll reduce your cognitive load, and you’ll accomplish more.
- Be open with friends and family about your study needs.
Let your family and friends know when you’re studying. Post a study calendar publicly or use a calendar sharing app to coordinate schedules and seek support from family and friends to help protect your time (e.g., Can someone help with the kids? Can friends avoid tempting you with a night out when it’s time for you to study?). This will not last forever and when your support system is on board with your goals, you’ll feel less like your battling with the EPPP.
- Find small pockets of time to sneak-in studying.
Have 5 minutes between clients or waiting in line at the store? Pull up your flashcards and do a 1 minute drill. Use the other 4 minutes to do whatever you want! Have a long commute or taking your dog for a walk? Listen to your audio lectures. Double dipping your time, where appropriate, can be helpful to sneak-in study sessions without committing to a large chunk of time and you’ll move one step closer to your goals.
- Pair study sessions with positive activities.
Pairing non-preferred tasks (i.e., studying) with a preferred activity can increase engagement in activities we don’t want to do. Nice day? Study in a quiet space outdoors. Start your study session with meditation and end it with a meet-up with friends, a nice run, or cup of coffee.
- Make time for self-care.
You have to fill your cup. Studying for this exam with an empty cup will cause you to constantly fight the process and exam itself -- it’s like running a marathon with weights on your ankles. If you want to be more efficient, boost your momentum, and help your brain process everything, budget time-in for people and activities that are important to you.
- Find an accountability partner.
If your internal motivation is a little low, checking-in with someone can be helpful. Make sure your accountability partner knows your goals, will be honest with you, and will push you when needed. Consider an EPPP coach if you can’t find someone in your support system.
- Set a test date.
After determining how much time you can realistically dedicate to studying, set a date. A sweet spot is between 3-6 months from when you start studying. This will increase your accountability and help you be more intentional in reaching your end goal.
- Still struggling? Go to a workshop to kick things off.
Ever been to a training or conference where you left energized and refreshed, ready to take on the next step of your professional development? Sometimes we just need a jump start. Attend a workshop about study strategies or a specific topic on the exam to help give you the boost needed to get started, and then go back through the steps to start pla