Occupational Therapy

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The UWL OT program is purchasing two practice examinations (the multiple choice and the clinical simulation exams) for you to take before you take the certification examination.

Why Are We Providing These Practice Exams? 

NBCOT research and our own graduates’ experiences show that students who take these practice exams do better on the certification examination than those students who do not.  Prior students have told us that the practice exams:

  • Helped them become more comfortable with the computerized testing format for both sections of the exam (multiple choice and simulation)
  • Gave them an idea of how prepared they were to take the exam
  • Gave them an idea of the complexity of the certification examination questions
  • Helped them learn to gauge their testing time effectively

How Do You Take The Practice Exams? 

You will receive an e-mail on your UWL e-mail account from Megan Hoffman, one of our program assistants, with log-in information for the practice exams after January 3.  You can take the tests where ever you have internet access, whenever you are ready.  Your overall score will be available at the end of the test.  Please send Dr. Denton an e-mail when you have taken an exam with your thoughts about whether or not it was helpful and if we should continue to purchase them for the students. 

We recommend that you study until you feel ready to take the certification examination and then take the practice tests. Your results will give you an idea of your actual level of preparation.  Leave enough time to study more after you take the practice examinations since most people find that they were not as prepared as they thought. 


Read the Candidate Handbook!  This is a helpful guide to the entire Certification examination process. 

1.  Use Preparation Tools

  • Official NBCOT Study Guide
    This is the one study guide that the program recommends.  It costs $60 and it has the most up to date, accurate information.  The test questions in this study guide are actual NBCOT test questions that have been retired.  There are other study guides available that cost less but do not have the same level of questions as those in the NBCOT guide.  Feedback we have gotten from prior students is the NBCOT Official Study guide had harder questions than the other guides but that these questions matched those in the exam better than those in other guides. 
  • Test Blueprint 
    Review the OTR NBCOT Certification Examination blueprint (provided in FW seminar and available on the NBCOT website link above).  The blueprint lays out what percentage of the questions on the exam are in each of the four domains. 
  • Domain, Task, Knowledge and Skill Statements
    These are detailed statements that are the basis of the questions asked in both parts (multiple choice and simulation) sections of the Certification examination. 
  • Entry Level Practice Self-Assessment General Practice
    This self assessment tool turns the domain, task, knowledge, and skills statements into a questionnaire to help you identify your familiarity.  This would be a good place to start to identify areas of focus for your study.
  • Facebook Exam Preparation
    NBCOT posts an exam question on Monday each week and people post discussions about it during the week.  The answer with rationale for the answer is posted on Friday.  Go to Facebook and “friend” NBCOT and you’ll get the questions. 

2.  Make A Study Plan   

  • The November 8, 2010 issue of OT practice had an article with excellent tips for designing a study strategy.  Back issues of OT practice are available to AOTA members on their website.
  • Make an honest appraisal of your knowledge strengths and areas for improvement.  Some of the study tools noted above will give you that information. 
  • You know enough about behavioral objectives by now to know that saying you plan to study 3-4 hours/day is unlikely to be successful.  Identify specific areas that need work and set time limits so that you do not run out of time to get everything studied. 
  • Get a study group if that helps (on-line or in person).  Challenge each other to make connections between various concepts and courses.  That will help you. 
  • As noted above, the questions are written combining several knowledge, task, and skill statements in all four domains with different populations and in different treatment contexts.  Thus, reviewing the content by each course will not be an effective use of your time.  Integrate what you learned in various courses over the entire curriculum.  Take the following question as an example:  “You are working with a client with quadriplegia at the C4 level in rehab 1 month post injury.  Which is the best ADL equipment for this client?”  In this case, you would need to know the anatomy and neuroanatomy of a C4 injury, the likely problems this person will have with ADL, the types of interventions OT would use with a person with a C4 break at 1 month post injury, kinds of splints, etc. the kinds of ADL equipment that could be used, etc., etc., etc.  As you can see, this question requires information from several classes. 

3.  Leave Enough Time 

  • Students who study between 6 weeks to 3 months do the best on the Certification examination.  We know you are anxious to work and get started.  However, graduates who do not study just do not pass the examination, regardless of how good of a school they graduated from.  Our advice is to study until you feel you are ready, take the practice examinations, and then still have time left to study more before the examination.

4.  Contact Us

  • Contact us (your advisor) if there is some way that we can be helpful.  If you should fail the examination, please contact us.  We will work with you to help make the second attempt a success.