May 6, 2013

SLP Praxis

One major accomplishment that I've completed recently was to pass my SLP comprehensive Praxis exam. This is one element most students will tell you that really makes the stress factor go up and the anxiety increase tenfold as this milestone approaches. I know that I felt incredibly stressed about the process of this important exam--so much seems to hinge upon the passing of this crucial test. I figured I would try to demystify the process surrounding this exam and offer information that I found to be helpful in my process of preparing for the Praxis.  Please note that the noted recommendations are strictly of my own opinion. I've attempted to outline the process that worked for me, but every student learns in a different way--please understand that personal process might be different for you and these are merely suggestions! 

Here we go! 

In short, there are two versions of the SLP Praxis test that you can schedule to take when the time comes to finally bite the bullet: the paper version (0330) and the computerized version (5330).

First, here are some very general links that will be helpful in providing an overview of the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis exam:

Below are a few links that might prove to be helpful in acquiring Praxis study materials:

Two of my most utilized study prep tools ended up being the Advanced Review book (make sure you get the book with the accompanying flash drive that includes several practice tests), and the Mometrix flash card set. A few things to keep in mind... The flash drive from the book offers great practice tests BUT many of the questions are repeats of some of the questions asked in the backs of each subject/chapter. I studied the book and chapter practice questions at large, so when it came time to take the whole flash drive practice test, I felt like the scores I received were a tad inflated since I'd already been asked them in the book and remembered most of the answers.  In addition, the Mometrix flash card set was a great review tool, but included with the purchase of the flash cards, the company also includes a practice test with several questions and it is important to note that the format of their practice test is horrible, and the score received is no where near close to what you'd expect to make (many of my classmates reported that they scored lower on the Mometrix practice test than any other practice test offered).

Here are some recommended tips on additional ways to prepare for the SLP Praxis:

1. It begins. 

Decide just about how long you need to review you materials. Most students that arrive at the Praxis-taking-time are well-seasoned students. :) You should have a strong idea of what timeframe is right for you and what areas you might feel the weakest in. In my experience, having certain externships completed greatly influenced my Praxis prep procedures. For example, just before taking the Praxis, I had just completed my medical externship and that experience greatly enhanced my knowledge of dysphasia, dementia, neurological conditions, and the like. Without that experience, I probably would have devoted longer study sessions to those topics, but my real-life experiences greatly bolstered my knowledge in those competencies so I focused on other subject matters I felt needed improvement. 

Every student will come to the Praxis table with different academic knowledge. Decide how much time you want to devote to prep time (one month, several months, etc.) and what materials you will want to add to your study arsenal, and plan accordingly. One thing that is highly recommended is to break down your study sessions into bite-size chunks, or pieces. That way you won't feel overwhelmed and you will also (probably) process the information easier and faster.  One trick I implemented was to pick a topic each week (like say, aphasia for example) and I focused on it by reviewing textbook information, web resources (Pinterest, such a help!), YouTube videos (if possible), class lecture notes and slides, and anything else related to the topic.  The next week arrived and I addressed a new topic and so on. I planned it in such a way that I studied each tested competency area with my full attention. Not sure what they are? Here:

2. Gather your materials. 

Once you have decided the length of your study preparations, the next step is to assess your materials and decide if you need to acquire any additional tools to aid you in your process. Some students opt to rent their textbooks to save money, but if this is something you have done as well, it becomes problematic when you no longer have the textbook to refer back to. If this is the case, perhaps arrange to temporarily borrow the needed materials from a classmate (just be sure to work out a schedule in case your classmate needs the textbook, too!). 

3.  Prep your loved ones and get started!

One thing that really helped me focus during prep time (especially the month of the test) was to get my family and friends on board with my schedule. I had to forego a few fun outings and events because I needed to stay home and study, but it was so worth it in the end!!  Make sure you are 100% updated on what policies your university might have in place for your testing window. For example, my communication disorders program with WKU is very specific about when we could take our Praxis exam; we had a window of a timeframe from which to take our Praxis based on our projected date of graduation.

That's it for now but I have plenty more to say on the subject of the SLP Praxis, but that will be for a later post. I hope the above information listed thus far is helpful to you in the process of preparing for your Praxis!