Having been through 2 certifications (so far) in my career, I thought I should provide current & aspiring certification candidates a birds-eye peek into my study routine. Each section listed below can become more involved based on your learning habits and learning strengths. So, if you have thoughts, questions, or opinions on any of them, then feel free to leave a comment to help make this a more productive post.
Certification can be quite stressful and overwhelming. You have to give it everything you’ve got. Might as well use all 5 senses! Here we go…
- If you can rent DVD’s or stream videos of the course, then definitely do so. You’ll become more familiar with the techniques and clinical reasoning process by watching the instructors. Not only will this help you didactically, but it’ll also get you used to seeing the teachers who may be testing you. This way you’ll be (relatively) less intimidated when you’re in the testing room with him/her. Visual familiarity calmed my nerves by giving me a read on their facial responses and general movement patterns. Not only did this help me respond better during testing, but it also allowed me to get a sense of their psychological atmosphere, which cued me to choreograph my performance to fit their disposition at that particular period of time.
- Another way to utilize your visual input to sharpen your skills is by watching your study partners. For this reason alone, it might be worth your while to work in a group of 3. Another option is to use mirrors. Since one major way we learn is by watching others, it is important to choose an appropriate partner for visual feedback.
- Diagram everything as much as you can. I’m a visual learner, so this helped me immensely. Sequences, lists, groupings… even the page of contents.
- Audio record the DVD’s or streaming video. Put them onto your iPod or smartphone so that you can access them quickly during your commute or review it audibly before bed.
- Record yourself reading or reasoning through the manual. This would be a much more personalized means of audibly reviewing material.
- Verbalize the material by yourself before talking it out with your study partners.
Smell & Taste.
- Build routines into your study. A certain coffee or tea. The smell of a location: bookstore, study partner’s home, etc. Then, imagine or recollect the same smells or tastes as you’re reviewing materials independently or with a study buddy. Make a joke about it. Connect it to whichever material you’re having a tough time recalling. The more sensory neurotags you create around your study content, the better the odds of performing under pressure.
- Have some dry finger foods while you study. I have no idea why this made the study process more productive, but I covered more ground and made sharper connections while my hands kept popping food into my face.
- Kinesthetic awareness. If your certification includes a hands-on portion, then you should develop an awareness of what it feels like when a technique is done correctly and incorrectly. Feel for the sense of effectiveness both as the tester and tester’s partner. Be able to tell when your partner is on the right track when s/he is working with you. Provide constructive and precise feedback. The more precise your feedback, the sharper you develop your kinesthetic awareness. This in-turn can guide your performance during testing.
- Work on as wide range of people as possible. If possible, work on either the instructor and/or others who have recently passed the certification. Also, have them work on you so that you get a physical sense of how it feels when done right, and how they use their body/hands/etc.
- Re-write the manual in your own words. I know. It’s a bit strange to put this under “touch,” but the physical act of writing somehow helped coalesce the material better for me. I tried typing, but it wasn’t as effective. Also, writing allows you to draw arrows, smiley faces, or whatever else you’re into, to make connections and highlight important sections requiring further attention.
As, mentioned earlier, you can make this a more productive discussion by leaving helpful advice in the comments section.
P.S. – As many of you are well aware, I enjoy reading books. Early March 2016 saw the first edition of my Quarterly Readings Newsletter. It is an update on some of the more interesting reads of the 3 months preceding publication of the email Newsletter. Email me with “I love to read!” in the subject line, and I will add you to the email list.