I wanted to address something that is a little bit 'taboo' and not often spoken about amongst provisional psychologists. What happens if I fail the National Psychology Exam?
As someone who has had the privilege of supervising and training many provisional psychologists prior to them sitting the exam, I have seen firsthand the impact that failing the exam can have on individuals. I've had many come to me after failing the exam once, or sometimes three times, but no amount of times was a reflection of that person's competency to be a good psychologist. I want to reassure you that failing the exam does not define your worth as a psychologist. This is my letter to those who have failed, who are worried they will fail, or (might) fail in their future attempts.
The National Psychology Exam is challenging, and many people underestimate its difficulty. The curriculum and reading list are extensive, and passing the exam often requires more than just having the necessary competencies. Factors such as memory, concentration, and anxiety in time-pressured situations can affect performance in exam-type environments.
Many people struggle with memory, concentration, anxiety when under time pressured situations and therefore may not perform as well in exam type environments. Some people do really well with multiple choice, others are crippled by having too many options and would do better with responding in essays. Will any of these things determine whether you can be a good psychologist? Not really. But it will likely influence whether you pass the exam or not.
If you have failed the exam, or are worried about failing in the future, I want to offer you some advice:
1. Firstly, distance yourself from the belief that you are not good enough or smart enough to be a psychologist. Instead, focus on learning the curriculum well enough so that you can re-sit the exam and ace it.
2. Take the time to reflect on your exam results. What were your weak points, and what were your strengths? Use this information to tailor your study plan and focus on the areas that need improvement.
3. Think about your exam strategy. Did you have one? If you want to read some tips for the exam, I've got those in a blog post here. I also talk about exam strategy in my National Psychology Exam Preparation Course.
4. Reflect on your method of studying for the first round. Was it effective in helping you remember the essentials and apply them in the exam? If not, consider adjusting your study methods.
5. Don't hesitate to seek support from others. This could be through your supervisor, peers, or even myself. I offer a free service to those who have previously failed the exam, I am happy to review your results and provide recommendations to help you succeed.
I offer a range of services to assist individuals preparing for the National Psychology Exam. This includes a comprehensive self-paced Exam Preparation Course, individual supervision for focused exam preparation, and study group supervision leading up to every exam sitting.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you want to chat or learn more about my services.