In Australia, the journey to becoming a fully registered psychologist involves a series of rigorous steps, one of which is passing the National Psychology Exam (NPE). Specifically designed for provisional psychologists, this examination ensures that candidates possess the essential competencies and knowledge necessary for ethical and effective practice within the community. As an integral component of the Psychology Board of Australia's registration requirements, the National Psychology Exam is designed for those completing the 4 + 2 and 5 + 1 pathway programs to general registration as a psychologist. You will need to pass this exam before you can apply for general registration with AHPRA>
Every provisional psychologist knows the looming challenge of the National Psychology Exam. While the format – a multiple-choice test spanning various domains – can seem daunting, passing is achievable with the right strategies. This guide aims to provide provisional psychologists with top-notch techniques to conquer this pivotal exam.
Laying the Groundwork: Essential Preparations
Structured Revision: As a provisional psychologist, categorise your study sessions by domains. It is helpful to tackle each domain of the National Psychology Exam (NPE) separately and use your NPE curriculum as your guide.
Delve into Practice Questions: Familiarise yourself with practice exam-style questions. AHPRA provide you sample questions that you can access after registering for the National Psychology Exam (NPE). I also host 'Exam Prep Tuesday' a free service in my closed Facebook group. I write and share new NPE exam style questions weekly to help provisional psychologists to prepare for the exam.
Condensation is Key: Translate comprehensive notes into concise flashcards or mind maps. A clear understanding of the components of each domain will aid your preparation for the National Psychology Exam. In my NPE prep course, I have provided study guides and notes so you can make notes while you're watching my training videos. Summarising key leanings into your own words has been shown to be an effective method for learning and encoding information.
Group Dynamics: Engage in study sessions with fellow provisional psychologists. Preparing for the National Psychology Exam does not need to be done in isolation. You could consider creating or joining a peer group to keep you accountable. I also run group supervision "NPE study groups" leading up to each exam.
Get Support: Ideally you will be getting support from your supervisor to help you tackle the National Psychology Exam curriculum. I also have a comprehensive NPE preparation course that covers the entire curriculum in training videos.
Exam Day Tactics: Maximising Performance
Details Matter: Everything you need to know will be in the question. Do not make assumptions beyond what has been given to you in the case scenario.
Time Mastery: Efficiently budget your time. You have 210 minutes to answer 150 questions, aim to allocate roughly a minute per question, keeping a buffer for reviewing.
Swift and Sure: Address familiar questions first, ensuring you've secured marks you’re confident about. Return to challenging questions later.
Eliminate to Illuminate: Unsure of an answer? Discard obvious incorrect choices first. This strategy increases the odds of selecting the right answer.
Qualifier Vigilance: Words such as "always" or "never" can be deceptive. They may render a statement too rigid for the context.
Comprehensive Analysis: Before finalising an option, review all choices. In the national psychology exam, every point counts.
Trust Your Training: However, as a provisional psychologist, learn to trust your instincts. Avoid second-guessing yourself unless you have a compelling reason.
Which Domain: Ask yourself first: Which domain does this question fall under from my National Psychology Exam curriculum? This can change the way you answer the question if it were an Intervention vs an Ethics question, for example.
Attempt All: Don’t leave blanks. A calculated guess is always preferable to no answer.
Retrospection: Use any remaining time to review and reassess answers.
Holistic Health: Beyond the Books
Rest for Success: The benefits of a well-rested mind are invaluable, especially for the intensive National Psychology Exam. Sleep well, take care of yourself, and make sure you are at the best on the day of the exam.
Nourish and Hydrate: Maintain your physical health. Consume a balanced meal and stay hydrated to optimise performance on the day of.
Calm is the Key: Confronted with a perplexing question? Do a quick grounding exercise to recalibrate your focus.
The journey to becoming a registered psychologist requires dedication, and the National Psychology Exam is a pivotal milestone. Arm yourself with these strategies, invest in consistent preparation, and approach the exam with confidence. Here's wishing every provisional psychologist success in their exam!