Prep for Your Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination II It’s been about 4 weeks since NPLEx II and Ontario board exams and I have parted ways. It has taken me that much time to want to even think about it again, too. But, I feel it is important to share with you some of the tips I think are necessary to get through both the study period & the exams themselves. Keep these in your back pocket for your NPLEx venture, whether in February or August.
- Attend a prep course. I chose Pass NPLEx offered by Chris Habib, ND. It suited my needs exactly. I know a lot of people benefit from Dr. Anderson’s course, too. It’s up to you whether you take one or both.
- Pick a study buddy (or group). My study buddy is the reason I survived!
- Make a study schedule. It took my study buddy and me about 3 days to put it together.
- Organize your study materials. I created a binder and divided it up into sections for the blueprints for NPLEx and the Ontario board exams, pathophysiology, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, manipulation, jurisprudence, etc. This helps because you always have a place to put notes, documents, drawings, etc.
- Take a SMV (social media vacation). Let everyone know you are embarking on a super intense study period and that you may fall off the face of the earth for 10 weeks. P.S. The SMV part is totally optional – I’d love it if you kept reading my blog, hehe.
- Stick to your schedule as best as you can. You may be surprised to realize this exam study is very different from your usual study technique that you employ for exams during the school year. You really can’t study all day and all night because you will burn out. It’s much better to stick to your scheduled hours and take time off when you need it. It will feel very much like a 9-5 job during the first few weeks of study. You can cram during the last 2 weeks.
- Take brain breaks to be entertained by funny things. I really liked small breaks for Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or Seventy Equals ND.
- Exercise. We all know why this is good for us. Just do it.
- Eat well. This may not be the time to try the latest detox or prep for a bodybuilding competition (although, I do know people who have done this during NPLEx study). Best to stick to the ND rules – whole foods diet. Some people choose to avoid alcohol during this time, too. I found a glass of wine in the evening helped me relax and turn off my brain, but it’s up to you.
- Supplement. My go tos were Medi Herb Bacopa Complex & Gingko Forte, Ascenta Omega 3 oil, Thorne Basic B-complex, Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte (let’s face it – I wasn’t getting any sun), and SISU Ester-C 1000.
- Sleep. It’s important to make sure you are getting enough sleep especially during the initial study weeks. It can be really hard to sleep by the end of the testing period because you are so worked up. I created a routine each night – I drank a cup or two of Yogi Tea’s Bedtime tea, had 1 tsp of Natural Calm Magnesium, and then had 2 Pascoe Pascoflair tablets. If I was really struggling I used melatonin.
- Meditate. Your brain can definitely use a heavy dose of calm, and it doesn’t have to take all night. Take 10-30 minutes to meditate or do yoga. I liked options from Andrew Johnson (his Exam Support & Deep Sleep meditations work wonders). You can also try Get Some Headspace.
- Make a countdown calendar. Give yourself something to look forward to. I scratched out each completed day with major satisfaction.
- Day Off. Some people follow the rule of taking the day off before the exam. I took the Sunday off before the exam (it was a gorgeous day & I really wanted some pool time), and then I took half the day off before the exam.
- Pack Your Bag. Print off your ticket for NABNE, gather your earplugs, photo ID and clear water bottle. Pack your bags for your board exam based on what your board tells you you can bring to the test.
- You’re going to feel really good going into your exams. And after the first day you will probably feel terrible. This is normal. This is how pretty much everyone feels. Crying helps.
- It’s going to feel like a marathon both during the test writing and then during the evenings when you are prepping for the next day. My friend and fellow ND, Christopher Knee, gave me a great tip: "Split the exam into 3 parts. Get through part I and then take a break to look out the window or use the washroom. Do the same after part II. Then you only have 1 part to go and it feels much more manageable."
- Bring lunch with you to the exam – no use having to waste your break searching for a meal or getting sick off something new.
- Try to have someone prepare your meals for you, or pre-prepare your meals for the week so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Try to sleep. This will be hard. See #6 above for some help on this.
- Decide ahead of time whether or not you will want to study during your breaks and whether or not you want to talk about the exams after you have written them. Choose your break-time groups accordingly.
- It is NOT fun.
- You will probably behave terribly towards your loved ones.
- You’re going to think that you have failed. You likely haven’t.
- YOU CAN DO THIS!
So – that’s that.
If you’re interested in my exact study schedule I would be more than happy to share it.