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NBCOT® Exam Preparation for a meaningful career as a Certified Occupational Therapist

The NBCOT® Exam conducted by The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) is the essential prerequisite if you want a career as a licensed occupational therapist or licensed occupational therapy assistant. In this article we have compiled some of the more important key points regarding NBCOT® Exam prep that you will want to keep in mind.

Passing the NBCOT® Exam means you are truly ready to enter the workplace

Successfully passing the exam allows one to responsibly and effectively helping individuals and groups recover from, maintain and develop various activities that have been disrupted by disability, certain mental health issues or any other impairment. Due to the serious and sensitive nature of the work, Occupational Therapists need to be appropriately certified and licensed. Therefore, the NBCOT® exam is one of the primary requirements that will help you become a licensed practitioner in this field.

How can one be eligible to take the NBCOT® exam?

Any U.S. student or resident is automatically eligible to take the exam if and only if they have the requisite graduate degree and at least one associate degree in occupational therapy.

The rules are a bit different for international students. Students from other countries who do not have an entry-level master’s degree for occupational therapy from any of the U.S. accredited universities needs to apply for the OTED or the Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination process. This process helps the NBCOT® ascertain whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria for the certification exam. The OTED application is a completely online process, but you will need to pay $850 for the application fee.

Applying and scheduling the NBCOT® exam

For individuals interested in applying for the NBCOT® exam you should keep in mind that the NBCOT® will provide a study handbook. You need to start off by creating a “MyNBCOT” account on the official NBCOT® website. The next step is the completion of the online exam application, which has a fee of $515.

The prospective exam takers are also required to submit the final transcripts or the “Academic Credential Verification Forms” through their school registrars. This step is essential so that the governing body of the NBCOT® can properly verify your eligibility to take the exam. There is a separate option for the paper application process as well.

If you are a prospective examination participant, once your application form is complete you have to wait for a few days before your application is approved. If your application form is approved, you will receive the “Authorized to Test” letter via e-mail. This letter will authorize the individual to schedule and take the NBCOT® exam.

About the NBCOT® exam

The NBCOT® exam has test centers worldwide and can be administered from anywhere in the world. Candidates get a total of 5 hours and 15 minutes to complete the test and fulfill all of the various administrative requirements. You are given 4 hours solely for the exam, and are also allowed to take breaks during the exam. But keep in mind the exam clock will keep running.

On the exam day, you are advised to arrive around 30-45 minutes before the scheduled time and must have with you two different sets of acceptable identification. Acceptable identifications include driver’s license and any state-issued ID including the passport.

All kinds of electronic devices including camera and cell phones are banned within the examination center. You need to be aware that any jewelry apart from wedding and engagement rings along with watches and hard copy documents are not permitted while taking the exam. Also note that talking, eating or drinking is also not allowed in the exam room.

Examination scoring

The NBCOT® examination is generally scored on a scale of 300-600. The score is based on a two-step set-up which includes the number of correct answers and the relative difficulty of the exam version you are going for. Pass score for the test is at least 450. There are no penalties for incorrect answers as well as the ones you leave unanswered.

The NBCOT® will score all the test answers, and you have the option of reviewing your answers at the official site using your online account. As soon as you achieve a passing score, you will receive an e-mail notification for the same along with a letter of congratulations delivered at your residence. Additionally, you will also receive an NBCOT® certificate and wallet card that will authorize you as a licensed practitioner.

Participants who fail to clear the test will also be notified via e-mail and will receive digital feedback of the report for the test taken. It will include the overall score and domain level performance information along with detailed explanation.

The contents of the NBCOT® examination

There are a total of 200 items. The exam is divided into 3 and 4 single option response multiple choice items and multi-select items of 6 options.

The exam covers a number of general areas, and each of them makes up for a different percentage allocation. These are the following,

  • 28% of the total exam is about obtaining information and developing the client-centered intervention plan
  • 52% is about the choosing and implementation of an evidence-based intervention
  • And the final 20% is about maintaining a high level of professional standard.

The NBCOT® exam determines the participant’s aptitude for conducting the tasks of an occupational therapist, which can be quite rigorous. To get the passing score, you need to have insights into how you can introduce and re-introduce prospective clients to various critical activities that are essential for their daily lives.

If you are a prospective participant, you should ideally check online resources for Occupational Therapy Assistance along with study materials to prepare adequately for the exam. Take your preparation and test score seriously as these will determine the start of your career as a fully certified Occupational Therapist.

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