Three Ways to Get Stuff Done!

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I have a Ph.D. in Psychology and I am still NOT licensed.

That’s right, folks.

Imagine spending thousands of hours studying for classes, meeting clinical hour requirements, defending a dissertation and obtaining a doctorate degree! So exciting, right? Yes- except for the fact you are still not a licensed clinical psychologist. And in California, you must take two exams in order to become a licensed clinical psychologist.

The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) is a 225-item test and you have 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete it. The overall pass rate for California in 2019 was 48%! The test is not purely clinical in nature, as your competency on industrial and organizational psychology will also be assessed. With that being said, I needed to use a lot of emotional regulation skills in order to study for the exam. To be honest, I was feeling pretty resentful towards this exam. Here are some tips I used to study (and successfully pass the EPPP!) Try using these skills for your upcoming deadlines.


  1. Make a timeline starting with the deadline and work backward.

    1. On December 22nd, I signed up for the EPPP to take 7 weeks later. I then sat down and estimated that I wanted to spend 100 hours in total for the exam.

      100/7= ~14 hours per week to study

    2. I opened my calendar and blocked off chunks of time in order to reach 14 hours per week. I was also very realistic about scheduling time since I had trips planned and knew I would not study during those times.

  2. Commit to the process!

    1. My resentment toward the EPPP was inhibiting me from actually studying for the exam. I needed to use my favorite Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill- radical acceptance!

    2. The gist of radical acceptance is as follows:

      Pain + Non-Acceptance = Misery

      Pain + Acceptance = Pain (and sometimes, relief)

    3. I decided to radically accept my current situation “This is a test that is required for me to do what I love and this is one of the last “golden tickets” I need in order to be licensed.” RATHER than “This test is nonsense. It doesn’t apply to me and this test does not reflect one’s ability to treat anxiety”

  3. Reward Yourself Each Step of the Way. You deserve it!

    1. This can be simple. I dreaded listening to the EPPP audiotapes and at the same time, knew that it would help increase my chances of passing the exam. Therefore, I committed to listening to 20 minutes of study material before listening to music in the car every time I drove.

    2. This can also be a bigger reward. I wanted to get my haircut and dyed, and while I was going to do that regardless, I scheduled it the day after my practice test. I told myself that by sitting down for 4 hours to take a test, that I would reward myself with this expensive, self-care task that I wanted.

After all three of these steps, I was ready to take and pass the EPPP! This came with sacrifice (saying no to friends for dinner and drinks on the weekend) and compromise (not enjoying my car rides as much), but the gratification of passing the exam was worth it all.

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Now, you can do it too 🙂