How to Prepare for the BCBA Exam

By: John-Paul Prakash MA., BCBA, MFTI.
Working With Autism BCBA Program Coordinator.

Preparation for the BCBA exam requires one to think critically and analytically. It is not just a written test, but a test that evaluates the application of behavioral principles. In the field, BCBAs are practitioners using Applied Behavior Analysis (a science, evidenced based practice) to help teach socially significant skills and reduce maladaptive behaviors for consumers. As Autism Disorder is a spectrum, it is crucial that a Behavior Analyst conceptualize the consumer as an individual by developing a treatment plan specifically created for the individual that is systematic, rational and easy to implement.

WWA is proud to announce a 75% passing rate for the recent May 2012 BCBA exam. To help promote conceptualization, analytic thinking and application of ABA, WWA held weekly group BCBA supervision for staff in addition to individual BCBA supervision as needed. Group supervision focused on presenting information in different formats (power point lectures, visual presentations, actual recorded video etc), consistently practicing “behavior speak,” open discussions on scenarios, reading articles and literature, case presentations, and constant practice of made up test questions. Individual supervision emphasized making evidenced based decisions based upon data collection, development of a behavior intervention plan that included different phases of the treatment package, and execution of the plan in the field.

There are many different ways to study for this exam. However, anyone can read a book on how to swim or drive a car, but reading alone may not prepare the person to demonstrate the skill in a real world situation. Given the importance of being able to apply your knowledge on the BCBA exam, memorization of the terminology is not adequate test preparation. What has proven effective is appropriate supervision, actual application of ABA in the field, receiving feedback from other BCBAs, and gaining of experience. Most importantly, it requires the natural desire to want to uphold the integrity of the field of ABA and to do your best.

Although there aren’t many studies or sites specifically endorsed by the BACB in regards to exam preparation, the following links may be a good starting point:

http://www.behaviordevelopmentsolutions.com/
http://quizlet.com/subject/bcba-exam/
http://www.amazon.com/Applied-Behavior-Analysis-2nd-Edition/dp/0131421131
http://www.calaba.org/
http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=158

Good luck.

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