NBCOT Exam & OTED Prep: Personal Experience

My personal impression with NBCOT prep is that being qualified to take the exam was more difficult than studying for the exam.

As an internationally trained occupational therapist, I had to go through OTED process. In my opinion, the most difficult part of this process is the uncertainty.

Gather Information

First of all, it was difficult getting information of what would be needed. You need to learn their terms and forms so you can understand their website. Depends on your situation, you may need additional document such as National Government Recognition documentation, Verification of Academic Credential Form – but you may not know if you need it unless you contact them or they review your application first. I end up needing National Government Recognition documentation and it took a while to get one because my national government organization needed to come up with different ideas about which of their document can be acceptable as National Government Recognition documentation.

The terms on  US Occupational Therapy Educational Standards can be a little big vague too. I’d say that this is the first step of preparing OTED  you really need to consider this when you choose your electives so you get all the areas covered. But again, keep in mind that two people with same syllabus may have different result.

Thankfully, my Master’s program had events with international alumni that I was able to get better ideas about how the process was actually like.

Preparing for OTED While I’m Still in Master’s Program

When I was still in masters program, what I could do to prepare was to make sure that I adhere to the standards in choosing electives, collecting all the study/lecture materials for just in case, and communicating with my undergrad university to collect the syllabus and make sure that they are all in English. The goal was to get all the document ready to send out (except the transcript), as soon as I graduate.

Preparing for OTED After the Graduation

At graduation, I had everything ready except the transcript and syllabus from my undergraduate university. All the syllabus were supposed to be sent by the universities, and the final Master’s transcript was not out yet. So I just sent all the other documents except the final transcript.

After a couple of weeks of light studying and celebratory trip after graduation, I got an online notice that they still need to see National Government Recognition documentation (this is one of the document marked ‘if applicable’. I was surprised to see this because my undergrad program is WFOT approved). I basically had to contact different government organization that might be related – really thanked God that my home country good online government system. It was about late July that all the documents were received by NBCOT. After about a week, I got a notice that I’m eligible to take the test. 

So for me there was plenty of time to study between graduation and passing the eligibility test.

That was the first year the system went online and I think it made huge difference compare to previous years. We were able to track when they got the documents, what is missing, and able to ask questions online. 

After Passing the Eligibility Test

Now I was finally able to register for the test – which was of course, a separate cost.

I’ve been studying in a small study group since graduation, but it wasn’t very intense studying. So I gave myself about 2-3 weeks of study/prep time. During this period, I studied about 8 hours per day, reviewing what I learned and doing practice test. From what I heard from classmates, this prep-time seems to be around average.

This process somewhat less stressful for me because at least I have some control over how hard I study, and now I know that I can finally take the test.


I hope this helps. I know it’s a long posting but it was a long process. Please comment below if you have any questions or comments!

Posted in OT

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