Getting ready to take the Praxis CCC-SLP? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone! Studying everything you need to know to be an SLP is a lot of material. Plus, the stakes are high – you need to achieve a passing score to practice as a speech-language pathologist. With a good approach to studying, you can be fully prepared to achieve your best score on the Praxis. This blog post will help you get started.
But first, let’s talk about the “Big 9”. These are the 9 major areas of SLP scope of practice:
- Speech sound production
- Fluency and fluency disorders
- Voice and resonance
- Receptive and expressive language
- Cognitive aspects of communication
- Social aspects of communication
- Augmentative and alternative communication modalities
The standards for certification as an SLP are organized around these 9 areas of practice and so is the Praxis exam! Make sure you understand each area. You’ll also need to study professional practice topics, such as ethics, research methods, documentation, and counseling.
Now that you know about the Big 9, here are our “Top 8” strategies for preparing for the Praxis CCC-SLP:
Tip 1: Get organized! Collect your course syllabi, notes, and readings. You may need to decide whether you want to work from electronic or paper materials and convert materials that are in the wrong format. Once you have all your materials, organize them into the Big 9 areas.
Tip 2: Make a weekly study schedule. Look at your weekly schedule and figure out when you’ll study. The best approach is to study consistently over time. We’d suggest 1-2 hours per day, 4 days per week, using an 8-week schedule (see #3). But the most important thing is to make a schedule that works for you, and then stick to it.
Tip 3: Make a schedule of study topics. Include time to study each of the Big 9, time to take practice tests, and time for final review. Here’s a sample study schedule:
Organize your materials and make your weekly schedule; review speech sound production
Review fluency, hearing, and augmentative and alternative communication
Review voice and resonance and cognitive aspects of communication
Review receptive and expressive language
Review swallowing and feeding
Review social aspects of communication and professional practice topics
Take a practice test and identify areas of weakness. Go back and re-review these areas
Final re-review of all areas; consider taking another practice test; and relax
Tip 4: Adjust the schedule based on your strengths and weaknesses. Some of the topics in the Big 9 contain more content than others. That’s why we gave some areas their own week but combined two areas during other weeks. However, your own personal strengths and weaknesses should affect your schedule, too. For example, if you just finished a great course on swallowing, you might not need as much time to study that area. If you’ve never seen a voice patient and didn’t love that class, you might need to allot more time to make sure you cover that area.
Tip 5: When you study, interact with your materials. Make flashcards, draw pictures, explain a concept to a study buddy, or answer questions out loud to yourself. Active studying works better than passive studying!
Tip 6: Don’t forget your foundations. It’s best to focus your studying on the “big picture” clinical questions (like assessment and treatment) in the “Big 9” areas of practice. However, you also need to study supporting details—like the etiologies of disorders and the characteristics of normal development—within each of the disorder categories. For example, make sure that you know the characteristics of normal language development when you study the receptive and expressive language area. Review the etiologies of voice disorders when you study voice and resonance. If you feel rusty on the foundations of any of the Big 9 areas, you may need to go back to your earlier coursework and review those details.
Tip 7: Work practice questions and practice tests into your schedule. The more familiar you are with the types of questions on the Praxis exam, the more prepared you will feel on test day. Study an area first, then take practice questions in that area to see whether you need to continue focusing on that topic. When you’ve reviewed all the topics, take a full-length practice test.
Tip 8: Take a deep breath…. You can do this! Many people struggle with test anxiety, especially for a test like the Praxis. Your studying can help build your confidence. You have learned a lot!