Text -- 304-412-4065 Danny@DannyPettry.com
Originally posted at our former blog.

An individual who I’ll keep anonymous had sent me an email in late July 2009.

It read:
I’ve taken the CTRS exam three times without success. I have been out of school for two years now. The last time I took the test was in October [2008]. Do you have any ideas for passing the CTRS exam?

I’ve reached out to my former university, but they’ve cut their TR program I feel like no one is interested in helping me.

I’ve tried several study methods, including:

An exam secrets book
Some note cards that came from the same place as the exam secret book
The giant red assessment book; and
Now I have the 3rd edition study guide for the TR exam.

Do you have any suggestions or tips?

My Response to him was:

First, I want to say congratulations on being persistent. Three times shows that you’re not a quitter. It appears that you’re still going for it.

I’ve never been a very good test-taker myself. I feel very fortunate to have passed the CTRS exam myself.

Here is my advice. Feel free to print a copy of this page:

Click Here for NCTRC exam study guide.

Tip # 1: Write a letter to NCTRC and call them. Explain your situation and how you want to be successful on the exam. Ask if they can provide any assistance, tips, and advice. I’d imagine that they would probably have the best information to share.

Tip # 2: Do a quick self-assessment. Check out the main study guide and determine which areas you feel confident and which areas that you feel you could do better. Focus on the areas that you need the most improvement.

Tip # 3: Do you know any CTRS locally? You could ask her (or him) to help you study.

Tip # 4: Think positive. I know this probably sounds cliché and overused. However, there is research that shows people who think they’ll be successful are more likely to succeed. This is called the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tip # 5: Try to use acronyms to help you learn if possible. In example, I use the acronym “A.P.I.E” or “A pie” to remember the Therapeutic Recreation Process.

Here’s what the acronym consists of:
Assessment: Process which you interview the patient and her (or his) family to determine primary strengths and areas of needed improvement. The assessment should be age appropriate and useful in gaining appropriate information about the patient. It should cover all the basic areas: social, physical, cognitive, spiritual, emotional, and leisure.
Planning: This is where you work with the patient to plan the treatment. The patient must give consent to treatment. The plan needs to include measurable objectives. I use the “Reference Manual for Writing Rehabilitation Therapy Treatment Plans.” (Venture publishing: State College, PA). The goal should be part of an interdisciplinary treatment plan with other professionals, which vary depending on setting. These could include: psychologist, physical therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, etc.
Intervention: (the activity). This is what you; the recreational therapist will be in charge of doing.
Evaluation: Determine if the patient has met his (or her) treatment goal. If it is written clearly in the planning phase, then it will be easy to determine here. Continue the process. You may need to do a re-assessment, new treatment planning, and providing new interventions if needed.
Discharge planning: Determine recommendations for after discharge (if applicable). Oh yeah, I almost forgot. It is important to get a physician referral for recreational therapy services prior to completing an assessment. I feel like I’m just rambling on now. I’ll stop. I’m anxious to hear what other people have to say.
Current Updates:
Yesterday, he replied that he had taken the test last Friday and passed!
He also said, “Thanks again for all your help. It really was helpful.”Naturally, I had to ask him for his suggestions and tips for future students.
Here’s what he had to say:

The main method that I used was the third edition study guide from Stumbo and Folkerth.

I read each section and underlined things that weren’t defined so I knew to look them up. After I read each section and looked up everything I had underlined, I then wrote out all my notes by hand. I then took a 90-question practice test to kind of see where I stood. This exam was available through the study guide. All the ones I missed: I tried to see how I missed each by looking up or researching the information if I didn’t have it it my notes. Then I typed out all my notes twice and rewrote them by hand once more. While doing this I also took the 30-question tests that were divided into the different sections. Meaning each one of the different sections had its own practice test and I found this very helpful for me. Finally, I took the 90-question practice test that was available throught the study guide, again.

I believe this was helpful for me since I had been out of school for two years and had a few different jobs that helped basically with just having the hands on experience. I have worked with people with physical disabilities, in physical rehab and now I’m currently working with individuals with Alzheimer ’s disease. My work experience was helpful, I think.

Hope this was helpful.