Tuesday, July 23, 2013

T-Minus 7 Weeks!

In less than seven weeks, the fall testing period for the CPDT-KA exam starts. I have signed up to take the exam, and based on feedback from my Facebook friends, a lot of you are, too. Because so many of us are in the same boat, I thought I’d post about what I’m studying each week so we can share resources and thoughts!

Here’s my study schedule so far:

Week 1 and 2: Instruction Skills 32%
This week and next week, I’ll be reviewing instruction skills. 32% of the exam will be on this. According to the official study objectives, this includes interpersonal skills, teaching skills, and managing the training environment. As a social worker, I’m pretty confident in this area; my people skills are excellent.

Week 3 and 4: Learning Theory 32%
This section of the exam covers reinforcement, punishment, operant and classical conditioning, cues, management, and training problems. I’m confident that I could do this section in my sleep, but even so, I’m going to review for it!

Weeks 5 and 6: Ethology 20%
Another section I feel pretty good about, it covers domestication, development, and body language. I will definitely brush up on the development portion, but I think I’ll be fine here.

Week 7: Equipment 7%, Husbandry 6%, Business Practices and Ethics 3%
These are probably my weaker areas, so thank goodness they are also the smaller portion of the test.

My main study plan is to read the book Coaching People to Train Their Dogs, by Terry Ryan. Rumor has it that the test runs pretty close to the book. If I have time, I will also read (or re-read, as the case may be) Excel-erated Learning, by Pam Reid, and Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, by the Coppingers, plus whatever else is on my bookshelf that looks useful.

If you’re taking the exam, give me a holler! Let’s share study tips in the comment section. I’m going to try to check in each Friday about what I’ve studied so far.

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