Some of the most common questions people ask when starting an assessment are:
- How do I prepare for a psych assessment?
- Do I need to bring anything with me?
- Should I change anything about day-to-day life before doing testing?
- For kids: what if my child has school? Or for adults: what if I have work?
- And most importantly, is it worth it?
This blog post hopes to answer these questions to help you feel more at ease when seeking out an assessment with Uplift Psychology Group.
How to prepare for a psych evaluation:
You do not need to study for a psychological evaluation like you would for school or job testing. For a psychological evaluation, all you need to bring is yourself and your attention. Breaks are built into each testing appointment so that you have opportunities to recharge your attention and take care of your needs. Prior to each appointment it’s important that you get good sleep and keep to your regular eating routine. If you typically have sleep issues, then speak with your examiner to see if there are testing times available during the hours when you are usually most awake – if your preferred times are not available, then be sure to inform your examiner about sleep issues so that they can consider it when interpreting your test results. One final important note is that if you arrive 15 minutes or more into your testing appointment, it may be cancelled and a fee is charged for rescheduling. Due to this, it is recommended you arrive a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time to be sure you have time to locate the office.
Do you need to bring anything with you:
Typically, you do not need to bring anything with you to an evaluation. For some individuals, they would like to bring their own personal water bottle, snacks, noise-cancelling headphones, a comfort item, or writing utensils and this is allowed. Cell phones must be off or on silent and out of sight for the duration of your testing appointment. For an evaluation where the examiner has previously asked that you bring paper copies of records or information, you should bring this with you to your first testing appointment – if your examiner did not ask for this, then you do not need to bring it.
Should you change your day-to-day routine in preparation for testing:
No, do not make substantial changes to your day-to-day routines leading up to your testing appointment. If you are taking prescribed medication, consult with your psychiatrist before making any changes – it is not advised to stop or start any new medication within one month of an evaluation that includes an evaluation of your cognitive or executive functioning abilities (for example: ADHD evaluations or IQ testing). If you have any new or worsening symptoms related to mental and/or physical issues before your testing appointment, reach out to your examiner to determine the best course of action.
What if your child has school:
Testing appointments are considered medical appointments seeing as they are conducted to assess your child’s health. Your examiner can provide a medical excuse note on the day of your appointment if needed – notes cannot be provided in advance of appointments. There is very high demand for testing during school breaks and summer which limits appointment availability. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to consider scheduling testing during the school year. Child testing typically takes between 2-8 hours depending on the type of evaluation – this can be broken up into 2-hour visits at a minimum. Many parents choose to schedule this on a day when your child has a half-day of school, in the morning hours so that they can return to school after testing, or in the early afternoon so that they can leave school early. Testing is not offered in the evening hours. Please consult with your examiner to determine the best schedule for your child and family’s needs.
What if you work during the week:
Similar to the previous answer, testing appointments are considered medical appointments since they are evaluating your health and well-being. A note can be provided on test day (not in advance) to document any absences at work. Many adults will use accumulated vacation time or schedule appointments on days when they have minimal-to-no tasks to complete. In cases where one’s work schedule does not have flexibility; it is recommended that you plan your assessment in advance. Appointments can be booked up to 3 months in advance, though there is a non-refundable deposit required for appointments booked further than one month out.
Overall, is getting an evaluation worth it:
This completely depends on your circumstances. In 99% of cases, the short answer is yes! Evaluations are absolutely worth it to have the opportunity to learn more about yourself and receive clear answers about your experiences and symptoms. Receiving an evaluation is also the main way to receive accommodations for academic testing, school support, or workplace support. Individuals have expressed great satisfaction with our testing process and appreciate receiving detailed recommendations and explanations regardless of whether a diagnosis is provided. An evaluation would not be advised or warranted in situations where you do not want feedback or information about yourself or have just started a new program or treatment and want to wait to see if that works first before investing time and money into testing. At Uplift, we collaborate with the other professionals in your life (if you agree to this) to be able to create personalized treatment plans and provide unique feedback about your needs based on test findings. So overall, evaluations are highly recommended and worth the investment.
If you’re interested in getting to know more about evaluations with Uplift Psychology Group, you may email our assessor Dr Bridget Wieckowski at BWieckowski.PsyD@gmail.com or you can call/text our office at 408-404-5865. We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to potential new clients to answer any questions you may have and to more thoroughly explain the testing process.