Preparation and What to Expect
It is common to feel anxious about testing. We want people to feel comfortable and be able to do their best, and to that end, we strive to make the testing experience as calm and relaxed as possible. We work with people at their pace and tolerance and offer breaks as necessary. Hour long breaks for lunch are offered to those who are tested through lunchtime.
Get a good night sleep, but do not take medication for sleep unless you always do this and are not groggy the next morning.
If you have a medication that you take as needed (“p.r.n.”), discuss your expected use of this with your neuropsychologist prior to testing. If you are taking a stimulant medication for an attention disorder (e.g., Ritalin), discuss this with your neuropsychologist prior to the appointment. Depending on the purpose of the consultation, it may be suggested that this medication be suspended briefly prior to testing.
Do not change your routines prior to testing.
Ideally, do not start a medication or change medication within several weeks of testing, but discuss this with your prescribing provider and the neuropsychologist who you will be seeing.
There is nothing invasive or that should be painful during testing; you should tell your examiner if something is physically uncomfortable for you to do (e.g., there is a test of speed using fingers, and some people with arthritis in their hands find this to be painful to complete).
Wear comfortable clothes, and have layers to make sure you can remain comfortable throughout the day in terms of temperature. Bring a snack if you think you might be hungry or need to regulate blood sugar during the scheduled time.
Bring or wear hearing aids and corrective lenses if needed.
Assessment is accomplished via interview of the patient/examinee, interview of people who know the patient/examinee if appropriate and with authorization, review of pertinent records, objective tests, and observations of behavior during the process. Testing is usually lengthy, lasting at least a few hours (with breaks or multiple appointments), and as many as 12 hours in rare cases. Tests involve answering questions, trying to pay attention and memorize information, paper and pencil tasks, computerized tasks, and written questionnaires. NCMA uses Neuropsychological Testing Assistants (NTAs) for at least part of the test administration. NTAs must have a bachelor's degree in psychology or related field, with education or training in test design, statistics, and mental measurement.