OK, so you just failed the test and are devastated! You’ve prepared for weeks, spent many hours – and some money – learning the concepts, going over sample questions, and you thought you were ok, that you would pass. So you let a few days go by, get some (well-deserved) encouragement and know that you are going to have to give it another go. Being licensed isn’t optional. You can’t take it again for 90 days, so by then you know your memory will become a little fuzzy. What you have to figure out is what went wrong, and how to fix it. Since you will never find out which questions you answered correctly, and which ones were incorrect, you can’t really learn from the test. What to do?
Not an easy problem to address but there might be some useful things to do. First, being a good social worker, you want to assess before you act. You can buy more books, sign up for a training workshop, but it will be hard to fix the problem until you know what went wrong. Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover important facts:
1- Secretly, that little voice in your head knows some things about what you did that didn’t work. Be honest and write three of them down. A topic that wasn’t ever very clear in your mind, (“I still get those personality disorders mixed up.”) or confusion about operant and respondent conditioning, etc.
2 – Did anxiety derail your focus and concentration?
3- Did you go through the questions way too fast – or too slow?
4 – Were you not really ready to take the test but couldn’t face delaying the date?
5- Did you add assumptions to the question that weren’t supported by the content, and got led astray? “Overthinking” may be a culprit.
So after you figure out as much as you can, construct a solution for each fact on your problem list.
1 – For content or fact problems, “teach the class”. Reduce each topic to five minute segments, stand in front of a mirror and explain and recount each topic simply. You can peek at your notes, until you can do it without looking. It’s like learning your part in a play.
2 – Anxiety: A reasonable response to a pressured task like taking this exam – again. You probably can’t make it (anxiety) go away. After all, it is a signal to warn you that you are in trouble. But you can try to figure out the specific way that it is interrupting or derailing you ability to concentrate, focus, etc. Then you have to find the antidote: for many people, meditation exercises can help.
3- Anxiety can affect your ability to stay focused on a question and tolerate the discomfort of not being confident about choosing the correct answer.
4 – Re-read my earlier blog post, “Am I ready to take the Test?” (2/21/15)
5 – Review our sample questions posted on Facebook ….” – or other sample questions and try to identify if you are staying close to the facts that are given or going off on a tangent. While the strategies in this article can hardly cover all the possible reasons for not passing, I hope this article will make a difference for you.