Preparing for the exam can seem an overwhelming and daunting task.
Here’s some good news: To succeed, you just need to know (and understand and memorize) the basic facts about a lot of stuff. You do not need to go deep, or show how smart and complex your analytical skills can be.
Now the not such good news: Yes, the exam content is very broad. While the exam content isn’t deep, you will need to learn and recognize concepts that you never had in class and do not use at your job.
The even better news: It is possible to both learn and memorize large amounts of information using a simple technique.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Repetition really works. Students will read, listen to audio tapes, answer many, many practice questions in an effort to review and understand information that is included on the exam. You can find a complete topic list in the ASWB Study Guide. After reviewing the guide, many feel confident that they know the information well. Often, though, an additional strategy is needed to actually commit this information to memory. Being just “familiar” with a concept or fact may not be adequate to produce it rapidly when you are sitting in the exam room. After all, it needs to “stick” to be available, even weeks after you have learned it. You don’t want to go over practice questions and discover that the answer is just out of reach.
Think of a phone number, or perhaps a recipe that you have made a dozen times and never have to look up. How did this information get permanently lodged in your brain? The key to verifiable memory storage is yes, repetition. If a friend asks you to remember a 10 digit phone number, and you have no way to write it down or enter it into a device, what will you automatically do? You will say it over and over and over. In a similar way, repeating the information out loud will get you to the point where if days later someone asks “What’s the name of the defense mechanism? you won’t even have to think about it, the answer will just pop up. Writing it over and over works, too. I like to think that each person has a specific number, the number of times that once something is repeated, they’ve got it stored and readily available. What’s your number? See if you can figure it out and use it to be able verify what you really know. I think I finally understand why teachers used to make a student write a phrase a hundred times on the blackboard to change a behavior!
Here’s the PassItPro Pointer:
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Do it over several days, then less frequently but don’t let it go cold over the duration of your exam preparation period. Our online course can also help you identify key areas of study so you can focus on your efforts and key content and identified problem areas.
Idelle Datlof, Founder, MSW, LISW