Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Advantages of Taking the California Law & Ethics Exam

The Board of Behavioral Sciences (@CalifBBS on Twitter) announced this week that their analysis of the new LCSW Law & Ethics exam is completed.  I’ll find out in the next two weeks or so if I passed and can move on to the ASWB Clinical exam, or if I need to retake the BBS Law & Ethics exam.  More waiting and then more exams!  Are you in a similar situation?

While there might be some understandable frustration about having to take two new exams in California in order to achieve your LCSW, there actually are some benefits to the current 2016 situation.

In fact… you’re lucky to get to take the CA Law & Ethics Exam!  Why?
Image credit Kate McHugh Akbar

First of all, it’s so beneficial that you get a jump-start on studying ethics for the ASWB exam.  The practice exams from SWTP on ethics prepare you for both the Law & Ethics exam and the ASWB – ethics makes up 18% of the clinical ASWB exam, too.

You know what kind of test preparation you did and how well it worked or didn’t work.  Quick study or drawn-out process?  Solo or in a group?  Reading, flash cards, podcasts, practice exams?  Think about any correlation between the efforts you put in and your exam results.

You’re also lucky that you get a preview of what the test-taking experience is like.  When you go to take the ASWB exam (that expensive, 4 hour long exam), you will already have had real-life training with the experience.  It’s not totally new to you—you’ve taken one exam already.

Even the practice of parting with your personal belongings in order to take the test is helpful. Think about it: You give your ID to a stranger to hold on to (a responsible proctor of the test center, but still).  You put your cell phone, watch, wallet, and other personal belongings in a locker and you walk away from them, into a different room, for a few hours, holding on to nothing but your wits. 

It’s a strange experience of paring down, one that we rarely do nowadays in our technology-laden society.  But you?  You’ve done it, no big deal.  You can solely focus on facing the exam and passing it.

However, when you visualize yourself taking the ASWB exam, don’t imagine yourself taking it in the exact same place where you took Law & Ethics.  Why? 

The Board of Behavioral Sciences sponsors the Law & Ethics exams, which are offered at PSI test centers.  The ASWB exams are administered by Pearson VUE—a totally separate vendor.  When you take the ASWB exam, it will be in a different center, possibly a different city, and just a slightly different experience.   

Even though this post is focused on California registrants, the same principles can be applied to anyone who has a multi-exam process in their own state OR anyone who has to retake the ASWB exam.  There are a lot of us out there.

Remember – you have already taken one licensing exam.  You can feel confident that the physical exam experience is familiar to you.  You now can visualize yourself with great accuracy walking into that specific next situation, sitting down at the computer, and passing.

You got this!

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