Monday, December 18, 2017

How NOT to Pass the California Law & Ethics Exam

So before I dive into the post about how I studied differently to pass the California Law & Ethics exam (LCLE) the second time, let’s first touch upon why I think I failed the first time.

I studied while at home taking care of my second baby and kind of rushed to take the LCLE exam before I went back to my hospice job when he was two months old, but really, the reason why I failed the LCLE I took in February of 2016 is because it was harder than I expected. 

To study, I had reviewed the Law & Ethics online courses I took from the California NASW (the content as well as the mid-course and end-course quizzes), I read through the NASW Code of Ethics, and I took the Law & Ethics SWTP practice exam.  Everything I read through I sort of assessed with a “Yes, ok, sure, I understand” kind of attitude.

Looking back, I have a couple memories of taking my baby on a walk to a local boba tea shop and then almost casually leafing through my printouts of the CA NASW course material – and basically flipping through the Code of Ethics booklet while waiting in the car to pick up my older son – and knowing what I know now, it’s hysterical!  I want to shake myself and say “You fool!  This style of preparation is not adequate!”

Plus, when I would take the SWTP LCLE practice exam a second or third time (trying to go over content again, as well as practicing answering test questions in a timed exam experience), I would easily remember what the right answer was from when I reviewed my wrong answers the first time.  So I learned the right answer to that question, but I didn’t really learn the important concept or the nuance to the question.

On the day of the test, I learned that the LCLE questions were longer than expected – I didn’t manage my time well. I had finished the practice exam with plenty of time to spare, so I was overconfident about my time.

The questions were also harder than expected – just to give one example, let’s imagine there’s a question about a new teenage client of yours reporting an episode of sexual abuse from her previous therapist.  There are so many layers to a question like this! 

  •       You have to think about if this is a situation where you keep confidentiality or break confidentiality—would you have to report it, or would you encourage her to report it? 
  •       If you report, would it be to the police or to the state licensing board or somewhere else? 
  •       If sexual assault is a crime that takes away the victim’s own power and control, do you help give that sense of power and control back to your client and let her make the decision about reporting this or not? 
  •       How much impact does the client’s specific age make?  Does it make a difference that she’s a minor?
  •       How much does it matter that the alleged perpetrator is a therapist? 
  •       How much does it matter if the alleged perpetrator has continued access to minors? 
  •       Which factor is the most important piece that you have to think about here? 
  •       Does that California-specific brochure, aptly named “Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex,” get given out in this instance? 

(... Y’all, I was not prepared for these types of questions.)

Generally, quite a few of the answers seemed to have two right answers, and I had a hard time narrowing them down.  I marked some that I answered but was unsure of, and I also had a list of the unanswered ones that I had skipped.  At the end, I went through all of the marked/unanswered questions – I answered the unanswered ones – and I changed some of the marked but answered ones.

So yes, you can see, this was not a recipe for success.  BUT!  I was successful in the second go around of the LCLE, so come back to read more about that.

Monday, September 11, 2017

That Feeling When You Pass the Social Work Licensing Exam

One way to stay inspired as you're preparing for the social work exam is to soak up all the smiling joy of people who have gone before you and succeeded. Just an Instagramed pass sheet can give a lift. Still better, proud, happy people smiling as they hold up their pass sheets! SWTP posts these regularly on their blog and Facebook. Always great to see. Here's a sampling. Looking forward to seeing yours!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Demoralized… no MORE!

Remember me?  Took the California BBS Law & Ethics exam, failed by one point, then fell off the face of the Earth?


Right around the time I posted last, in May 2016, my family’s childcare situation changed dramatically.  SO I had a lot less help with my two little kids, and therefore significantly less time to study and think about retaking the exam.

I did receive the Board of Behavioral Sciences letter at my PO Box sometime in the summer, giving me permission to register again to retake the exam. By the way, I still received lots of Chase spam mail at the PO Box the entire time, continually tricking me into thinking it was mail from the BBS, so it seems like calling Chase to remove my PO Box address didn't even work.

When I got the letter giving me permission I suppose I felt good that it wasn't lost in the mail and that the process was continuing, but I didn't feel eager or ready to start studying to take it again. 

All you test-preppers out there, you know what this is like. I did not know when I would find the time! Whenever I had babysitters available, there was hospice work to be done, and no free time ever serendipitously emerged for me to study. 

I finally realized after my older son started and adjusted to preschool and we had settled into a routine that I would need to intentionally make some child-free time so I could study and get a move on. Otherwise the winter holidays would approach, the new year would be here, and my test eligibility would expire in February, a year after I failed the LCLE the first time.

My intentional studying took place at a new space I found nearby, which is a quiet co-working center with on-site childcare. I grit my teeth, bought a package, dug my heels in, and got it done. I gave myself a month between when we started at the center (spending about 3 hours there at a time, once or twice a week) and when I scheduled my exam.

I took the BBS Law & Ethics exam (LCLE) in mid November and I PASSED!  Yes it felt good!

Next post I’ll write will discuss how I studied differently to pass this time. Tune in!