Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Background of My ASWB Exam Experience

I passed the Law & Ethics exam in November of 2016.  It felt great!  

Then I waited to hear from the BBS giving me permission to register for the ASWB Clinical exam.  Holidays passed and went into the New Year. I waited more.  Still nothing.  I tried to just register on the Pearson VUE (test exam site) and couldn’t.  I wasn’t in a big rush – my part-time job didn’t require me to become an LCSW, and I was still spending a lot of time occupied with my two small boys. 

Finally by April 2017 I decided to call the BBS and inquire why I hadn’t yet received permission to register for the Clinical exam.  Even though people say it’s difficult to have the phone picked up by a real live person, somehow it worked out for me on the first try. 

BBS said they didn’t have any specific reason for the holdup, but said that they would now mail me the permission to register and take next steps.

My PO Box is supposed to notify me via email when I get a new piece of mail.  I never got an email, but did get around to visiting the PO Box in June of 2017, and the letter was there.

I had always assumed that I would have to take the LCSW exam by November 2017, since that was a year’s expiration after passing the prior exam.  However, when I opened up the envelope, I saw that the BBS granted me an eligibility that expired in April 2018!

To my best guess, this is because they only officially served me the notification of my exam eligibility in April of 2017.  I reflected – did I want to procrastinate this process all the way out until April 2017?

NO.  I wanted to be done already.

Similar to the year before, the summer and the start of a new year in preschool for my older son was extra busy and chaotic, but in October I began to feel like there was an opportunity to get it done.

Not only was there a natural lull in life in mid-fall, but I began to feel a crunch of running out of time to study during naptime, as my youngest son approached two.  I was planning to study on the few afternoons a week when my older son was in part-time preschool and my younger son napped.  However, I remembered that my older son began to drop his nap shortly after he turned two. If I needed time during the day to study, naptime was when it happened, and naptime possibly was soon going to be gone.  I kicked studying into gear.

Yes, by the way.  The maternity leave’s ending for my second son which rushed me to take the law and ethics exam… that’s the same son who was about to stop napping, so I rushed to take the clinical exam. That is either an indicator of how long and drawn out I made this process for myself or an indicator of how quickly these children grow up.  Maybe both.

Fear is a great motivator.  Fear of losing the chance for naptime studying motivated me hard.  I started studying, and I’ll share more about how I studied in the next post.  While in early stages of studying, I also looked into the logistics of scheduling the exam.

Tip- after you receive your eligibility, log on to Pearson’s site just to begin to gauge the availability of test slots.  I remember there being several different days and times to select for the Law & Ethics (which is at the PSI exam center), so I thought it would be the same for the LCSW at a Pearson center.  Wrong.

Perhaps a complicating factor in my situation was that the ASWB was going to be changing the format of the Clinical exam slightly starting on January 1, 2018, so maybe extra people were rushing to take (or re-take) the exam in the format in which they were most familiar.

Between my local Pearson test center and the one about 20 miles away … there were only three or four testing times, total, open for the next four months!  This was unexpected and unwelcome news.

I ultimately registered for an exam date in January 2018. However, once a day for a week I kept logging back in to see if any other earlier dates opened up.  I began to see other dates becoming available that were earlier but wouldn’t work with my schedule. My best guess is that people register for a certain date, but because there is no fee to change the exam day as long as you do it within a certain time frame ahead of the exam, you can change it.  People postpone their time slots if they’re not feeling ready, and then those exam times become available for anyone else. 

One day while checking I saw an exam time open in late November at my very local and convenient Pearson VUE center.  I booked it.  It was official!  I was going to be taking (and hopefully passing) the ASWB clinical exam!

Did I pass that?  Spoiler alert, yes.  Next post, learn how!

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