Taking the ASWB Exam Again

Retaking the ASWB exam may feel a bit intimidating, but it is possible to improve your performance and score.  Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get the score that you wanted; focus your energy on figuring out what you struggled with and work on mastering these areas.  Everyone is unique and takes tests differently. It may be helpful for you to think about how your personal test taking habits can help or hinder you from passing the ASWB exam. The following tips may help you determine what strategies you may need to employ to pass the social work licensing exam.

Set aside enough time to adequately prepare for the exam

It is not uncommon for ASWB test takers to underestimate the time that they will need to spend studying and preparing for the exam. Many of the individuals taking the ASWB test are working full time and may not feel that they have much extra time to devote to studying. They may not be able to commit to blocking off a few hours each day to study for the exam. It is important to know how much time you will be able to spend preparing for the test and adjust your plan accordingly. Most people find that they need at least one month of solid study time to sufficiently prepare for the exam. You may need even more time if you can’t commit to studying every day for a substantial amount of time. It’s much better to give yourself the time you need to study and be able to take the exam with confidence than to jump in and take it without ample preparation.

Make sure you are reviewing the right material

It won’t help you very much to spend time studying material that won’t be on the actual ASWB exam. The first step in determining what you need to study is to find out what topic areas will be included on the exam. The ASWB provides this information on its website. Go to www.aswb.org to find an outline of these topics.

It is also important to get a good study guide to help you prepare for the ASWB test. Comprehensive study guides like The Complete Guide to Social Work contain the information that you need to study along with practice test questions that can help you build your test taking skills while refreshing your knowledge about the topic.  You can also use the feedback that was provided to you after taking the test to find out what areas you may need to focus on. Concentrate on practicing the types of questions that gave you trouble in the past. This may be the key to mastering the exam in the future.

Set a timer

If you ran out of time during the test, it may be helpful to time yourself when you are practicing for the exam. In order to finish the exam within the allotted timeframe, you can spend up to 1.5 minutes on each question. Obviously some questions are going to take you longer than others, but keeping the 1.5 minute average rule in mind can help you keep your pace when you are struggling with tough questions.

Maybe you ran out of time because you got distracted. Most people will agree that 4 hours is a long time to sit still while doing anything much less taking a test.  Just like extended exercising builds up your physical endurance, timed studying can help train your body and your mind to stay focused for longer periods of time. Although you may not be able to spend the full 4 hours studying every day, be sure to do as many full length practice sessions as possible in order to increase the endurance of your focus.

Whatever you do, don’t panic

Having to retake the exam may make you feel a little anxious. This is a completely normal response. It can be scary to retry things that you’ve struggled with in the past. However, your past experiences can also work to your advantage. First of all, you’ve already taken the test! You already know what to expect. This is a wonderful advantage to have because it can help you to feel more comfortable with the test questions and the test setting. Another thing to remember is that you have the opportunity to be better prepared this time around. You now know what areas you need to work on and how much time it will take you to properly study for the exam. Have confidence that you have the tools, resources, and knowledge that you need to go into the exam well prepared and ready to succeed.