Whether you are preparing to take the LMSW or LCSW exam, if you are anxious about sitting for it you are in good company! Social workers preparing for the exam cope with anxiety in different ways, such as:

  • rushing through study questions and not reading them carefully,
  • changing answers (which usually is a mistake),
  • focusing their study on topics they like rather than those they need to know, and
  • taking reams of study questions, (some of which are poorly written).

These anxiety-driven study methods led Ventajas to develop an approach to question- deconstruction that allows the exam-taker to focus on a task or strategy rather than on their nervousness. This approach is based on brain research. Anxiety lives in the amygdala…the part of the brain that controls the body’s fight or flight mechanism. When people learn to focus their attention on something other than the nervousness, their energy moves to the frontal lobe of the brain and away from the anxiety-producing amygdala. Now work can begin!

Deconstructing questions requires focus! Thus, when using the techniques found in our study materials, exam-takers can lower the stress associated with studying. In addition to a strategy for success, we at Ventajas acknowledge that exam-anxiety is natural!  Here are three ways to reframe your thinking about the emotions that often accompany this exam.

  1. This is a high stakes venture! Some social workers jobs depend on obtaining a license. Others entering the job market for the first time, want to increase their chances of landing higher paying jobs by having their license in tow. It is ok to feel pressure about your performance on this endeavor.
  2. It may not be your fault that you are anxious. Research is being done to confirm the premise that anxiety is hereditary.
  3. Create a method for coping with your anxiety. In other words, what reduces your angst? The cycle of anxiety is worry > reinforcement > more worry. Do something to interrupt the cycle. Self-talk helps. Repeat positive messages. One lady reported wearing a rubber band and snapping it whenever she started feeling anxious. Other social workers have shared deep breathing techniques. Several college students added that drinking a beer helps lower their nervousness…we would suggest not too many or it can impair the ability to focus! Music has proven to be effective in helping people to relax and concentrate.
    In sum, that demon called anxiety that appears when we need to do something important (and for some life-changing), can be tamed. First, realize that it is a normal response to a high stakes venture. Next accept the possibility that your anxiety may be hereditary. And finally find a way to approach or cope with your anxiety.

In closing, remember that Ventajas has numerous study preparation guides that teach readers how to break down questions and increase the chance of selecting the correct response. Visit our website to learn more. Thanks for following our blog and please come back next month!