From my inbox--KC, recent CA exam passer. Thanks and congratulations!
Thanks for your website--really helpful for me in passing the California Written Clinical. Here's what worked for me (and what didn't). I am a pretty anxious person in general, so even under the best circumstances I can get sidetracked by worries that I am "not doing this right," or "what if" type of thinking. I had put off studying and taking the exam several times in the past year due to other factors (major life changes, work, health, etc.), so now my anxiety was really amped up and I had practically developed a test phobia.
Lesson learned: avoidance = increased anxiety. What finally worked for me, along with using the AATBS program, was doing some self-CBT (identifying and evaluating negative automatic thoughts and distortions, gradually exposing/desensitizing myself to the anxiety of studying and getting prep test questions wrong so that towards the end I was spending 2-5 hrs a day studying or taking practice exams, and building in rewards--eg, study one hour, read "Harry Potter" or watch "Mad Men" thirty min.)
I also went for a session of hypnosis in which the hypnotherapist (who had experience working with people taking licensing exams) guided me through relaxation and visualization exercises and gave me a recording of the session to use on my own, which I did frequently. I also cut down on sugar, took a homeopathic supplement called "Calms Forte" to sleep at night, and was moderate with caffeine.
In short, I had to do a lot to get through the first exam, and others may not need to go to such lengths to manage their anxiety. Also, I was lucky to be able to budget in the AATBS and the hypnosis session, but I think I could have found another way to relax (free online guided meditations, write/record my own guided visualization, etc.) had I needed to. Good luck! KC
Made it through the exam? What worked for you? Send in your success story or comment below.
December 10, 2009