Effective time management is a critical factor for success in any standardized test--that includes the ASWB exam. Efficiently managing your time during the exam ensures that you can allocate sufficient attention to each question and complete the exam within the given timeframe. (The test is generally four hours--more time is available when you apply for accommodations.) Here are some effective time management strategies to try as you prepare to pass the social work licensing exam.

  • Understand the Exam Structure. Before the exam, familiarize yourself with the structure and the time allocated for each section. The ASWB exam has 170 questions taken over a standard 4-hour timeframe--that’s an average of about 1.4 minutes per question. This awareness will help you set realistic time goals for each section.
  • Practice with Timed Mock Exams. Incorporate full-length, timed practice exams into your study routine, focusing on finishing within the timeframe you'll be facing on the real thing. This allows you to become familiar with the pacing required to complete the exam on time. As you practice, aim to improve your efficiency and accuracy, so you can confidently handle the exam within the allocated timeframe.
  • Develop Pacing That Works for You. Adopt question-pacing techniques to effectively manage your time during the exam. For more challenging questions, avoid spending excessive time deliberating. Instead, make an educated guess, flag the question for later review, and move forward. This approach ensures that you make progress while ensuring you have ample time for review.
  • Utilize Review Time Strategically. With a 4-hour timeframe, aim to allocate a portion of that time for reviewing flagged questions. Try to leave around 20 minutes reviewing and revisiting challenging questions. Prioritize the flagged questions and allocate time accordingly. 
  • Stay Focused and Manage Stress. Maintaining focus throughout the exam is crucial for effective time management. Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or visualization to help you stay centered and reduce anxiety. Avoid fixating on the clock and instead concentrate on one question at a time. By managing stress and staying focused, you can make better decisions, avoid unnecessary time wastage, and maintain a steady pace.
  • Take Care of Yourself. Your overall well-being plays a vital role in your ability to manage time effectively. Prioritize self-care during your exam preparation period. Get restful sleep, eat nutritious meals, and engage in physical activity or relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels. By taking care of your physical and mental health, you optimize your cognitive abilities and improve your overall performance during the exam.

By implementing these strategies, you can maximize your chances of success. You’ll get licensed. It’s just a matter of time.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

June 26, 2023