The ASWB exam is a natural source of anxiety for many social workers. It's big, it's expensive, and it's not particularly easy. But you can pass it. Learn the material, run practice tests, take some simple steps to manage your test anxiety--all improve your chances of success. Some tips for anxiety reduction:
Identify your triggers
What makes you feel anxious about the exam? Is it the thought of not knowing the material? The fear of failing? Once you know your triggers, you can start to develop strategies to cope with them. Like you do with clients, tests fears against the evidence. You're fears most are most likely outsized (fears very often are!).
Visualizing success can help you stay focused and motivated before and during the exam. Picture yourself doing well on the exam and achieving your goals. This will help you stay positive and confident.
Practice relaxation techniques
Don't be shy. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. Practice these techniques regularly in the weeks leading up to the exam so that you can use them on the day of the test.
Getting enough sleep is essential for managing test anxiety. Well-rested, you'll be better able to focus and concentrate on the exam. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep the night before the exam. (And if that doesn't happen, don't worry--you'll summon the needed focus in the moment!)
Eating a healthy breakfast on the day of the exam will give you the energy you need to tackle the ASWB exams 170 questions. Avoid sugary or processed foods. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are your friends.
Give yourself time to relax and collect your thoughts before the test begins. Arriving early helps you avoid feeling rushed or stressed. Around 30 minutes before the exam is scheduled to begin is ideal.
If you start to feel anxious during the exam, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you're prepared and you can do this. Stretch a little bit in your chair, get your blood flowing...then jump back in, ready for the next batch of questions.
Don't compare yourself to others
It's important to remember that everyone takes the exam at their own pace. Don't compare yourself to others or worry about what they're doing. Focus on your own exam, question by question, answer by answer.
Celebrate your success
After the exam, take some time to celebrate your success. You've worked hard, you deserve acknowledgement and thanks (even if it's just from yourself!). Whether you pass or fail, be proud of yourself for taking the exam and for your efforts.
Any (or all) of these can help you decrease exam anxiety, stay focused, and get to that hard-sought PASS. You've got this!
Happy studying and good luck on the exam!