Why are there instructions or guides on study strategies? Well, we all have different ways of studying. Many social workers who fail, may not know study strategies that are necessary for success on the exam. The ASWB content outline is extensive and covers a lot of areas some that may be unfamiliar. Studying for the exam requires a high level of motivation. The information might appear overwhelming and often when studying social workers may get frustrated and begin to doubt whether they will pass. For these social workers, learning study strategies can improve their chances of passing. For others, it takes a little boost of self-esteem and motivation.
Schedule Your Exam
Register and sit for the exam at least three (3) months ahead depending on your readiness. My suggestion is, if you just completed college, take the exam right away while the information remains fresh in your memory. Giving yourself the most 3 months to prepare will help avoid undue stress.
Develop A Study Plan
During your preparation, it is important to develop a personalized study plan; this creates structure and less anxiety. This guide comes with a customized study plan to get you started. The study plan along with our reflection journal can be used as a checklist of what you know, what you need to know and what you have learned. You are also able to plan your studying overtime with the hours and date you studied and include learning materials and activities used to enhance retention. See this as a way of identifying the best method that works for you. Planning also involves organizing your study space in a conducive environment that is private with no distractions (e.g., the library). Another good idea when formulating your study plan is to use a pencil. Keep in mind that things can change, or you may find that you can improve your study plan to best fit your needs. Remember, a good study plan is flexible; you don’t have to stick to one topic, you may lose focus and want to switch topics. It’s OK. Do what works for you.
Find a study time that works best for you
Try to study during your best time of the day, whether you are a morning, afternoon, evening or night person, study when you are most upbeat. If you are too busy and finding it difficult to find time to study, ask yourself, how important is this exam? I agree that you have commitments which may interfere with your study time. Try creating a timetable that lists all your commitments including the time to take care of yourself; you can use a calendar to work out days and times you are available.
Study Smarter, Not Longer
You may think that it is best to study for long hours. However, this is counterproductive and does not guarantee you to pass. The goal is to study smarter not longer. An average person can only pay attention for 20 – 30 minutes, therefore, try to space out your studying time. An effective way of studying is called spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is focusing on the smaller amount of information over a period of time. This avoids cramming the information all at once and instead helps the content to stick.
Never try to cram. Cramming may overload your brain which makes it difficult to understand what you’re studying. It also leads to very poor retention; your goal is to strengthen long-term retention.
Finding Your Style, become aware of how you learn best.
There is no one style or ways of studying that will work for everyone. To further reinforce and retain reading materials, some social workers find it helpful to use flashcards and rewriting their notes in outlines instead of typing it. Researchers agreed that this is the most effective method of remembering information. They may also highlight specific terms or statements to formulate practice questions. Though the content outlines are extensive; focus on what you don’t know; do not spend most of your time on materials that you already know. You can be flexible in your learning style. You may use YouTube, color-coded flashcards, discussions, mnemonics, acronyms or listen to audio recordings.