Coronavirus: Preparing for your Exam and Managing Anxiety

By Robin Gluck on March 17, 2020

Beautiful lake with mountains and fog

First and foremost, everyone at TDC wishes you good health during this time. 

There is a lot of uncertainty as we navigate this novel virus and we are well aware of the profound impact it is having on everyone. While we remain hopeful things will settle and become more predictable in the near future, we thought it would be helpful to provide resources and information to:

  1. Help you stay abreast of any changes with your testing sites
  2. Identify best study practices due to Pearson’s delay
  3. Offer some guidance to manage your anxiety 

Testing Site Information

Pearson Vue is the testing vendor for all California MFT exams as well as Social Work exams nationwide. They are providing updates on a daily basis regarding possible cancellations, safety concerns, and testing policies. You can access this information on their website:

https://home.pearsonvue.com/coronavirus-update

If you are taking the National MFT exam, you will need to check with PTC and Prometric:

https://ptcny.com/ptc-update-coronavirus-outbreak/

https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update

Please check with your state’s licensing board if you have questions regarding extensions on expiration dates/testing deadlines.

Identify best study practices for your situation.

Postponing exam.

It is uncertain whether Pearson will be able to reopen April 16th or whether this will be extended longer. It is also unknown what scheduling will be like when it reopens. We know everyone’s personal lives and responsibilities look different right now. If there are other priorities or if the uncertainty is overwhelming you, consider putting your studies on hold. Remember we always provide extensions free of charge if you haven’t taken your exam. If you need an extension, submit your request here:

Working on a deadline.

Hold off on taking your final mocks until your exam date nears. However, be sure to complete all mocks with 3-4 days remaining before your exam date to allow adequate time to review.

 

I was ready to test. What do I do now?

There are many people who were scheduled to take the exam over the next few weeks and completed most of the program, including mocks. If you are in this situation, we recommend you spend a little bit of time each week reviewing your materials. You can review based on the areas you’re struggling with, or can start back at step 1 and move through the steps of the program up until the mocks. It would be best to stay away from the mocks until closer to your exam date. This will allow you to pace yourself and continue to feel connected to the knowledge you’ve gained during your studies. Holding off on the mocks will allow you to practice and enhance your reasoning skills when you are closer to your exam date.

Once testing centers re-open and you are able to schedule your new exam date, you can dive back into your studies with greater intensity. We will also update this blog to provide further guidance as the dynamics shift. If you’ve already taken all of your mocks please see the next section on retaking them.

Retaking mocks. 

In general, we do not recommend retaking mock exams, as improvements are more often than not due to memorization of answers (which is not what we want) rather than true learning. Instead of retaking these exams, we recommend giving yourself the opportunity to thoroughly review your mock exams and make sure you understand the reasoning behind the correct answers. As you review the rationales, keep a list going of any content areas you want to brush up on (the recall questions you missed). More importantly, though, see if you can identify patterns as to what you are getting wrong and why. See if you can identify what led you to the answer you chose and what you need to modify in your thinking in similar questions moving forward. For example, do you tend to choose answers that are action-oriented when the test is wanting you to stay in the moment with the client and respond more to their process/feelings?  Or on the other end, are you tending to choose answers that sound good because they involve feelings when the test actually wants you to respond actively to something directly in the question?


That being said, we know there are still people who will want to retake their mocks. To have your mocks reset, please submit a request to help@therapistdevelopmentcenter.com and they can process your reset. Please note this will be limited to one time per user. With the uncertainty of when testing sites will reopen, we encourage you to consider waiting to take your mocks until you have a scheduled exam date. If you have not already taken your mocks, please save them as resets will not be processed for mocks taken after today, March 17th.

Anxiety Management

Anxiety is inevitable, but it’s important to keep anxiety manageable. What are some concrete steps you can take at this time to manage anxiety?

 

  • Do not over study. Most people are spending more time at home over the next few weeks. Even if you are homebound, it’s still important to limit the amount of time you study. Spend no more than 2 hours studying before taking a break. If you go beyond this time limit, you will not effectively absorb or retain information. Moderation will allow you to use your time efficiently and allow you to feel more confident in your knowledge.

 

  • Build up self-care. Be creative. It’s important to still engage in activities that will keep you socially connected and bring you joy. Here are a few suggestions some TDC team members are practicing right now. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments section, too! 
    • Stay in touch with your loved us even if it is over video. relationships and meaningful connections help during these times.
    • Find a fun project at home. This might be the time to tidy up that garage or reorganize the closet, or take up knitting.
    • Join a virtual book club to both stay connected and occupy your mind.

 

 

  • Build tolerance for uncertainty. A greater ability to tolerate uncertainty is linked to lower levels of anxiety. Take little steps to work on building your tolerance. Consider holding off on finding an answer to a question you have, don’t immediately look it up online or call a friend. Tolerate not knowing for a little while longer. Take a walk or a drive without a particular destination in mind. Read a book or watch a show without knowing what it’s even about or reviews received.

 

  • Exercise. Take the time to engage in some form of exercise on a daily basis. This could consist of taking a walk, biking, running, yoga. Even if you can only do something for a few minutes, that short time can help decrease anxiety.

 

  • Eat healthy (with exceptions). We recognize this might be a difficult task as shelf stores are frequently empty. But, do the best you can and still try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. And, if you want to treat yourself to ice cream or some other sweet here or there, that is ok, too.

 

  • Manage your physical health. If you are feeling sick, please be sure to take good care of yourself. Studying can be put on hold if necessary, don’t push yourself if your body is unable to handle it. Get sufficient sleep, practice relaxation, eat healthy, enjoy nature. If you have more serious health concerns, please reach out to your medical team.

 

  • Receive professional support. If your anxiety is overwhelming you and you cannot get it under control on your own, please reach out to a mental health professional. Many are providing telehealth during this time, so even if you are remaining in the home, resources are available.

We’re here for you.

TDC coaches, as always, are available via email to answer any questions you may have during this time. We will continue to update this document to answer frequently asked questions and provide any updates we are made aware of in the days and weeks to come.

Please take care of yourself.

 

 


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31 Responses to “Coronavirus: Preparing for your Exam and Managing Anxiety”

  1. Samantha Lopez

    Thank you for the info it is very helpful. Pearson mentioned they are or might be refunding payment. I hope they do not do that as that could delay test taking further if we have to re apply for the exam with the BBS. I would prefer they just keep the payment so when Pearson re opens I do not have to re apply to the BBS to take the exam.

    Reply
    • Robin Gluck

      Glad the information was helpful. If we learn more about refunds, we will be sure to share!

      Reply
  2. Emily T

    Thank you so much for writing this! The test taking process has been anxiety making enough, and I was unable to get a clear answer from Prometric until reading this. I didn’t know about the 30 days! I feel like I had such a good study groove, and it’s been thrown off. I appreciate you taking the time to compile these tips for a reset! Yay TDC!

    Reply
  3. Julie L

    Thank you!!! Thinking about when I’ll actually be able to take the exam had me more anxious than anything else!

    Reply
  4. Shara Duncan

    I truly appreciate your posting this info and for providing so much encouragement. I was not aware of the planned closures, but understand them. I believe that “this too shall pass” and look forward to both testing orgs reopening so we can show off what TDC taught us!!

    Reply
  5. Sharta Willis

    Thank you for this update, this truly helped me think things through in this time of chaos!

    Reply
  6. Lita B

    I was on track to take the clinical exam at the end of April and then go on a much needed Florida beach vacation in early May. Now, my whole plan has come to a screeching halt. I checked the ASWB website for information and all testing delivery is on hold until April 16. I am learning to live one day at a time and project no further than two weeks at a time. I am thankful for the straightforward guidance provided by TDC.

    Reply
  7. Tiffany Altamirano

    Thank you for posting all this valuable information. I was on such a good study routine until all the news broke through. I live in Santa Clara and with raising in cases of the virus alone has heightened my anxiety and my ability to focus. Recently, my studying has come to stop, as I try to navigate three little ones home from school. I’m worried I will forget everything I learned, thus far. I was wrapping up theories before I stopped studying. After reading your post, I feel encouraged to pace myself and study a few hours a day. Thank you for the tips and kind words. I know we are all in this together!

    Reply
  8. Tim

    This was a great read and validating to me as it was a huge blow when I discovered my test date of 3/19/20 was placed on hold. I discovered that a colleague of mine barely scraped by and was able to take the test 3/18. I am still wondering, if everyone else is being sent home, why we can’t take our tests from home? (Totally joking). Keep strong and thanks for the information and enlightenment!

    Reply
  9. Milagros Serrano

    This is a great opportunity to practice our patience and hope for the best. More time to enjoy studying, family and ourselves. Have fun and be created my dear colleagues.

    Reply
  10. Beatrice

    This information is very helpful. When I saw the email that they canceled exams I did not even bother to open my computer to do anything because my exam supposed to be on 24th of march, so when I got the email I was so furious but later I realised that all things works together for good and delay is not a denial. I’m grateful that you can reset the final mock and give us extension. Your program have been so helpful . After my Lmsw I’m looking forward to use your program for my lcsw. Thanks so much for all the information and encouragement.

    Reply
  11. Lilly Rosado

    Thanks for the helpful information and encouragement. Trying to stay focused during these uncertain times.

    Reply
  12. Shawnetta Yahtin

    Thank you. This is very helpful to have during this pandemic. I am doing good with doing self-care and study in chunks to keep on track for next test date.

    Reply
  13. E.S. Edmunds

    I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such a helpful program to study for our exams. My materials were sent to the BBS months ago in preparation of taking the MFT exam in CA and I was just waiting to hear back. Obviously with these recent events, exam taking will be delayed for everyone. Nonetheless, TDC’s study program along with encouraging and practical messaging during this time of uncertainty has been greatly appreciated. Thank you. I look forward to one day taking my MFT exam, passing and thanking you all again for your support! To all the staff at TDC – thank you and be well. E.S. Edmunds

    Reply
  14. Cynthia

    I just received my provisional clinical social worker license. As stated good for one year. Will our license be extended due to the closing of ASWB testing centers?

    Reply
    • Robin Gluck

      Hi Cynthia, Good question. You would need to check with your state licensing board, as they would make this determination based on regulations and any government waivers. Take good care.

      Reply
  15. Msb

    Even though I have not taken the exam yet…
    I LOVE YOU TDC!
    This alone help reduce my anxiety.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  16. Lisa Adams

    Thanks for this information. I was wondering how long in advance will we be made aware that the exam will be rescheduled? My exam is not until April 20th and I understand at this point the testing sites are only closed until April 16th. Just trying to make my study plans.

    Reply
    • Maria Reyes

      Hello,
      I am in the same boat as you. I have my test scheduled for 4/23/20 and today 4/6/20 I received an email from Pearson stating my test will need to be rescheduled. I did see that testing sites are closed till April 16. So what do we do now?

      Reply
      • Lisa Adams

        Good morning. It took me a while to reach somebody but I am going to go ahead and reschedule mine for July.

        Reply
  17. Nicholas Collins

    Thanks for your posting in response to the virus and how it is changing testing and our lives in general. I appreciate the TDC’s advice and I am so excited to take my LMSW exam, whenever it is safe to do that.

    Nice to know I’m not the only one that is upset about not taking the exam!
    Stay safe out there

    Reply
    • Crystal Chow

      I am so glad you post the information re the covid 19 and how it affected the exams . I’m sf , I can’t find any exam sites even up to august . I was scheduled to take in on 4/20 but pearsonvue rescheduled my exam to 5/20 but in Minnesota without an exact address so I cancel that exam and will check my account to reschedule again I the near future .

      Reply
  18. David Field

    Thank you for publishing these tips for help with our exams during COVID-19. It has been a stressful and unusual time and I’m grateful to everyone at TDC for their continued support as I go through my exam process. I’m looking forward to passing and hope that the test centers will be open in June. Until then, its nice to have the blog to refer to especially when it comes to my anxiety. I most always need help in this area. Thanks everyone and stay safe! David

    Reply
  19. Jill Wynne

    Thank you so much for all of this – it is incredibly helpful & thank you for allowing me an extension to study. I really appreciate all of these amazing tips.

    Reply
  20. Donna Fair

    This update answered so many questions. Thanks for your support. Awesome!!!

    Reply
    • Robin Gluck

      Wonderful to hear! Please check out our newest update that will be posted later on today!

      Reply
  21. Kathleen Harvey

    I’m taking the National exam May 13. I checked today and it is still on. I plan to take the two mock exams this week and next week. I have been trying to manage my anxiety tho it is hard at times. I study 90 mins to two hours a day. Yesterday I read an entire book I just needed a break. I’ve been preparing for many months. I hope I will pass.

    Reply
  22. Nicole

    Thank you for the encouragement and reassurance during this difficult time. I had so many hurdles to jump through to just get approved to register for the exam (i.e. requirements I didn’t know about). I finally met all of my requirements, and then this stay at home order was put in place, so there goes registering for the exam! No doubt it has been a frustrating process. I do have hope, though, and I’m grateful to have this study resource that isn’t just a knowledge resource but also a support resource as well. I am registering for the exam today and I am going to ease my way back into studying, as it’s been months since I’ve done so. As I said, I have hope. I appreciate all of the advice in this blog post. It emphasizes that we’re all in this together. It really helped.

    Reply
  23. Hector

    What a roller-coaster it has been for me. My test has gotten pushed out to November now and I so ready to take this test again and pass it. I have been trying to take the mock tests and I find myself not retaining the information without having anxiety. I feel like no matter what I have done it still blocks my brain and I can’t get it right. I am going to start reading the quick study and focus on that for now. I have like 6 months to take the test. I need to focus on what I have forgotten when I was in school. I am thankful that I am not the only one feeling this way and reading your tips has made me feel more confident and more focused. I got this!

    Reply
  24. Yvette

    I was scheduled to take my exam in April! I was just about to take my Mocks when all this uncertainty hit. I was so stressed as I was also laid off for a month. I am scheduled to take my exam tomorrow at 8am! I reviewed for 5 weeks. I’m not sure if I’m ready, but did not want to postpone it again. It’s been so difficult trying to study and retain info. I’m going to give it my best ! That’s all I can do.

    Reply
  25. Irma

    Thank you for the tips. I liked the tips for building tolerance for uncertainty! Love you guys!

    Reply

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