How To Reduce Anxiety and Stay Motivated During Your ASWB Exam Preparation

How To Reduce Anxiety and Stay Motivated During Your ASWB Exam Preparation

Studying for your ASWB exam is a lengthy and sometimes stressful process. It’s important that you have the right strategies to understand and manage your anxiety and stay motivated through your studying and your test day!

What Does Test Anxiety Look Like?

If you suffer from test anxiety, you could experience various bodily symptoms, including an upset stomach, sweaty palms, a racing heart, and other similar sensations. You may also have trouble recalling information and thinking clearly. You may feel like your mind goes blank when trying to answer questions.

Engage in Mindfulness and Meditation

Each time you sit down to study, take a few minutes to practice a relaxation technique. Find a method that serves you well and stick with it. Counting your breaths, practicing progressive muscular relaxation, engaging in guided imagery, or reciting a mantra could all be examples of this. Be sure to practice this regularly so you will be able to use these skills on test day.

Listen to Your Body and Mind

Pay attention to your bodily cues. If you are becoming burnt out, unfocused, or unproductive, it is time to take a break. Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and become aware of what’s happening in your body and mind.

Self-Care is Essential

Take care of yourself. It is essential that you make time in your schedule for self-care. If you are not in good mental and physical health, neither your mind nor your body will be able to perform to their full potential.

Key Tips to Prepare Before the Exam

  1. Put things in perspective. Remind yourself that your upcoming exam is important, but your entire future does not hinge on these four hours. Give it your all, and have faith in your abilities.
  2. Remind yourself of past successes. When you hear about the experiences of other test-takers, whether they passed or failed the exam, it can be easy to lose perspective. Remember the times that you did well on tests or projects in the past.
  3. Don’t give a test the power to define you. This exam does not define your worth as a social worker. Your performance on an exam is primarily determined by how well you prepared for it in terms of studying, how well you can apply what you’ve learned, and the test-taking strategies that you use.
  4. Visualize completing the test successfully despite your anxiety. Using vivid images, play the entire “tape” in your mind – from the moment you wake up on the day of the exam to the moment you finish the exam.
  5. Remind yourself that a certain level of anxiety is actually helpful in performing your best. And remember, you can always use anxiety control strategies to moderate your anxiety level if it becomes excessive.
  6. Give yourself practice tests and use them not only to work on your test-taking but also to practice controlling your anxiety level. While you are going through the practice questions, keep track of how anxious you are feeling. What specific kinds of questions or circumstances tend to make you anxious? Perform timed practice questions if you are concerned that you won’t be able to complete the exam in the allotted amount of time.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep for several days before the exam. Your capacity to think clearly and your ability to manage anxiety will both increase if you get a good amount of sleep. You might try imagining yourself as a professional athlete: ask yourself how you would mentally and physically prepare for an important game. Doing a moderate workout early in the evening (5:00 or 6:00) may help you sleep more soundly at night. If you often have trouble sleeping, consult your physician.
  8. High anxiety can increase the impact of caffeine, so on test days, reduce your intake.

How to Stay Motivated in Your Studying

It’s possible that studying for this test will wear you out! It is not always easy to keep up your motivation and find the stamina to make it all the way to the end of a challenging task. As the day of the test draws closer, you could discover that your motivation wanes. This is most likely due to study burnout.

Key Tips to Stay Motivated With Your Studying

  1. Every day is a new day! Every day is a chance to start again and do things differently. Do not wallow in the past or drive yourself down by constantly thinking about the failures you’ve overcome in the past. Use obstacles and roadblocks to dig deeper and push harder.
  2. Treat yourself! Create a reward for yourself after a certain amount of study sessions.
  3. Write down your “why” Think about why you want to take and PASS this exam. Put this note somewhere visible as a constant reminder to keep pushing forward even when it’s challenging.
  4. Accountability Partner. Find a study buddy or accountability partner with whom you can check in with regularly and help motivate you. This does not necessarily have to be a social work colleague, just someone who is supportive and can keep you on track toward your goal (coworker, spouse, pattern, friend, roommate).
  5. Change it up! Sometimes we need a change to keep our brains interested. Changing things up can help give you a fresh perspective on studying. This may mean changing where you study (different room or location), the time of day you study, or the modality you study with (adding in audio, visual, reading, etc.).
  6. Study/Life balance: Keep in mind that even if you are in exam mode, you still have a life outside of school and that it is crucial to strike a balance between studying and the other important activities in your life. Make sure that the needs of your life and the demands of your studies are prioritized appropriately.

Learn more about how to manage test anxiety and supercharge your study motivation in our video:



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About the Instructor, Meagan Mitchell: Meagan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been providing individualized and group test prep for the ASWB for over five years. From all of this experience helping others pass their exams, she created the Agents of Change course to help you prepare for and pass the ASWB exam!

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Disclaimer: This content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment