What Should You Do if you Fail Your LMSW or LCSW ASWB Exam?

What Should You Do if you Fail Your LMSW or LCSW ASWB Exam?

How You Can Bounce Back After Failing the LMSW or LCSW ASWB Exam

Failing your LCSW or LMSW ASWB exam can be very discouraging.  However, it can also be a learning experience that sets you up to pass the exam the next time around.  

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill

First, visit the ASWB resources page to learn about the 90-day waiting period and your next steps: https://www.aswb.org/exam/exam-scoring/if-you-fail-the-exam/

Consider Your Knowledge and Any Gaps You Have:

  1. What topics did you not feel prepared for? Write these down and spend time studying (or re-studying) the content.  Agents of Change has created many Social Work Shorts on YouTube that you can take advantage of to build your knowledge in these areas.
  2. What did you see more of than you expected on the exam?
  3. What types of questions did you struggle with? Did you struggle with recall questions or FIRST, NEXT, BEST questions? The best way to build your confidence is to review more questions that challenge you with a strategy to break them down. Application and reasoning questions require critical thinking skills that goes beyond the study content. 

Evaluate Your Study Approach and Materials:

  1. Do I have the right (or any?) study materials?  Study materials are a critical part of preparing for any exam and especially the LMSW and LCSW ASWB exams.
  2. Also, just because you failed using one particular set of materials doesn’t mean that you have to throw out everything from that tool! Were there parts of those materials that you didn’t use completely or skipped over? Identify what worked or didn’t work from that resource.
  3. Do my study materials match my learning style? The same study materials won’t work for every single student.  Do you prefer audio, visual, or textual study materials?  Do you learn by listening or learn by doing?  Pick or add a set of study materials that match your learning style.
  4. Do I need supplemental support from a tutor? Often, a few sessions with a tutor can help you see gaps in your own understanding that you wouldn’t notice otherwise.  If you don’t feel you’re making enough progress by yourself, I often suggest tutoring to jumpstart your progress.
  5. Your journey is yours! Just because an approach worked for one person on Facebook doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. We all prepare for and take tests differently.

Finally, a few tips I recommend to all Agents of Change students:

  • Purchase the ASWB practice test and take it a few weeks before your exam date. Take it as seriously as you would the actual exam.  Pay attention to what areas you need to study more before you take the real thing!
  • Reset! Once you’ve processed your failure and learned from it, I always suggest that people “reset.”  You don’t want to be thinking about your past failure when you enter the exam again.  Process and move on! Enter the exam as if this were your first time.

Learn more in this video:


► Learn more about the Agents of Change course here: https://agentsofchangeprep.com

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!

Find more from Agents of Change here:

► Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aswbtestprep

► Podcast: https://anchor.fm/agents-of-change-sw

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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