Vignette Prep Help

California Flag

This applies only to the CA vignette exam. The thing about the vignette exam is that it's complicated.  Long vignettes, groups of long, similar answers.  Typical result while studying:  dizziness, confusion, frustration.  Solution:  Slow down. You can try just winging it; not recommended.  Better to be extremely deliberate with this one.  

First, adopt a rating system (0-2 if you're AATBSing, checks, plus/minus, or other symbols if you're not).   Then apply--run practice questions and exams online, rate each answer in each answer set. Then comes the part you may be tempted to skip:  Look at the rationales given by the test-prep course for how they got to the right answer.  How did they rate each answer part?  Are your zeros (or checks or plus/minuses or whatever) the same as what they came up with?  If not, why not?  Checking against the test-prep course this way is laborious and not a lot of fun.  But it works.

You're not learning content for the second CA exam.  You already know the content--that's how you got through the first exam.  You also know how to get yourself through a long exam--this one's only half of the first--a mere two hours.  What you're learning this time is how to best approach this very peculiar test.  It's probably unlike any you've ever taken.  But it's very doable.  You can pass.  There are people passing every day.

So:  Rate, check ratings, repeat.  Result:  Less dizziness, more licensure. Good luck!

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Eva: Vignette Success Story

Congratulations to SWTP reader Eva, who passed the California Clinical Vignette exam earlier this week. Here, some emails that preceded exam time, and an explanation of how she made it happen: Hi, I was glad to find your site - it was helpful in preparing and passing the first exam. I'm planning to take the second exam tomorrow. I just got into the "hard" questions for AATBS. They seem absolutely ridiculous in terms of the language used to phrase potential answers: it is sooooooo incredibly confusing. I am considering not even taking them because it might erode whatever confidence I was feeling so far. Are there any questions on the exam that are like the "hard" questions? Or, do you think I'll be ok with reworking the medium questions and retaking the mock exams? Thanks in advance, Eva Eva, Those hard questions are impossible, nearly unanswerable, and nothing like the questions on the real exam, in my experience. Their only value is in helping you mega-hyper-concentrate on every word in each question and answer...which you're already doing if you're getting the medium questions right. Probably best to do with the exam tomorrow: quit studying. You're ready. Good luck! Let me (or the blog) know how it goes. Best, Will Thanks so much for your reply. Helps to know I was going in right direction when I decided to take a break and just focus back on mock exams. Geez, those hard questions are enough to make you really worry...taking a deep breath, eating and taking one more mock exam. Thanks again for your quick reply- I'll keep you posted re: tomorrow ;)

Mailbag: Practice v. Real Exam

MailbagFrom my inbox--email from a social work classmate reencountered at AATBS's vignette workshop:
Just read you passed the second exam....CONGRATS!!!
I STILL have not taken mine yet as I have been busy with my new [job]. 
So, I read that the HARD questions are not as hard as the actual exam? That is sooo comforting because I SUCK at the hard ones but get in the 80's for the mediums....what are your thoughts on that? What were you getting onthe medium ones?
I am so over studying! I just want to take the dang thing - how challenging did you think it was and what kind of advice do you have? I really appreciate your honest feedback as I felt much better after talking to you prior to my first exam.
My response:
Thanks. Congratulations on the job. Yeah, the exam is way easier than the hard AATBS questions. I broke 80% on a 2-hour retake of a practice exam just before going in. You're probably ready.  Good to run the complete practice exams to gauge speed, etc. But're ready. Good luck.
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ComputerRealistic online practice can help prepare you for the LCSW exam like nothing else.  Try Social Work Test Prep's free practice exam to get a sense of our program.  

Being ready to sit for the real, four-hour LCSW exam takes practice with complete, full-time practice exams.  Social Work Test Prep's exams offer detailed rationales for each question and links for suggested study to help you strengthen your grasp on concepts you never knew or have forgotten.  

More details about the SWTP program are here.


Californians:  For those who've cleared the first-exam hurdle and are one exam away from an LCSW, more free practice awaits.  (A more complete list is here.)

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Vignette Exam Practice: Kevin, Question Four

Lighter Flame

Last question of the bunch: barriers to treatment.

In your first meeting with Kevin, 47, he tells you that he's been "feeling funny" lately, having trouble getting up in the morning, sleeping "too much." Kevin says he has "occasionally" used crack cocaine in the past, but says "I haven't hit the pipe in a week." Kevin has been homeless in the past. He currently lives in a sober living house downtown. Kevin tells you he sometimes thinks people are talking about him and laughing about him, "but it doesn't bother me much." Kevin says he has not worked since being laid off two years ago.

4. What are some of the potential barriers to treatment in this case?

1. Client refuses to take medication as prescribed
Client comes to session intoxicated
Client not motivated for treatment
Client does not trust doctors and refuses to get physical exam

2. Client refuses to take medication as prescribed
Your urge to "rescue" client
Client does not believe you can help him
Client hearing voices

3. Client refuses to take medication as prescribed
Client refuses to enter an abstinence contract with you
Client not motivated for treatment
Client comes to session intoxicated

4. Class differences between you and client
Client not motivated for treatment
Client refuses to take medications as prescribed
Client refuses to enter an abstinence contract with you

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