Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST
There isn’t a secret formula to passing your licensure exam. The best way to ensure your success is to have a solid study plan, support, and accountability. The hardest part for many individuals is not just getting started but taking the initiative every day towards your end goal.
The journey to your licensure exam isn’t a short one. You need to prepare for the days that you will feel like giving up. This isn’t a reflection of you, but a normal part of the long journey to passing. It is easy to lose motivation because you have to begin studying so far ahead. Here are three ways that taking the initiative will help you pass your exam on your first try.
- Don’t wait until a “better time” to begin
Don’t let your perfectionism or need to wait for the “right” time to study keep you from getting started. Today is your day to start. There won’t be a better time than right now to study. Every time you feel like waiting, tell yourself that you are committing to studying right now, not tomorrow.
It’s natural to create excuses why you need to wait until tomorrow, the weekend, or next Monday. However, your excuses will keep you stuck. This is why it’s important to start right now. Even if it’s only spending 20 minutes looking at the material, it will be worth it. Every time you review the information you are learning and building a routine.
- Every day take one step
Don’t get overwhelmed at how much studying you have to do. Break it down into smaller pieces. Make your goal to take one action every day toward studying. You don’t have to cover an entire section or 50 practice questions to feel accomplished for the day.
Some days you will be able to study more than others but if you take a small step every day to do something you will feel more productive. This may be reviewing a few flash cards between appointments or listening to audio study guide while driving to work in the morning. Taking a small step daily will help you be more effective in your studying efforts.
- Be realistic in your expectations
Don’t expect that you need to feel accomplished every time you study. Be realistic in your expectations. You are working to build a study routine which means you will not get an immediate result. If you get stuck in your negative thoughts, remind yourself that this is a marathon and not a sprint. This will help you remain focused and not get stuck in a failing mindset.
The end goal is to pass your licensure exam. Don’t expect to receive any validation until after your exam. You are in this for the long haul, not immediate results. Let this be a reminder when you feel less than motivated to stay on track. Keep taking daily initiatives toward your study routine so you can receive the end goal of passing.
Many study programs and paths will help you prepare for your exam. Make sure that you are picking the right one tailored for your specific study needs. Your goal is to pass your exam on the first try. Remember to not wait for a better time to study, take action every day, and be realistic in your expectations. Taking these initiatives will help you avoid falling into a negative thought process that can derail your path. Go with a proven method, and you will pass on your first try.