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The “Secret” to Passing the Licensing Exam


I felt the tension in the room last month as I gave my presentation on licensing in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Students became increasingly anxious as I talked about the exam, the questions, and study resources. Often times students claim they are worried about passing the exam because they have “test anxiety.” The truth is, it may just be in your head. You don’t suffer from test anxiety. In fact according to the American Test Anxieties Association only about 16-20% of students have high-test anxiety. Free yourself from this notion and the anxiety will disappear!

What’s the “secret” you ask? If you recall back in 2006, the film The Secret was released. This jump-started the “law of attraction” craze. The law of attraction basically states that you can attract whatever you want, a new purse, a new beau, and yes, even passing the licensing exam, with just your thoughts. If you have not seen the film, log onto your Netflix account now and invest just 90 minutes of your time. It conveys a simple message that we as disgruntled New Yorkers really need to hear. Positive thoughts bring positive energy and things into your life. In other words, you can visualize yourself passing the exam and it will happen! This should be the first step before you even open a book to start studying for the exam.

Next, take a post-it and write “I will pass the licensing exam”, and stick it on your mirror in your bathroom or somewhere you will see it every day. Or for all you millennials out there, set it as your wallpaper on your cell phone. Every time you hit the home button on your phone to check if anyone has texted you in the past 45 seconds, you will be reminded that you will pass the licensing exam. Remember your thoughts are powerful, and you can make anything happen with your mind!

It’s okay if you’re not completely sold on the idea of the “Secret”, and passing the exam by envisioning it. Here are some practical tips for you non-believers.

  1. Practice self-awareness. Really be honest with yourself about how much you need to study. Not a morning person? Don’t study in the morning or schedule the exam at 8am.
  2. Don’t cram the week of the exam. Make a schedule of days and times you will dedicate to studying and stick to it.
  3. Celebrate! Go out to dinner with someone you love or order in from your favorite restaurant the night before the exam. This will help distract you, and reward you for making it to this point.
  4. Do not study the night before the exam. Try to clear your head. There are several free guided meditations online you can check out.
  5. Smile the day of the exam! Studies indicate that smiling releases the “happy” neurotransmitters that reduce stress.
  6. Use the FREE resources at Fordham. We have computers with practice tests, a laptop loan program, and even LMSW Prep Seminars. For more information visit our website.

I hope you find these tips useful. I would say “Good Luck”, but you probably won’t need it. You WILL pass the licensing exam. You just have to believe it!

Albaliz TelloAlby Tello, MSW, LSW 
Director of Career Development 
Fordham University  
Graduate School of Social Service 
113 West 60th Street 
New York, NY 10023


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