Do mock exam scores mean anything?

I've been seeing lots of Facebook posts lately, in which candidates for the BBS exams ask each other what scores they should be getting on practice exams before they sit for the actual exam. There's a lot of anxiety, I might even call it freaking out, when a candidate says, "I only scored 60% on the TDC mock, and my exam is a month away! What should I DO?" People try to be helpful, with comments like, "just go over the rationales again," or "Don't worry, you've got this." But I think the most helpful way to proceed is to realize that mock exam scores mean VIRTUALLY NOTHING about your readiness, or your odds of passing the actual exam.

I've been preparing MFT candidates for the BBS exams since 1978, so I have a lot of anecdotal data about mock exam scores. I've known plenty of candidates who were getting only 50-60% correct on mock exams, and passed. Unfortunately, I've known a few who were scoring in the 90% range who failed! I don't think it makes any difference whether you're using TDC or Gerry Grossman, AATBS, or even PrepJet (By the way, I wrote the mock exams for PrepJet, and I do recommend them.) However, mock exams just aren't enough like the real thing! Plus, people who just study exams tend to memorize specific questions, and then they are thrown for a loop when the real questions are very similar. They choose what was the correct answer on the practice exam, failing to notice that there's a better choice on the menu in front of them.

So how do you know you're ready, if your scores don't mean much? Well, of course your first task is to truly UNDERSTAND and recall the content measured in the six domains of the Clinical exam. You need to really KNOW all the concepts, theories, laws and ethical standards, DSM diagnoses, etc. But once you've mastered the content, then it's about PROCESS. You need to have system(s), ideally more than one, for sorting out multiple-element answers. You need to be prepared to deal with situations where the truly correct answer isn't on the menu, and you find yourself saying, "Well, it depends...." You need to be prepared for four hours of intense concentration, during which you will not get any feedback about how you're doing, and yes, you will feel like you're guessing a lot of the time.

My coaching assumes you've nailed the content already, and focuses on process. I invite you to contact me for a brief consultation, no charge, to see if I can be helpful to you. Email me, kathy@kathywexler.com

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