Preparing for the MFT and LCSW Exam | Study Tip #1

By Amanda Rowan on July 22, 2011

Are you preparing to take your LCSW exam or MFT Exam and feeling overwhelmed?  Join the club!  Many therapists experience panic at the thought of tackling this test.  Most of us aren't used to being in study mode and haven't taken a multiple choice exam since the GRE!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs

So where do you start?  We suggest that the first thing you do is to pick a test date.  You don't have to sign up for the test just yet, but look at the calendar and pencil in a date you'd like to take the test. Why is this important?  Because without this, you have no sense of direction.  Imagine training for a marathon without knowing when you were going to run it.

Date circled on calendar

Picking a date may give you a bit of test anxiety.  That's okay.  Actually it's a good thing.  Research shows that a moderate level of anxiety leads to the best performance outcomes.

How far out should your date be? This depends on how much time you think you need to study.  If you are able to commit to 8 hours a week of reviewing, at TDC, we believe the optimal amount of time to study is 4-6 weeks for the National LMSW/LCSW; 8 weeks is for the California Standard Written Exam MFT  or LCSW exam and 3-5 weeks for the MFT  or LCSW Clinical Vignette Exam.

Some people feel the need to study for six months+ but the reality is that this is an exam that is more about strategy than it is about factual recall.  Things you study six months before the exam aren't going to stay with you. If you study for too long, you can burn yourself out and actually decrease your chances of passing.

Remember, you can always change your date but if you don't have one you run the risk of wasting time and energy stressing about a test without giving yourself some direction.

If you'd like to talk to a coach about the MFT or LCSW test prep process or about our services, we're here to help!

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work or MFT exam? If you're preparing for a social work exam, check out our Social Work Study Materials. If you're preparing for an MFT exam, check out our MFT Study Materials. Learn more about our offerings at The Therapist Development Center.

Looking for more practice questions and some study tips? Check out our new Social Work Exam Study Guide:

Subscribe to our Newsletter and Stay Connected!


Commenter Name
May 1, 2019

Is a month sufficient time to prepare for LCSW clinical exam? I scheduled my exam for 6/7 but haven’t bought your program. I plan to purchase this weekend and start studying- what do you suggest?

Commenter Name
July 9, 2019

This is some really good information about how to get ready for these exams. I liked that you pointed out that you might want to do 8 hours of review the week leading up to your exam. That does seem like a good amount of review to do for a difficult and important exam.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain Filter