A week and a half ago I took the biggest test of my life (The NCMHCE), and I passed with flying colors! I know that many of you won’t be interested in what it takes to study for this test, but I thought I’d pass along some things that really helped me for those of you who are working on your hours towards licensure and getting ready to take the test!
A note quick about the application process. You’ll need to fill out all sorts of paperwork for the state. Once they get all of that they’ll ok you to get fingerprinted. Once that goes through, they’ll give you the “ok” to sign up for the test through NBCC. NBCC will take about a month most likely to get back to you, so don’t expect a really quick turn around! Once they give you the ok, then you’ll be able to schedule your test through one of your local (or local-ish- my test was almost 2 hours away) testing centers. The entire process took me about two and a half months (don’t expect to fly through in a week or two!).
I studied using two primary means, and I couldn’t be more pleased with what I chose:
First of all, I used Jonathan’s Clinical Exam Workshop. The cost was $180 dollars I believe, and it was worth every cent that I spent on it! He included about 5 hours of lecture to listen to, on top of 25 pages of slides (6 on a page), a set of assessments and primary therapeutic techniques, and examples of test questions. He is also really available by email, and a few times throughout the studying process I sent a few questions to me, and rarely had to wait more than an hour for a response. He has lots of excellent tricks and tips for taking the test, and I can’t imagine taking the test without the knowledge I gained from him!
The week before the test, I bought a week subscription to counselingexam.com just for their practice simulations. The practice simulations are very similar to the test, although it’ll tell you how many points you lose in the practice simulations, and it won’t on the test. Be aware that the practice simulations are much harder than the actual test. From what I hear, many people fail the practice simulations but still pass the test. Overall, it’s a great way to study and practice with the ease of the test.
Beyond the practice simulations and Jonathan’s material, I made notecards of around 60 DSM diagnoses, and included some of the durations, ages needed, general criteria, and how many criteria are needed to make the diagnosis. It’s tedious to memorize, but that will be critical for the test. I carried those notecards around with me and studied during all sorts of random moments.
These 3 things were quite a bit to study, but prepared me really well. Like I mentioned in my previous post, you get 4 hours to take the test, and I only took about 70ish minutes (and I took around a minute between each simulation to stretch and breathe). If you follow these 3 things, you should have absolutely no problem passing the test!