Figuring out how to approach studying for the NCMHCE can be daunting. Here is a general outline to follow and a detailed study calendar based on a 3-month study timeline.
For testers who have less than 3 months to prepare, just condense the calendar to fit your timeline. For those who wish to spend longer than 3 months preparing, just space out the tasks a little more (or work through the tasks more than once).
If you don’t already have it, purchase the DSM-5. And, begin to get familiar with the DSM diagnostic criteria (for each disorder in the DSM, there is a bulleted list that has the heading “diagnostic criteria” - that’s what I’m referring to).
There are also a number of tools available to simplify and enhance this part of the study process. Watch this short video that includes 5 steps for mastering the DSM in the way you need to know the material for the NCMHCE.
After you feel confident about your diagnostic criteria knowledge...
Purchase the NCMHCE Prep guide that is made by NBCC - it contains 5 simulated cases written by the test makers themselves - for that reason, it is priceless! Don’t open it and complete the simulations until you are close to your test date.
Get a subscription to an NCMHCE study site that allows you to complete practice cases - if you aren’t sure which study site you want to invest in, ask your friends or colleagues who have passed what they found to be most helpful. Or, join an NCMHCE support group online or in person and ask group members what worked for them before spending your hard-earned money! Click here to join a free support group for counselors preparing for the NCMHCE.
Not every tester wants or needs to do this, but if it’s in your budget, complete an NCMHCE prep workshop with a good reputation. There are many online and in person workshops available - you can learn about these from colleagues and through recommendations in NCMHCE support groups. Click here to learn more and register for the online workshop I offer every 6-8 weeks.