Exam · Internship · Journey

Study Suggestions: Child Life Exam

If you haven’t yet completed a practicum or an internship, fear not, you have plenty of time to learn, gain skills and sharpen them. There’s plenty you can do before hand to prepare for your exam.

I would firstly recommend to keep a running list of theorists. Go get a cute notebook at Target and dedicate one page per theorist. You can use those pages to take notes in class, notes from your textbook and from reliable internet sources. You will need to know your theorists like the back of your hand; also crucial for a successful and meaningful internship.

Many internship sites have a major theory assignment, but you can get a jump start on that by doing the above. The better versed you are early, not only makes you a more likeable candidate, but you will feel more confident for the journey ahead.

The exam pulls from all the major Child Life books. Adventures in Child Life shared her info on exam tips and what she did (I found her blog while traveling on this journey) The link is here:  https://adventuresinchildlife.com/2014/08/05/how-i-studied-for-the-certification-exam/

After I had completed the theorist assignment in my internship, I made my own flashcards for each theorist, using brief descriptions and then named the corresponding Child Life interface; in other words, name a time when this particular theory was applicable in an interaction you facilitated. This method was required as part of my daily journal in my internship, and I applied it further to my studying.

One of my internship supervisors instructed me to please not use the Child Life Exam Flashcard System; she knew several people who used that method, and ended up failing the exam. I trust her 100%, as she is on the committee that helps create the exam, so of course, I did not use the flashcard system.

This profession is extremely hands-on, so during your internship, you don’t quite realize it, but each interaction you are having, is the equivalent of studying. When I finished my internship in December, I took a short family break, and then in January, I picked up my books again, and started studying for the March exam. During this time I had to work as a Substitute teacher, so during my lunch breaks and conference periods, I was hitting the books.

Another oddball thing I did to help my concentration during the studying process, was to do 500 piece puzzles. I would sit at my dining room table and work on a puzzle as a study break. It did work for me!

As for the exam day, many testing centers provide you with a piece of paper and a pencil. I used that piece of paper to write down all my theorists theory info; I wanted to be able to reference it during the exam.

All in all, this process is something that you can achieve if you set your mind on the prize.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.




5 thoughts on “Study Suggestions: Child Life Exam

  1. Thank you for sharing this! Glad to hear about the flashcard system! I have seen it circulate on pinterest (not sure if I have saved it or not…) but I definitely will steer clear! When do you recommend is the best length of time to study for the certification exam? I will be finishing my internship in August and hope to take the test in November. Does that seem logical? Would love to hear feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jacqueline! I recommend taking the exam upon finishing your internship, so like you are planning, November, is most ideal, especially since everything is still fresh on your mind. All in all there’s not much point to stretching out/delaying taking the exam. I do recommend taking the ACLP Child Life Practice Exam to get a feel of the layout of the test. It’s $35 but it will help you feel confident on the exam day. Congrats on your internship!


    1. She simply stated that she has known people who solely relied on the flash card system, who failed the exam. She said that while some of the flash cards are accurate, there are some that provide the incorrect answer.


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