Free Child Life Practice Test

In order to sit for the Child Life Specialist certification examination, one must have the preliminary qualifications of a Bachelor's or Master's degree in the area of human growth and development, education, psychology, or counseling. An internship program is also required.

The examination contains 150 questions in a multiple-choice format, and is administered twice a year. The spring test is typically scheduled in May or June, and the fall examination date is in the middle of November. The questions on the test require the test taker to exhibit a range of knowledge with respect to child development processes and to apply theories of child development to practical challenges faced by children and families. The candidate is given four hours to complete the 150 multiple-choice questions. Test takers who successfully pass the test and meet all other eligibility requirements will receive a certificate valid for a five-year period before recertification is required.

The Child Life Specialist exam is scored on a pass-fail basis. Results will be available and mailed to test takers within a period of four to six weeks. Those who fail the test may take it as many times as they wish until they receive a passing score.

The content of the Child Life Specialist examination is concentrated in three fundamental areas: Assessment, Intervention, and Professional Responsibilities. While the exam questions may change with each successive administration of the test, the proportional content will remain roughly the same, with 31% (47 questions) devoted to Assessment, 44% (66 questions) devoted to Interventions, and 25% (37 questions) devoted to Professional Responsibility.

There is an even distribution of questions within the Assessment domain, with a focus on diagnosis, future outlook, and the formulation of treatment plans. Observation of family dynamics is a vital component in obtaining data to this end. Questions may be posed regarding the diversity issues that may assist or impede treatment. Additional questions emphasize the importance of family-centered treatment. The largest number of questions is in the area of active intervention. This component of the test measures the examinee's aptitude in applying theory to practice and to leverage coping strategies into the family dynamic to promote positive development. Intervention mapping is also a significant part of this section, with an emphasis on the documentation of progress or setbacks in treatment.

No less important is the third and final area of the test, Professional Responsibility. The examinee must be familiar with ethical and legal standards within the context of family counseling and therapy.

Child Life Exam Practice Questions

1. John Bowlby felt that the reluctance of a child to interact with a parent following a distressing separation indicated some measure of -

a) despair;
b) depression;
c) detachment;
d) protest.
Select one and explain your answer.

2. Four people have volunteered for child life work in a medical/surgical pediatric unit:

a) a young mother hoping work with children will help her cope with the recent death of a beloved niece;
b) a college student eager to learn but with little experience;
c) a religious person hoping to provide messages of faith and hope;
d) a pre-medical student wanting to view surgeries and treatments in a pediatric population.
Select the BEST candidate and explain your answer.

3. The value of diabetes education in a group of 10-year olds is measured following an educational intervention at one month, one year, and two years. This study would be defined as -

a) longitudinal;
b) longitudinal-sequential;
c) cross-sectional; or
d) retrospective.
Select one and explain your answer.

4. Bolig defines a child life program that focuses on a multi-modal service approach including environmental normalization, socialization, feelings expression, and family-centered care as:

a) child development oriented,
b) therapeutic,
c) diversion based, or
d) comprehensive.
Select one and explain your answer.

5. When a preschool-age child struggles with issues of autonomy loss, a child life specialist should respond by:

a) planning and directing specific play activities;
b) promptly imposing a planned intervention;
c) involving the child in treatment choices and activities where possible; or,
d) increasing the involvement of parents in the child's care.
Select one and explain your answer.

Answers and Explanations

1. c - Detachment. Although despair and protest (1 and 4) are described in the same theoretical argument, they are features of a more active scenario where the child actually still desires to reconnect with the parent. Depression, albeit common in children who feel abandoned, is not a primary feature of Bowlby's actual rejection hypothesis. Detachment is the hallmark feature, present when the child has actually emotionally given up on the relationship. It demonstrates an absence of the key attachment features that normally accompany an existing well-nurtured parent-child bond.

2. b - a college student eager to learn but with little experience. The young mother presents a red flag' in that she is seeking to volunteer as a way to enhance coping, rather than after having resolved her loss issues. A candidate who wishes to focus on personal religious beliefs as a volunteer may upset and confuse children who may well have other religious beliefs. The goals of the premedical student appear more in harmony with shadowing' medical treatment staff than in working with children.

3. a - longitudinal, because there is only one group being studied with measurements at multiple points in time. Longitudinal-sequential designs combine cross-sectional and longitudinal formats, requiring two or more groups of varying ages measured repeatedly over ensuing years. A cross-sectional design does not fit, as it must include research two or more groups of varying ages measured at only one point in time. A retrospective study is a look back' study that follows up after a specific intervention and may only require one point of measurement.

4. d - A comprehensive program will use a multi-modal system of care to include family-centered care, environmental normalization, socialization, and expression of the child's feelings. By contrast, child development programs emphasize activities that support and facilitate age-specific developmental accomplishments and experiences; therapeutic programs focus on children's coping with imagined fears (fantasies) and emotions related to various experiences; and, diversion-based programs are limited largely to attention management approaches that inhibit a child's anxieties related to specific events.

5. c - Only by helping the child find more control over his or her life by providing opportunities to be involved in appropriate choices and participating in treatment activities, where possible, can the child regain an important sense of personal autonomy. Planning and directing the child's activities can impose structure, but will further undermine the child's sense of autonomy. Imposing an intervention can also backfire, to the degree that it further constrains the child's behavior and environment. Increasing parental involvement typically fosters further dependence, which would be counterproductive in this situation.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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