Endorsement® Exam

Infant Mental Health Specialist and Infant Mental Health Mentor applicants must pass the Endorsement® Exam prior to earning Endorsement®. 

The exam is generally offered twice annually, in March and September.  Please see the Events Calendar for dates.  If you have questions about policies related to the Endorsement® exam, please visit our Endorsement® Policies

The exam has two parts, both are based on the Competency Guidelines®. The competencies are divided into domains, referred to below. The Competency Guidelines® document, also referred to as the Getting Started Guide, will be an important reference in preparing for the exam.

icons_1Part One (60 Multiple Choice Questions – 90 minutes)

The multiple-choice, or quantitative, section is more focused on the competency areas under the Theoretical Foundations and the Direct Service Skills domains, i.e., a test of IMH knowledge specific to work with infants (0-36 months) and their families. Within Theoretical Foundations, there will be more from the areas of infant/very young child development & behavior and attachment, separation, trauma grief, & loss. Within Direct Service Skills, there may be more from screening & assessment and parent-infant/very young child relationship-based therapies & practices. Most questions will be related to direct service, but there will be some questions related to reflective supervision/consultation, policy, and research.The multiple-choice section is the same for all applicants (III, IV-C, IV-P, IV-R/F). Knowledge gained through course work, specialized in-service training, and self-study will be most useful in this section of the exam.

icons_2Part Two (Vignettes – 90 minutes)

The qualitative section for III and IV-C will ask for responses to vignettes. This section is intended to measure the applicant’s capacity to apply his/her knowledge of IMH principles into practice and to demonstrate a reflective, relationship-based approach.   While all of the competency areas are important, the ones under the Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others domains are important to the qualitative section for III and IV-C.Knowledge/skills gained through receiving reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) about direct service experiences (III and IV-C) and about the RSC provided to others (IV-C) will be most useful in this section of the exam.

The qualitative section for IV-P and IV-R/F asks applicants to respond to one of two scenarios. The Administration domain is the primary focus of the IV-Policy exam. The Research & Evaluation domain is the primary focus of the Research/Faculty exam.   In the IV-R/F exam, one scenario is more specific to teaching; the other scenario is more specific to empirical research.


Preparation

Self-assessment

Applicants can refer back to the Getting Started Guide_2016 and/or feedback received about the review of their applications to identify areas where additional study may be useful. When considering the specialized in-service trainings, it is important to note that training series, that occur over time and include opportunities for reflective discussion offer better preparation for the qualitative section of the exam than “one and done” training sessions.

One’s disciplinary background may also provide guidance, i.e., applicants who come from a background that emphasizes development may find they require more related to mental health competencies like mental and behavioral disorders in adults, supportive counseling, intervention/treatment planning, etc. While those from a mental health background may need more in areas such as infant/very young child development & behavior, developmental guidance, typically developing attachment, etc. The indexed list of resources (see list on left) can be used to finding readings specific to the knowledge/skill area where more study is needed.

Guidance from provider(s) of RSC for III and IV-C

Applicants are encouraged to engage their provider of RSC to think together about the applicant’s professional journey, capacity for reflection, and understanding of parallel process all in relation to readiness for the exam. The paper version of the reference rating form can be used to solicit feedback related to knowledge and skill areas of the competencies. If you are interested in reviewing PDF versions of the reference rating items with your RSC provider, you can see them here.  If gaps in knowledge are identified, the indexed list of resources (see list on left) can be used to identify readings. If the provider of RSC expresses reservations related to the capacity to apply IMH principles into practice, the applicant is encouraged to continue with RSC and the on-going assessment of skills in the areas of Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others.  It may also be helpful to review the document, “Talking Points for describing the Endorsement® Exam,” with your provider of RSC.

Study

In addition to selection of readings from the list of resources (see list on left), applicants are encouraged to review the notes, slides, and materials from the specialized in-service trainings in which they have participated.

Detailed breakdown of each type of Endorsement® exam:


Infant Mental Health Specialist 

Part One – 90 minutes to answer to 60 multiple-choice questions

  • Paper & pencil; questions read from a printed document, answers marked onto a separate answer sheet
  • 80% or better is required to pass (no more than 12 incorrect answers)

Part Two – 90 minutes to respond to two of three vignettes related to direct service

  • Vignettes are available as a hard copy and on a flash drive as a Word document
  • Flash drive is inserted into a computer and responses are typed directly into the Word document, saved, and printed

Infant Mental Health Mentor – Clinical 

Part One – 90 minutes to answer to 60 multiple-choice questions

  • Paper & pencil; questions read from a printed document, answers marked onto a separate answer sheet
  • 80% or better is required to pass (no more than 12 incorrect answers)

Part Two – 90 minutes to respond to two of three vignettes

  • One vignette is about the provision of reflective supervision/consultation and must be answered from the perspective of the supervisor/consultant
  • One of two direct service vignettes must be answered from the perspective of the infant mental health specialist/practitioner
  • Vignettes are available as a hard copy and on a flash drive as a Word document
  • Flash drive is inserted into a computer and responses are typed directly into the Word document, saved, and printed

Infant Mental Health Mentor – Policy 

Part One – 90 minutes to answer to 60 multiple-choice questions

  • Paper & pencil; questions read from a printed document, answers marked onto a separate answer sheet
  • 80% or better is required to pass (no more than 12 incorrect answers)

Part Two – 90 minutes to respond to one of two scenarios

  • Scenarios will ask for a demonstration of leadership in the infant-family field ensuring the promotion and practice of infant mental health through knowledge of
    • Funding
    • Systems development
    • All that is required to promote change across systems
  • Scenarios are available as a hard copy and on a flash drive as a Word document
  • Flash drive is inserted into a computer and responses are typed directly into the Word document, saved, and printed

Infant Mental Health Mentor – Research/Faculty 

Part One – 90 minutes to answer to 60 multiple-choice questions

  • Paper & pencil; questions read from a printed document, answers marked onto a separate answer sheet
  • 80% or better is required to pass (no more than 12 incorrect answers)

Part Two – 90 minutes to respond to one of two scenarios

  • One scenario will be related to the role of teaching
  • The other scenario will be related to conducting research
  • Topics may include the study of pregnancy, infancy, early childhood and early parenthood; attachment security and relationship needs; risk and resiliency in the early years; caregiving practices; early assessment and intervention strategies, and the mental health needs of infants & toddlers
  • Scenarios are available as a hard copy and on a flash drive as a Word document
  • Flash drive is inserted into a computer and responses are typed directly into the Word document, saved, and printed

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