Thousands of people take the social work licensing exam each year. Not everyone who takes the exam becomes a licensed social worker. You can get yourself in the group that has PASS pop up at the exam’s end without driving yourself crazy overstudying. You can be among those who approach the exam well-prepared and confident by using readily-available resources on the net.
Know the Exam
First things first. Get to know what the exam looks like and what generally you can expect to find on the exam. Here’s where:
- ASWB Candidate Handbook
- ASWB Content Outlines
Know the Basic Content
Next up, dig in. Now that you’ve seen the outline, you know generally what it is that you have to study. It’s a wide range of possible information, sure, but the essentials are not impossible to narrow down. There’s nothing more important than this first one:
- NASW Code of Ethics
After that, you’re going to want to get a handle on basics in the DSM. The net stands ready (take care to study the version of the DSM that will be on the exam you’re taking. The DSM-5 won’t show up on the ASWB exam until 2015):
- Behavenet’s DSM
- Wikipedia’s DSM
Wikipedia’s also great for basic theory and treatment approaches. Focus on evidence-based approaches, especially CBT and DBT.
You’ll soon have had enough reading. Here’s a place to fill up on info without having to move your eyes. Just sit back and listen–especially to the early episodes:
- The Social Work Podcast
Know the Exam Process
You may have encountered a supervisor somewhere along the way who has advised, “Focus on process, not on content.” Wise words in the clinical sphere and also wise when it comes to preparing for the social work licensing exam. You can cram your head as full of info as you like. If you’re not clear about what the experience of sitting for a 170-question, four-hour exam is going to be like, you haven’t really prepared. The way to get that experience is simple–practice exams. There are lots of companies that offer practice exams; fewer that offer them online (which is important–the exam is on a computer, so you studying on a computer makes good sense); fewer still that focus exclusively on the social work. Our biased recommendation (we work here):
- Social Work Test Prep
Try out the ten-question free practice exam to see how you like the interface, then sign up for a full, 170-question, real-time exam. Exams come with detailed rationales and suggested study links for each question, allowing you to find still more free resources on the web just waiting to help you get your LCSW, LMSW, LICSW, LSW…whatever it is you’re aiming for, whatever it’s called where you live. Also see the study tips page on the site for additional help with exam anxiety and more.
Using the resources posted above and by doing a little search engine poking when needed, you can get well prepared and sit down for the social work licensing exam feeling good, confident, and ready to get licensed. Good luck!