Thursday, December 4, 2014

Social Work Exam Quiz: Name the SSRI

Here's another social work licensing exam prep quiz: Name the SSRI! (Cue theme music.) The rules are simple. From the list of medications below, identify which are Selective Sertonin Reuptake Inhibitors and which are not. Extra points for identifying what the non-SSRIs do!

Here's the list:
  1. Ativan
  2. Celexa
  3. Depakote
  4. Fluoxetine
  5. Fluvoxamine
  6. Klonopin
  7. Mellaril
  8. Restoril
  9. Zoloft
  10. Zyprexa 
Answers, from Wikipedia's list of psychotropic medications, are in comments. Good luck. And good luck on the big exam!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Medication Match Game

Here's another quick quiz based upon the psychotropic medications page at Wikipedia. Test your medication knowledge, prepare for the social work exam, have fun.

Match the medication with its description.


1. Fluoxetine
2. Lithium

A. A mood stabilizer used in treating bipolar disorder.
B. Used to treat major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder) obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Answers: 1B, 2A

Got it? Go for it.

Match each medication with the correct description.

The medications:

1. BuSpar
2. Benzodiazepines
3. Celexa
4. Clozaril 
5. Concerta 
6. Cymbalta 

The descriptions:

A. An antidepressant of the SSRI class
B. An atypical antipsychotic
C.  An anti-anxiety medication
D. An antidepressant of the SSNRI class, similar to Effexor (venlafaxine)
E.  A class of sedatives
F.  Used to treat ADD/ADHD

Answers in comments. How'd you do?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Name That Medication

Remember "Name That Tune"? Maybe not. Here's a new game show for social work exam preppers, Name That Medication! First episode, name the following meds from the A section of  Wikipedia's A-Z list of psychotropic meds.


__________ - antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and agitation

Answer: Abilify


__________ - stimulant used to treat ADHD

__________ - used as a sleep aid, cause drowsiness

__________ - used to treat alcohol addiction

__________ - used to slow the progression of dementia

__________ - tricyclic antidepressant

__________ - benzodiazepine, used to relieve anxiety

Remember, all the meds begin with the letter A. The dementia and tricyclic may be an especially tough answers to summon. The others you may be able to get.

How'd you do? Check your answers here.

If you got even just a couple of them, great! You can probably consider yourself med-wise as far as the ASWB exam goes. Nothing like these question appears on the actual exam, of course. For realistic, real-exam-like questions, try the practice tests covered in previous posts and linked all over this site. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Most Helpful Sites for Social Work Exam Prep

We like to think of ourselves as the very most helpful site for social work licensing exam prep on the wide, wide world of web. But of course that's debatable. Over dozens of posts, we've linked out to some of our favorite places to visit to help social workers get ready for the big test. Here's a quick sampling for those who prefer not to have to click back through the archives:

The Social Work Podcast. Great collection of interviews and mini-lectures about a wide variety of social work topics, almost all of them potential exam fodder.

Social Work Today/Eye on Ethics. A big part of the exam is ethics vignettes. Here's a column that not only offers up exam-like vignettes, but explains them in detail.

The NASW Code of Ethics. This isn't really a site, it's an essential document. It's on the web for free. Read it again!

Social Work Test Prep/Free Practice Tests. A collection of links to free practice tests around the net, plus great practice exams on the site itself.

This is just the tip of the webby iceberg. Don't forget that almost all of your fact-based questions about social work and psych questions can be answered with a quick net search. Wikipedia,, AllPsych--they're all waiting with lots and lots of info. AllPsych and About also have free quizzes on psych topics, if you dig around a little.

Happy browsing. Happy exam prep. Happy exam passing!

Monday, October 6, 2014

ASWB Exam Practice

Feeling confident about passing the ASWB exam? Not so? Either way, sitting down to practice exams is probably a good idea. How else do you get a real sense of what is you're trying to get done? This blog has a lot of posts detailing exam process and specific areas of content...but there's just no substitute for real-time practice exam taking.

Knowing nothing about two exam candidates, which would you be more likely to bet on--the one who has taken multiple practice tests or the one who has studied materials only?  Makes sense to be the candidate you'd bet on!

Okay, so how best to figure out which ASWB practice tests to use as you're prepping? The leanings of this site is clear (just look at the sidebar). But don't let that decide things for you. On that same side-barred site (for folks on phones: it's SWTP), there's a handy list of free practice exams. If you've got time, you can click through there to get a sense of what various companies have to offer via their free samples. And while you're at it, you're getting free licensing exam practice.

Make sure you're not just being drilled for memorizable content (e.g., "At what year does such-and-such a theory say that such-and-such a behavior begins?). Good exam items--like most on the real ASWB test--reach not only for content, but for basic, genuine social work know-how. To get at that usually takes vignette questions, which is why that's what you'll mostly be encountering on the real exam.

In any case, congratulations, you're on your way. If you're studying now, that means should all go well--and it should!--you'll be licensed soon! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is Congruence?

On the ASWB clinical exam outline, you'll find the item "The concept of congruence in communication." It's in the Therapeutic Relationship section. So, what's congruence? As usual, the Internet stands ready with many answers. First, a definition:
a communication pattern in which the person sends the same message on both verbal and nonverbal levels.
Okay, that rings a bell. Here's more detail in a definition of mood congruence:
consistent with one's mood, a term used particularly in the classification of mood disorders. In disorders with psychotic features, mood-congruent psychotic features are grandiose delusions or related hallucinations occurring in a manic episode or depressive delusions or related hallucinations in a major depressive episode, while mood-incongruent psychotic features are delusions or hallucinations that either contradict or are inconsistent with the prevailing emotions, such as delusions of persecution or of thought insertion in either a manic or a depressive episode. 
And that's that--for the licensing exam, you're up to speed. Will this show up on the exam? Maybe not as a "define this" question, but as a subtle part of an assessment vignette? Could be.

Want more? Keep on clickin':

Mood congruence (Wiki)
Congruent communication (
Active Listening (

Good luck with the exam!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Getting Ready for the ASWB Exam

You're going on a journey. You think about what you'll need ahead of time. You get your things together, pack 'em, hit the road. So what if the journey is along the road to licensure? What are you going to need? How do you get ready? Here are some ideas about how to prepare and what to pack.

First, it's good to have a general sense of what to expect once you've gotten moving. In this case, you've got a testing center to get to. An exam to take. A passing result to celebrate.

The testing center is a knowable. Once you're registered, you've got an address. Let the Internet tell you what to expect on your drive, or, if you're the mega-preparing type, drive the drive ahead of time. See the testing center, give it a nod, and say, "I will be passing an exam inside you soon."

The basic structure of the exam is also knowable. It's four hours long, 170-questions wide. (Yes, there are 20 "tester" questions that don't count toward your score. But you can't know which those are, so better to set that factoid aside.) You'll get basic instructions about what you can and can't bring--physically--to the exam. Usually what you can bring with you is less than nothing. But you probably can bring some water and a snack to leave if you want a quick break and boost. (Can be helpful!) 

Okay, so that's your map. (Leaving out your choice of how to celebrate after.) You've got the physical dimension down. Now how do you prepare internally? What do you need to pack into your thinking parts?

There's also a lot of knowable about what facts and wisdom you're expected to arrive with on exam day. Okay, there's no Internet mapping program to walk you through the licensing exam, but there are exam content outlines (available at They spell out the entire range of what you might expect to be tested on. The outlines point to more places to get things know, such as the DSM and the NASW Code of Ethics. There are also practice exams aplenty available on the www to help you get accustomed to the experience of taking the exam. Practice tests can guide your approach to the types of questions you're likely to encounter and speed your journey once you sit down for the real thing.

That leaves a second internal element: your nerves. Anxiety has a way of fogging people up and making simple tasks seem overwhelming. And, unless you're a extraordinarily cool customer, anxiety is just going to be a part of ASWB exam prep. (A feature, not a bug, as they say in programming land.) Anticipate some nerve jangling on your journey and pack some tools to help you handle it. Rules of thumb: increase self-care (sleep, food, exercise, meditation, down time...); explore your worries (this is CBT--do a thought log, imagine the worst case, realize that, though the stakes may be high, you'll be fine. The test doesn't define you. It's something you've chosen to do. You've gotten this far...etc.)

What'd we forget to mention? Pack that too! Should be a decent trip. You may even learn something useful along the way. Have a great one, have fun, and good luck!