Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Free DSM Questions

Free questions. What's better? SWTP's been running a series of free DSM-5 questions on their blog. The focus lately has been anxiety disorders. Once you've run through these questions, you'll be able to stare down anxiety questions on the ASWB exam without breaking a sweat.

Still better than the questions alone are the explanations in each post, which walk you through the process of elimination. Sometimes you have to know the info to get to the right answer. Sometimes you have to know how to approach the test. Any good set of practice questions will give you exposure to both content and test-taking know-how.

The idea on these is "come for the free practice questions, stay for the full-length practice tests." This week SWTP made practice test purchasing a little friendlier. You pick and choose which of their tests you want to study. The bundle savings (and the price) are tallied instantly as you select and deselect exams on the account page. Neat.

Want more DSM questions? Try the Google Books preview of DSM-5 Self-Exam Questions, by Philip Muskin. "Come for the preview, stay for the whole book," in this case. Enjoy! And good luck on the exam!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

KSA of the Day: Child Development

Only a small portion of those who sit for the social work licensing exam have had the opportunity to do clinical work with children. That leaves some studying to do. On the ASWB exam, it's not wildly uncommon to find questions that test your ability to understand the basics of what to expect of children at different stages and how to assess problems. Those are the questions covered in the simple, two-word KSA item: child development.

Child development is a topic that can't be even close to adequately covered in a single blog post. Happily, many others have written at length about the topic, leaving you with lots to read and digest. Here are a few stand-outs. If you find others, please don't hesitate to post them in comments. It takes a village of social workers to help each social worker pass the ASWB exam!

Links like these (from one gov't website to another) can start to get you up to speed:

  • Normal growth and development

  • Preschoolers

  • School age children

  • Stages of Adolescence

  • Adolescents

  • Check out these info-rich sites for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots more:

    Don't stop there. Search engines are your friend. Happy learning and good luck on the exam!

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    Quick Quiz: Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

    Quick quiz. Finish the Erikson stage of psychosocial development (vs. what?) and put them all in order from birth through old age (right now, they're alphabetical). Got it? Great. Good luck!

    Autonomy vs.
    Ego Integrity vs.
    Generativity vs.
    Identity vs.
    Industry vs.
    Initiative vs.
    Intimacy vs.
    Trust vs.

    Filled blanks and correct order are in comments. Once you've got that down, test yourself again with this Sporcle quiz.

    For more reading about Erikson's stages:
    Consider yourself prepped on the topic. Good luck with the exam!

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    KSA of the Day: The Concept of Attachment and Bonding

    Attachment and bonding may or may not come up on the social work licensing exam. But they'll come up every day you're a living and breathing social worker (and person). Preparing for the exam is a good excuse to gain a better, deeper understanding of the thinking and theorizing on the subject.

    What springs to mind when you hear "attachment and bonding"? How about John Bowlby? How about Mary Ainsworth? How about Harlow's monkey?

    Let's start with the monkey.

    Harlow's monkey gets milk from a fake wire monkey, but clings to the cozier fake cloth monkey. Attachment and bonding!

    Attachment theory can't be summed up quite as quickly. But how's this: Attachment theory posits that attachment isn't a byproduct of other psychological drives, but an essential drive in and of itself. Attachment is so crucial that the quality of early attachments affects the way a person relates to others for their entire lifetime. Attachment researchers have identified several typical patterns of attachment between infants and caregivers--some secure and some insecure--and witnessed their longterm stickiness. Young children with a certain attachment pattern grow into adults with that same attachment pattern.

    But don't just take it from this blog. Read up. Here are some places to get smart and smarter about attachment:
    That should do it to get your prepared for attachment and bonding questions on the ASWB exam.
    Stay cozy and good luck!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    Motivational Interviewing and the ASWB Exam

    Motivational interviewing comes up in regular social work practice all the time, even if people don't always refer to what they're doing as motivational interview. Same goes for the ASWB exam. Knowing motivational interviewing basics will help you in your practice and help you pass the test. So get learning!. Here are some basics via Wikipedia:

    Motivational interviewing (MI) refers to a counseling approach in part developed by clinical psychologists Professor William R Miller, Ph.D. and Professor Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D. Motivational Interviewing is a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior.[2] MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with non-directive counseling, it's more focused and goal-directed. It departs from traditional Rogerian client-centered therapy through this use of direction, in which therapists attempt to influence clients to consider making changes, rather than non-directively explore themselves. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is a central purpose, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.

    A few key points in MI (also via Wikipedia):
    1. Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and is not imposed from outside forces.
    2. It is the client's task, not the counselor's, to articulate and resolve the client's ambivalence.
    3. Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.
    4. The counseling style is generally quiet and elicits information from the client.
    5. The counselor is directive, in that they help the client to examine and resolve ambivalence.
    6. Readiness to change is not a trait of the client, but a fluctuating result of interpersonal interaction.
    7. The therapeutic relationship resembles a partnership or companionship.
    Sound familiar?

    Here's MI summed up in a 17 minute video:

    For more motivational interviewing wisdom from around the web, try:
    Happy studying. Happy exam-passing!

    Social Work Exam Practice...Books

    We've linked almost exclusively to online practice exams. You take the real exam on a computer, so prepping on a computer makes good sense. But for some, being able to grip a practice exam, scribble on it, and, if necessary, tear it, stomp on it, and/or throw it across the room are deeply desired qualities.

    Great for all of these reasons: SWTP's newly published pair of practice tests, now available on Amazon and elsewhere. The exams are the same as SWTP's ASWB Exams #1 & #2. If you already have those, move on. If you don't and order the books, you get access to the online versions of those exam as part of your purchase. Do that and you're studying every which way.

    However you're prepping, do some practice tests. They help. Enjoy!

    UPDATE: Book #3 now also available. Buy all three at a discount here.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    Name That Disorder

    Here's a quick DSM-5 matching game. Your task, should you accept it: See if you can name the disorder based upon the single criterion listed.

    Simple as that.



    1. Recurrent pulling out of one's hair, resulting in hair loss.

    2. Recurrent skin picking resulting in skin lesions.

    3. Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others.

    4. Preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness.

    5. Preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others.

    Bonus: An inability to recall important autobiographical information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is inconsistent with ordinary forgetting.

    Answers are in comments.

    Not an easy quiz! How'd you do?