Friday, August 14, 2015

Walking Through DSM-5

You can dive in and wade through the hundreds of pages of details in DSM-5 as you're preparing for the social work exam. It's probably more effective to take a quick stroll through the essentials. Just tiptoe through the diagnoses. To make that simpler, consider using the short Desk Reference version of DSM-5 for exam prepping. The big DSM-5 is just too much to digest. And the level of detail that lies within it is generally beyond what you're expected to have grasped come exam day.
To get and stay extra up on DSM-5 changes and exam-likely diagnoses, the web is there to help. We've linked to these helpful sites before:
Prefer an easy guided tour through what you need to know? Take a look at SWTP's helpful unfolding series of posts detailing DSM-5 diagnoses and the big changes from DSM-IV-TR. What's ASD, AUD, DMDD...? Answers there.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

Friday, July 24, 2015

DSM-5, the Slide Show

On the lookout for different ways to get all necessary social work licensing exam information into your head? Already using podcasts, practice tests, textbooks, and Pinterest charts? Here's another source of info--DSM-5 info in this case: the collection of DSM-5 slides on SlideShare. Different slide-makers have stressed different aspects of the changes between DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5. Most have covered the essentials. So, pick your patience level, and get clicking through. You never know what vital tidbit you'll pick up.

The first here zips through in 30 slides; the second ambles through in 81. But just think, speed read 81 slides and you're that much more prepared for the exam. Or, at very least, somewhat clearer about what you don't know.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Social Work Exam

Among the big changes in DSM-5 is the arrival of a new diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder. Exam prepping? It's probably wise to get this new diagnosis a little understood. It's a bright shiny object, likely irresistible to exam writers penning the first couple of waves of DSM-5-based licensing exams.

Wikipedia summarizes:
The new diagnosis encompasses previous diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS. Rather than categorizing these diagnoses, the DSM-5 will adopt a dimensional approach to diagnosing disorders that fall underneath the autism spectrum umbrella. It is thought that individuals with ASDs are best represented as a single diagnostic category because they demonstrate similar types of symptoms and are better differentiated by clinical specifiers (i.e., dimensions of severity) and associated features (i.e., known genetic disorders, epilepsy and intellectual disability). An additional change to the DSM includes collapsing social and communication deficits into one domain. Thus, an individual with an ASD diagnosis will be described in terms of severity of social communication symptoms, severity of fixated or restricted behaviors or interests and associated features. The restriction of onset age has also been loosened from 3 years of age to "early developmental period", with a note that symptoms may manifest later when demands exceed capabilities.
Everything else you need to know--and lots more--available at these sites (and many others);

Monday, July 6, 2015

Learning DSM-5

DSM-5 has arrived. Now that the change has happened on the ASWB exam, time to buckle down and learn the thing. As ever, the web is eager to help out. We've already linked to these info-filled pages:
But maybe you don't feel like reading. Okay, here's SWTP's DSM-5 YouTube collection. Includes lots of different people going over lots of DSM-5 facts. Also take a look at this webinar series from Magellan Healthcare. It's dry as dry toast, but seems to cover everything. Also, coming up later this month--for NASW members only--here's a lunchtime webinar.

There are plenty more presentations out there, not all of them free. If you find something and like it, please share in comments. In the meantime, happy DSM-5 learning!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Farewell, DSM-IV-TR

This day in history, the last time DSM-IV-TR appears on the social work licensing exam. Will you miss it?

Mark the moment with a song, or a drink, or just ignore it. Any of those will do. Love it or hate it, if you prepared for the ASWB exam using the big, gray DSM, you're not likely to forget it. Farewell, DSM-IV-TR.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Countdown to DSM-5

Here it comes. The moment DSM-5 becomes the book of record on the ASWB exam is upon us (July 1st, 2015). This is years in the making (if you count all the endless meetings and negotiations over at the APA). Finally, grey cedes to purple, Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) give way to Hindu-Arabic ones (5, 6, 7, 8...), and, of course, there's what's inside. That's the stuff you have to know for the social work exam. The disappearance of the five axis system...of the NOS specifier...the appearance of autism sprectrum disorder and others.

Have a couple of hours to spare? Here's part one of a lecture summarizing the changes Aaron Norton at University of South Florida:


Faster to just read up? Probably. Here are some starter links:


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Pass the LMSW Exam

How do you pass the LMSW exam? Here's one, good, thorough answer from Nicole Clark on her blog. The post is called, fittingly enough, "Ask Nicole: How Did You Pass the LMSW Exam on Your First Try?" Here are the bullet points--do's and don'ts--which echo much of what we've been saying here. Our quick reaction/summary follows each:
  • Do know the NASW Code of Ethics (yes!)
  • Do take practice exams (she likes SWTP)
  • Do figure out how you like to retain information (she used a brainwave app)
  • Do take study breaks (research says so)
  • Do a trial run (if you've got the time and some anxiety to burn off, can help)
  • Do find ways to relieve stress (please do!)
  • Do know your acronyms (she means FAREAFI and AASPIRINS--sometimes helpful, sometimes not)
  • Don’t tell (many) people you’re taking the exam (good idea to reduce felt pressure)
  • Don’t pull out your class books (depends upon the class books, though, doesn't it? what about a textbooky textbook like Hepworth, Rooney, and Larson?)
  • Don’t answer exam questions based on what you’d do at your agency (yes! be the ideal, in-a-vacuum, textbook social worker)
All of the above applies to the LCSW exam and other ASWB exams, of course. More details within the post. Have at it!