Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Quick Quiz: Name That Diagnosis III

The biggest gimmes on the ASWB exam--quick, easy items that take no real though--are questions, increasingly rare, that lean on facts alone and not on synthesizing all parts of your social work knowledge. If you know your stuff, a simple DSM question is as easy as answering 1+1. This symptom for that length of time? Got it. 

So here's a quick quiz to help build your gimme muscles. Your job: Name That Diagnosis. Knock it out of the park!

1. Repeated voiding of urine into bed or clothes, whether voluntary or intentional after age five.

2. Fear or anxiety about social situations in which the individual is exposed to scrutiny by others.

3. Repeated regurgitating of food for at least one month. 

4. Excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities.

5. Mood swings, irritability, depressed mood, and/or anxiety along with anhedonia, lethargy, concentration difficulties, appetite change, sleep problems, a sense of being overwhelmed, and/or physical symptoms in the final weeks before the onset of menses. 

What do you think? 

If you come across a question that reads something direct like, "A client describes excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities. What is the BEST diagnosis for this client?" count yourself lucky, mark your answer, and move along. Most exam questions are as straightforward as that. Instead expect more difficulty--curveballs, sliders, and change-ups (for baseball fans). Baseball fan or not, to get better prepared for the licensing exam, get exposed to lots and lots of realistic practice questions like the ones at SWTP. You'll be glad you did come exam day.

Ready for the answers? Scroll down....

1. Enuresis 

2. Social Anxiety Disorder

3. Rumination Disorder

4. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Friday, August 24, 2018

Quick Quiz: Name That Diagnosis II

Back by popular demand, quick quiz help for your ASWB exam prep. Like electronic flash cards or a unusual game show. Below find a set of partial diagnostic criteria from throughout the DSM. Your task, should you accept it: Name That Diagnosis.

1. Low or absent desire for sex for six months or more, in men.

2. Intrusion symptoms, negative mood, dissociative, avoidance, or arousal symptoms between three days and one month after exposure to trauma.

3. A combination of depressed mood, anhedonia, appetite, sleep, and focus problems, restlessness, fatigue, and/or feelings of worthlessness almost every day for at least two weeks.

4. Frequent angry, unplanned, and outsized outbursts after age six.

5. High level of stress in connection with physical symptoms which have no apparent medical explanation.

What do you think?

This set is a little easier than the ones from Name That Diagnosis I, but you still need to have a good handle on the DSM to people answer these without some wild guesses. If the ASWB exam were made up of questions like these, it'd be pretty easy to prepare for. You'd just memorize and ton of content and you'd be set. The actual exam contains vignette questions which combine memorizable content with close-call, real-world social work situations. Prepping for those is trickier. For most, taking lots and lots of practice tests is the best way to prepare. But as you're doing those, come back here. This kind of mental weightlifting is helpful too.

Good luck on the exam!

Scroll down for answers...

1. Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

2. Acute Stress Disorder

3. Major Depressive Disorder

4. Intermittent Explosive Disorder

5. Somatic Symptom Disorder

Friday, August 3, 2018

Quick Quiz: Name That Diagnosis

Today, we're sort of a set of electronic flash cards--some more help passing the ASWB exam. Here are several sets of partial diagnostic criteria from throughout the DSM. Your job: Name That Diagnosis.

1. Pattern of behavior in which a child actively approaches and interacts with unfamiliar adults.

2. A repetitive and persistent pattern of violating the rights of others and societal norms, possibly including aggression, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, or the serious violation of rules.

3. Preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness without the presence of major somatic symptoms.

4. Pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.

5. Numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms that do not meet criteria for a hypomanic episode and numerous periods with depressive symptoms that do not meet criteria for MDD.

What do you say?

These aren't easy. You may or may not encounter questions on the social work licensing exam covering non-routine DSM diagnoses. Even if you do, they aren't likely to be quite as simple as symptom, symptom, that diagnosis. You're far more likely to see questions that synthesize knowledge from various content areas--practice, theory, ethics, etc. Practice tests are the best way to get acclimated to those questions. And come back here for more of these!

The answers? They're just below--scroll down...

1. Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

2. Conduct Disorder

3. Illness Anxiety Disorder

4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

5. Cyclothymic Disorder

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Anxiety Disorders: Sort the Symptoms

Here's a new quiz type: Sort the Symptoms. Something extra to help you get ready for the social work licensing exam.

We've got the DSM open to the Anxiety Disorders chapter. Your job. Take the symptoms below and place them where the belong. Your choices are Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Each symptom fits best in one of those.

Ready? Go!

Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering. 

Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.

Excessive worry about losing major attachment figures. 

Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)

Marked anxiety standing or line or being in a crowd.

Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank. 

Excessive worry about getting lost or being kidnapped.

Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.

What do you think?

Sorting symptoms is good mental exercise to get you into shape to pass the ASWB exam. It's not what real exam questions look like. Questions on the exam are generally somewhat complicated vignettes about patients and their presentation. What is the BEST action for the social worker to take. What is the MOST likely diagnosis. Multiple choice, 170 questions, four hours. To really get ready, nothing beats full-length, realistic exam practice like the tests at SWTP. Happy studying.

Ready for the answers? They're down below--just scroll....

Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.

Marked anxiety standing or line or being in a crowd.

Panic Disorder
Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering.
Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)

Separation Anxiety Disorder
Excessive worry about losing major attachment figures.
Excessive worry about getting lost or being kidnapped.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Quick Quiz: Cannabis Use Disorder

We've been quizzing you on big-picture items--the contents of this or that chapter of the DSM. Let's drill down today into the weeds, so to speak, of one diagnosis: cannabis use disorder.

Text is from the DSM. A summary is here. Your job, should you accept it...fill in the blanks.

Cannabis Use Disorder

1. A problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least tow of the following, occurring within a __________ month period.

2. Cannabis is often taken in ____________ or over a longer period than was intended.

3. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to _______________ cannabis use.

4. Recurrent cannabis use in situations in which it is ___________ hazardous.

5. ______________, as defined by a need for markedly increased amounts or markedly diminished effect.

6. ______________ symptoms including either irritability, anxiety, sleep difficulty, appetite changes, restlessness, depressed mood, physical symptoms.

Note additional cannabis use disorder symptoms include cravings, interpersonal problems, occupational problems, persistent physical or psychological problems.

What do you think?

You might be able to figure out several of these just by context--just like you did to get through a high school test for which you hadn't sufficiently prepared. The social work licensing exam is a little less forgiving. You're expected to know your stuff--not just the facts, but how to apply them. You can usually narrow down to two good answers out of the four. Choosing between those is tricky. Best way to work that particular muscle? Practice. Find good practice tests (like the ones at SWTP), and learn the test-taking process as you learn exam content. A win-win.

Answers are below--scroll down.

Happy studying!


1. Twelve

2. Larger amounts

3. Cut down or control

4. Physically

5. Tolerance

6. Withdrawal

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Social and Political Action (and Exam Prep Savings)

You probably know this section by the NASW Code of Ethics by now. It's been widely posted and reposted. (And, unless you're nodding off before getting to the last of the code, you've read it a time or two as part of your ASWB exam prep.)

6.04 Social and Political Action

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.
(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups.
(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.
(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical ability.

Maybe you've already been engagin in social and political action that the code calls for? If not, here's extra incentive: SWTP is offering an off-the-charts 50% coupon if you send them something that shows you engaging in political action. What type? Any type--it's  pretty loosely defined. The details of the offer are in this blog post. The company has also run specials on Election Days in the past (an "I Voted" picture for a discount). 

The general idea: when social workers take action, good things happen! Can't disagree!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pass the ASWB Exam (in Seven Simple Steps)

How do you pass the ASWB exam? Here's a simple, seven-step plan, which we've immortalized with this snazzy infographic.

The steps:

1. Get Schooled
2. Learn on the Job (or internship)
3. Sign Up
4. Practice
5. Practice
6. Practice
7. PASS!

Easy as that. All it really takes to get your social work license is learning and doing social work, then learning and doing the exam, first in mock tests, then the real thing.

It's only a matter of time till you've done it yourself.

Good luck!

(Want to share the infographic? Here it is on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Thanks!)