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!)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick Quiz: Name that Depressive Disorder

How well do you know the depressive disorders chapter of the DSM? The diagnoses there show up in life and in social work practice pretty regularly, so you may as well expect to encounter them on the social work licensing exam. Here's a quick quiz to see if you've got them understood. Your job: Name that depressive disorder.

1. Severe recurrent temper outbursts inconsistent with developmental level, three or more times per week, with irritability or anger throughout the day, nearly every day.

2. Depressive mood, irritability, affective lability, and/or marked anxiety connected with the onset of menses, which start to improve within a few days after the onset of menses, and become minimal or absent in the week postmenses.

3. Depressed mood, diminished interest in pleasure, and other symptoms occurring for two weeks or more.

4. Depressed mood for more days than not for at least two years.

Know the answers?

We left out Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder, Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition, Other Specified Depressive Disorder, and Unspecified Depressive Disorder, if that helps narrow it down.

Answers are below--scroll down, when you're ready.

The mini-DSM (aka the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from the DSM) is a great way to quickly get all of these details learned. The big DSM has far more information that you'll see show up on ASWB exam questions.

For realistic, exam-style questions about DSM diagnoses and lots more, try full-length practice exams like those from SWTP.

Good luck on the exam!

1. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

2. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

3. Major Depressive Disorder

4. Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Quick Quiz: Insomnia Disorder

Here's some more DSM to get under your belt before tackling the ASWB exam--and maybe before heading to sleep.

First, here the basics--no quiz, just info:

Insomnia disorder is diagnosed when there is...
--Difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or waking early without being able to return to sleep.
--Clinically significant distress d/t the above.
--Presence of symptoms at least three nights a week.
--Difficulty present for at least three months.
--Not another sleep-wake disorder.
--Not presence of substance effects.
--Not another disorder adequately explaining the disturbance.

Now, here's the quiz. Name each of these types of insomnia--specifiers:

1. _______________: Brought on by life events or changes to sleep schedule or settings.

2. _______________: Symptoms last at least one month but less than three months.

3. _______________: Symptoms last three months or longer.

4. _______________: Two or more episodes occur within the space of one year.

Got 'em answered? Scroll down to check your work.

We'd all sleep easier if the social work licensing exam were as simple as this. You'd learn some info, you'd spit it back out, you'd be licensed. The real exam involves integrating social work knowledge into social work practice. A combo of an ethical dilemma and some diagnostic info? That's more along the lines of a real exam questions. For practice with questions like those specific to the social work exam, try SWTP. And keep coming back here. We'll keep these simpler workouts coming.


1. Situational
2. Episodic
3. Persistent
4. Recurrent

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Building Your Own Social Work Exam Practice Questions

One inexpensive way to prepare for the ASWB exam is to read through the Eye on Ethics columns in Social Work Today. Most contain just the kind of tricky social work rock-and-a-hard-place situation that you'll see on the licensing exam. No, they're not practice questions. But they could be practice questions. It wouldn't be a huge surprise to learn that exam writers were turning to the column for ideas about what to put on the test.

Take, for example, this recent column, Treating Colleagues with Respect in the Digital Age. The opening paragraphs are like a social work exam vignette without the question mark:

Last week I received an unusual telephone call from an administrator of a state social work licensing board. She explained that the board had received a complaint filed by one social worker against another. "This certainly is a novel complaint," the caller said. "We've never seen one like this before. I'm calling you to find out if you've heard of similar cases and know of any guidelines that might be relevant.
"Here's what apparently happened," the caller continued. "The complainant and respondent work at the same mental health center. The complainant is the respondent's supervisor. The respondent became quite angry with her supervisor after the supervisor included some negative comments in the respondent's annual review. According to the complaint filed with us by the supervisor, the respondent 'posted a handful of horribly nasty comments about me on her Facebook site. She accused me publicly of being incompetent and unethical. I don't think she realized that I had access to her Facebook postings.'"
I learned that the complaint the supervisor filed with the social work licensing board included verbatim excerpts from the Facebook postings. They are not pretty.
It doesn't take much imagination to flip things around into question form. An administrator receives a complaint... and so on about a social worker's bad-mouthing a supervisor on social media. What is the BEST course for the administrator to take?

Coming up with distractors is the trickier part of this exercise. Maybe something like...

A) Demand that the social worker remove the social media posts.

B) Refer the defamation to the state licensing board.

C) Reassign the social worker to a different supervisor.

D) Set a meeting for the social worker and supervisor to discuss the incident.

What answer do you like best? A probably doesn't take things far enough. B takes them too far--or jumps ahead in the process. C avoids the conflict altogether and doesn't address the issues at hand. That leaves D as the best of the offered choices. Maybe it's not the actual BEST course, but it's what you've got to work with here. If this were on the exam, that'd be a good pick. Then move on to the next...

Want more reading on the topic? Here's everything you need: the NASW Code of Ethics

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Quick Quiz: Social Workers Ethical Responsibilities

We've posted a bunch of DSM-based quizzes lately. Let's try something different. Here's a quiz based upon the other text that shows up again and again on the ASWB exam, the NASW Code of Ethics.

A section that--for some reason!--keeps coming to mind lately is the one titled "Social Workers Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society." Here's some of the text, with some crucial words pulled out. Your job: fill in the blanks.

Social workers __________ (should/should not) promote the general welfare of society, from local to global levels, and the development of people, their communities, and their environments. Social workers ____________ (should/should not) advocate for living conditions conducive to the fulfillment of basic human needs and __________ (should/should not) promote social, economic, political, and cultural values and institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.

Social workers __________ (should/should not) 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/should not) 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.

What do you think? Hint: All the answers are the same.

This is, of course, not what the licensing exam really looks like. Expect vignettes portraying complicated front-line social work situations. Some of those questions will involve a question about how much a social worker should get involved in advocating for clients. You've studied the relevant section here. You're going to know the answer. You're even readier than you were a moment ago.

Good luck on the exam. Now, about that social action...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Quick Quiz: Name That Personality Disorder

It's good to have a handle on all the personality disorders for life and for the social work licensing exam. Before you encountered the DSM, you might've had your own language to describe people with personality disorders--things like "tricky" and "difficult." Well, now you have more precise language to put to use. And here's a chance to show what you know. We've taken samplings from each cluster and provide just enough for you to narrow down the PD. Your job: Name that personality disorder.

Here we go. A pervasive pattern _____________________?

1. Instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects.

2. Social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as by perceptual distortions and eccentricities.

3. Grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.

4. Excessively emotional and attention seeking.

5. Disregard for and violation of the rights of others.

6. Detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions.

How'd you do? Scroll down for answers.

Read up on all the personality disorders on Wikipedia. Get realistic, ASWB exam-style questions (not just "name that" questions) about the DSM and lots more on any good mock social work exam. We recommend SWTP practice tests. Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

1. Borderline
2. Schizotypal
3. Narcissistic
4. Histrionic
5. Antisocial
6. Schizoid