Monday, August 26, 2013

Introduction to the Social Work Exam

Hi, I'm the social work licensing exam. Pleased to meet you. I'm so glad you're planning to take me. (I know you don't really have a choice if you want to get licensed, but still I'm flattered.) I don't like to play games, so I'll give you some basics about me that will make it easier when you try to pass me. Here goes:

I'm given by the ASWB nationwide (except in California--but that'll change sooner or later). There's lots of information about me on the ASWB website, which I'm sure you can track down--you're a resource-harnessing social worker after all! [It's -- ed.]  I'm 170 questions long (200 in California). Of those questions, 20 are testers for future versions of me--they don't count on your score. But I don't want you to worry about what's a tester and what's not. The only way knowing about testers might be useful is so when you face a question you get stumped by, you can say, "Whatev', probably a tester." Otherwise, approach each item on me as if it counts, with tender loving care.  You get four hours to complete me ("You complete me"--ha, ha).  

How should you get ready for our big date? There are simple things you can study--lots of them are discussed on this very blog. For example, get to know my pal, the NASW Code of Ethics. Also get a handle on the basics of that oversized, self-important brick of a book, the DSM.  Just focus on diagnoses that social workers tend to encounter in front-line practice (you know--bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, depression, personality disorders...that stuff). 

Please, don't overprepare--I'm not impressed with deep technical knowledge about obscure topics in psychology. I just want to be sure that you think like a social worker and might actually act like a social worker once licensed. Here's a trick: lean on textbook social work more than your hands-on experience in the field. I test for ideal social work, not the way things really work. 

One more thing, try out some real-time practice tests (the one linked a bunch on this blog will do nicely). [It's SWTP -- ed.] Practice tests will give you a pretty good idea of what our big, four-hour sit-down will be like. And how you hold up under these unusual conditions. Do you run out of steam? Lose focus? Try more practice tests! Build those muscles. Think of it as a workout. Wear sweats if it helps.

Just like the practice exams, I won't leave you waiting to know how our time together turned out. Once you submit your scores, your result will pop right up.  I hope it's PASS! 

Thanks for all the work you do. I love social work. I love social workers! I'm rooting for you. Good luck!

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