Friday, June 27, 2014

Four Tips for Passing the Social Work Exam

Glad you found the site. By searching for help passing the social work licensing exam on the web, you're taking an important and wise step. The internet is a giant, one-stop resource for everything you need to know and do to pass and get your LCSW, LMSW, LSW (whatever you're seeking, whatever letters your state likes best). Here are a few basic pointers to help shape your studies:

1. Check your pulse. It's easy to get worked up about the licensing exam. It's big, it's expensive, it doesn't always seem relevant to social work practice. You don't literally have to check your pulse. But keep tabs on the effect that preparing for the exam is having on you. It's a whole additional stressor added in to your probably already sufficiently stress-filled day-to-day. Take care of yourself. Maybe dial up the anxiety-reducing basics--sleep, breathe, eat, exercise. Exam prep is a marathon, not a sprint. Be the slow and steady exam-passing turtle!

2. Focus on fundamentals. The social work exam is meant for beginning professionals. There's an endless amount of material that could be on the test, but a limited amount of material that will be on the test. Study smart by mastering the material you are fairly certain you'll encounter. Learn the NASW Code of Ethics--it's the underpinning of the vast majority of exam questions. Know the common diagnoses in the DSM, the essentials of human development theory--that sort of stuff. Review scope of practice, mandated reporting, and suicide assessment. The examiners are looking to make sure you'll do a reasonably professional job and keep clients safe. If you've got that down, you're very close to passing the exam.

3. Don't overstudy.  If you find yourself deep in the theoretical or diagnostic weeds as you're preparing for the exam, get out! Remember tip #2. And #1 while you're at it. Remember that some people prepare for just a day or two and pass this test. All a lot of the questions require is social work-informed common sense. Take care not to cram and clutter your mind with unnecessary detail.

4. Practice.  How do you know you've done all of the above? Practice. Take real-time, full-length practice exams to help you gauge your readiness, identify areas you need to strengthen, and generally get acquainted with the experience of a four-hour, 170-question sit. There are lots of free partial exams posted around the web. Check out blog-sponsor SWTP for complete ones. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. How do you pass the licensing exam? You have your answer.

There are your four tips. Use them well. Good luck and congratulations in advance.

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