ASWB exam preparation isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The amount of time you need to study will vary depending on a variety of factors – your level of experience, knowledge of the material, and study habits. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to determine how long you should prepare for the exam.

The ASWB exam covers a wide range of topics, including human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, social work research, and social work ethics. You'll need a good understanding of the full list of topics in order to sit with confidence for the exam. Not familiar with the material? You'll need more time studying. (Obviously.) How to assess that? Practice tests!

If you have been working as a social worker for several years, you may already have a good understanding of the material covered on the exam. Those just getting started in the field may need additional study time. But note: since the ASWB exam is generally looking for textbook social work behavior, sometimes real-world experience can interfere with answering questions correctly. “That’s not how it’s done,” an experienced social worker might think. But if it’s how it’s supposed to be done, that’s the answer.

Re study habits: Disciplined students, able to focus and study for long periods of time, may be able to prepare for the exam over fewer days, weeks, or months. And those with free time to take full-length practice exams (and additional time to review them), can further reduce the amount of calendar time spent preparing. 

You know you. You got through lots of schooling to get to this point. That’s lots of tests, lots of time management, lots of knowledge gained (and, probably, lots forgotten). For a 170-question, 4-hour test covering a wide range of topics, how many total hours of prep time do you need? 20, 30, 40, 50…? You're the best judge of that.

Here are some basic tips to help you prepare for the ASWB exam:

  • Don't cram. The earlier you start studying, the more time you will have to review the material and practice taking practice tests.
  • Create a study schedule and stick to it. Make sure to set aside time each day or week to study.
  • Take practice tests. Practice tests are the best way to assess your progress and identify areas where you need to improve.
  • Get help if you need it. If you are struggling to understand the material or pass practice tests, consider getting help from a tutor or study group.

The ASWB exam can be a big, scary test, but you can pass it! It’s just a matter of time.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

April 4, 2023
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