Preparing for the ASWB exam can be challenging and stressful. As the test day approaches, it's natural to feel a mix of excitement and trepidation. You can’t be sure what’s going to show up on the exam. But you can have a pretty idea of how the process itself will go. Here are some exam day essentials to get you oriented ahead of your big day. 

Test Center

    • Location and Arrival: Check your test center's location and plan your journey in advance. Plan to arrive early to allow time for check-in.
    • Identification and Documentation: Review test-center communications and ensure you have the necessary documents to get started (eg, a valid government-issued ID).
    • Personal Belongings: Most personal items are prohibited in the testing area (phones, of course, but aslo including certain clothing and jewelry). The ASWB Examination Guidebook has specifics. Leave unnecessary belongings at home or put them in the designated storage area provided by the test center.

Check-In and Exam Process

    • Registration and Verification: You will be required to provide your identification and possibly sign an acknowledgment form. Follow the instructions provided by the test center staff.
    • Security: Be prepared for security procedures such as metal detectors, fingerprinting, or video surveillance. 
    • Breaks: To request a break, simply raise your hand and a proctor will assist you by escorting you out of the testing room. Testing time will continue to run during your break. You are allowed to leave the testing room only to use the nearest restroom or access your locker to have a drink or snack. Remember to carry your photo ID with you.

Test Format

    • Exam Basics: Unless you get accommodations, the exam is timed–170 questions over 4 hours administered by computer. Practice tests help you get a sense of question-to-question pacing necessary to complete the test on time. Get a glimpse of exam layout in the ASWB Exam Guidebook.
    • Question Types: The exam is all multiple-choice, leaning heavily on scenario-based questions. You’ll be given either three or four answer choices for each question.
    • Content: The test is designed to assess your beginning social work knowledge, skills, and abilities in a wide range of topic areas. For specifics, see the content exam outline on the ASWB site. Practice tests are invaluable at getting you comfortable with applying your social work wisdom to scenario questions and filling in gaps in your knowledge.
    • Testers: Remember that 20 of the questions are unscored (they’re being tested for future versions of the exam). If you encounter a particularly difficult or confusing question, don’t fret. It’s probably one of those unscored twenty!

Test-Taking Strategies

    • Read Carefully: Take your time to read and understand each question. Pay attention to any specific requirements or limitations.
    • Flag for Review: Mark questions you want to revisit later. Managing your time wisely, you should be able to answer all questions and leave some time for review.
    • Guess: When unsure, make an educated guess rather than leaving a question unanswered. Eliminate obviously incorrect options and use your knowledge and reasoning to narrow down the choices. At minimum, you have a 25% chance of correctly answering a guessed-at question. Worth a shot!

Emotional Preparation

    • Test Anxiety: Staying calm keeps you focus and can improve your performance on the test. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, to reduce anxiety before and during the exam. 
    • Self-Care: Prioritize self-care in the days leading up to the exam. Aim to get sufficient rest, eat well, and engage in activities that help you relax and stay focused.

Trust in your preparation. People pass the social work licensing exam every day. Hopefully, you’re next!

Get started with full-length practice tests here.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

July 12, 2023