What's on the ASWB Exam?
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is tasked with assessing social workers' readiness to advance to different levels of licensure. There are four licensing exam levels, Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical, each with increasingly varied and challenging content. Different states grant different designations to exam-passers. The most common are LBSW (Bachelors), LMSW (Masters), LGSW (Advanced Generalist), and LCSW (Clinical). (Not all states test at all levels. Check your state licensing board for specifics where you want to get licensed.)
The exam consists of 170 questions with a four-hour time limit. Among the 170 questions are 20 "tester" questions which don't count toward the final score, but may appear on future versions of the exam.
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Exam content draws from the wide range of social work knowledge, skills, and abilities, with more detail added at each exam level. The basic information drawn upon for each exam is more or less the same.
Bachelors Exam Breakdown:
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, DIVERSITY, AND BEHAVIOR IN THE ENVIRONMENT 25%
INTERVENTIONS WITH CLIENTS/CLIENT SYSTEMS 26%
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, VALUES, AND ETHICS 20%
Masters Exam Breakdown:
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, DIVERSITY, AND BEHAVIOR IN THE ENVIRONMENT 27%
ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION PLANNING 24%
INTERVENTIONS WITH CLIENTS/CLIENT SYSTEMS 24%
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, VALUES, AND ETHICS 25%
Advanced Generalist Breakdown:
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, DIVERSITY, AND BEHAVIOR IN THE ENVIRONMENT 23%
INTERVENTION PROCESSES AND TECHNIQUES FOR USE ACROSS SYSTEMS 32%
INTERVENTION PROCESSES AND TECHNIQUES FOR USE WITH LARGER SYSTEMS 18%
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, VALUES, AND ETHICS 27%
Clinical Exam Breakdown:
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, DIVERSITY, AND BEHAVIOR IN THE ENVIRONMENT (24%)
ASSESSMENT, DIAGNOSIS, AND TREATMENT PLANNING (30%)
PSYCHOTHERAPY, CLINICAL INTERVENTIONS, AND CASE MANAGEMENT (27%)
PROFESSIONAL VALUES AND ETHICS (19%)
As you can see, the differences in topic areas and how they're weighted isn't enormous. The Bachelors exam is simplest. The Advanced Generalist has the most systems focus. The Clinical exam upgrades from "interventions" to "clinical interventions." But the underlying material for each is more-or-less the same: the essentials of ethical social work practice.
Passing the ASWB Exam
The first step to getting licensed as a social worker isn't passing the ASWB exam, it's preparing to pass the ASWB exam.
With such an enormous array of information that may appear on any version of the ASWB exam, practice tests are, for most people, the best way to get ready to pass the exam. Good ASWB practice will not only help you learn exam content, it will also help you learn about the process of taking the exam. With each ASWB practice exam, you'll develop more answers to essential question:
- How do you narrow down between answer choices? If you've got two good responses to choose from, how do you make a final, correct pick?
- How does your attention hold up over four hours of testing? Do you need breaks? Will you need a snack?
- How anxious does the four-hour exam process make you? What helps reduce your test anxiety? Are you able put those tools to work and complete the exam on time?
SWTP practice tests will help you answer all of these questions and others that may arise as you study.
What to Look for in an ASWB Practice Exam
Not all ASWB practice exams are built the same. Some things to look for.
Practice tests should reflect the content and experience of the real thing . Any good social work practice test will follow the content published by the ASWB and be weighted just like the real thing. Also crucial, clear rationales for every answer of every question (like SWTP!). On this site, as an added bonus: suggested study links for every question. When you need additional brushing up on a topic, the suggested study links will take you to good information.
Part of what you're learning when you study for the licensing exam is the exam process. Since the ASWB exam is administered via computer, it makes sense, if you're able, to take online practice tests instead of paper-and-pencil ones. You don't prepare for a marathon by doing a bunch of push-ups. You go out and run. And, ideally, you run in conditions that are similar to the race you're getting ready for. Get used to the four-hour sit in front of a computer screen answering tough vignette questions in real time--170 questions, 240 minutes.
Social Work Specific
Be alert to companies repackaging psychology exam questions as social work licensing practice. While there is some obvious overlap between the disciplines (DSM questions, for example), a huge portion of the ASWB exam at every level is social work-specific. Many questions on the ASWB exam--not just those in the Professional Values and Ethics portion--require a good understanding of the NASW Code of Ethics. A social work practice exam should consist of questions written by and for social workers.
Look for practice tests with proven results . Have people used the program to successfully navigate the ASWB exam? User testimonials (like those below) can be a helpful guide.
Social Work Test Prep practice tests meet all criteria for good, trustworthy licensing exam prep: careful content creation; full-length, real-time online exams to help you develop your understanding of the exam process; exams written for social workers by social workers; proven success with real social workers.
Thousands of social workers have passed the ASWB exam using SWTP. Just a few of the notes we've received:
"I needed 97 to pass and I scored 118! I attribute this solely to your resources. I loved the links and the rationales." -- Joy
"I had purchased other test prep materials, but the SWTP practice exams and boosters really helped prepare me for the actual exam questions. The ability to review and access justification was extremely helpful! Highly recommend Social Work Test Prep!" -- Elle
"I passed my licensing exam! I would like to thank SWTP for all the preparation. It was extremely helpful and I have recommended it to friends and classmates." -- Janine
"I finally passed my clinical exam. Using SWTP study materials helped me so much. There is a lot of content in the social work field and I would at times feel overwhelmed. However, SWTP made it so much easier for me to retain the information needed to pass. I didn't pass the first time, but once I started studying with SWTP materials I felt so confident. There was a significant improvement in my score. I can finally breathe." -- Keyanna
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