The ASWB Masters level exam may be all that stands between you and a LMSW. The first step to passing the LMSW exam is knowing what to expect. Below, find information about exam content, steps to getting licensed, and some important study guidelines.
What's on the LMSW Exam?
The ASWB Masters exam is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions administered over four hours. Of those 170, 20 are unscored questions being tested by the ASWB for use in future exams. There's no way to know which questions are scored and which aren't, so treat every question like it counts. But if you encounter a question that seems especially hard, badly written, or confusing, shake it off--it may be an unscored tester.
The content area weighting for the LMSW exam is as follows:
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%
Questions are spread pretty evenly across the four areas. Human development, assessment, practice, and ethics will all feature prominently. Be sure to balance your studying!
Steps to Getting an LMSW
Different states have different requirements for licensure. Check with your state licensing board for details where you live. Generally:
- Meet your state's requirements (education, practice hours).
- Apply with the licensing board for approval.
- Register with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and set a testing day.
Passing the LMSW Exam
Not everyone passes the LMSW on the first try. To avoid extra hassle and expense, try to get familiar with the exam content and process through dedicated studying. (SWTP offers five full-length practice tests that should be very helpful in both regards.)
The LMSW exam is designed to test for beginning social work knowledge, skills, and abilities. Take care not to overstudy and sink time into learning obscure facts that are unlikely to appear on the exam. Do be sure to have the basics at your fingertips. Knowing the NASW Code of Ethics well, for example, is invaluable.
Staying focused over four hours can be tricky, especially since so many questions on the exam are reading heavy, often with tension-increasing vignettes featuring clients and social workers in difficult situations. Practicing the four-hour sit, pacing yourself, noting your need for a snack or bathroom break, etc., can give you a leg up as you go to take the real thing.
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"SWTP definitely helped me to pass my exam on the first try! SWTP, I'll be back when it's time for my clinical exam." -- Grace