Taking the ASWB Exam Again

Retaking the ASWB exam may feel a bit intimidating, but it is possible to improve your performance and score.  Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get the score that you wanted; focus your energy on figuring out what you struggled with and work on mastering these areas.  Everyone is unique and takes tests differently. It may be helpful for you to think about how your personal test taking habits can help or hinder you from passing the ASWB exam. The following tips may help you determine what strategies you may need to employ to pass the social work licensing exam.

Set aside enough time to adequately prepare for the exam

It is not uncommon for ASWB test takers to underestimate the time that they will need to spend studying and preparing for the exam. Many of the individuals taking the ASWB test are working full time and may not feel that they have much extra time to devote to studying. They may not be able to commit to blocking off a few hours each day to study for the exam. It is important to know how much time you will be able to spend preparing for the test and adjust your plan accordingly. Most people find that they need at least one month of solid study time to sufficiently prepare for the exam. You may need even more time if you can’t commit to studying every day for a substantial amount of time. It’s much better to give yourself the time you need to study and be able to take the exam with confidence than to jump in and take it without ample preparation.

Make sure you are reviewing the right material

It won’t help you very much to spend time studying material that won’t be on the actual ASWB exam. The first step in determining what you need to study is to find out what topic areas will be included on the exam. The ASWB provides this information on its website. Go to www.aswb.org to find an outline of these topics.

It is also important to get a good study guide to help you prepare for the ASWB test. Comprehensive study guides like The Complete Guide to Social Work contain the information that you need to study along with practice test questions that can help you build your test taking skills while refreshing your knowledge about the topic.  You can also use the feedback that was provided to you after taking the test to find out what areas you may need to focus on. Concentrate on practicing the types of questions that gave you trouble in the past. This may be the key to mastering the exam in the future.

Set a timer

If you ran out of time during the test, it may be helpful to time yourself when you are practicing for the exam. In order to finish the exam within the allotted timeframe, you can spend up to 1.5 minutes on each question. Obviously some questions are going to take you longer than others, but keeping the 1.5 minute average rule in mind can help you keep your pace when you are struggling with tough questions.

Maybe you ran out of time because you got distracted. Most people will agree that 4 hours is a long time to sit still while doing anything much less taking a test.  Just like extended exercising builds up your physical endurance, timed studying can help train your body and your mind to stay focused for longer periods of time. Although you may not be able to spend the full 4 hours studying every day, be sure to do as many full length practice sessions as possible in order to increase the endurance of your focus.

Whatever you do, don’t panic

Having to retake the exam may make you feel a little anxious. This is a completely normal response. It can be scary to retry things that you’ve struggled with in the past. However, your past experiences can also work to your advantage. First of all, you’ve already taken the test! You already know what to expect. This is a wonderful advantage to have because it can help you to feel more comfortable with the test questions and the test setting. Another thing to remember is that you have the opportunity to be better prepared this time around. You now know what areas you need to work on and how much time it will take you to properly study for the exam. Have confidence that you have the tools, resources, and knowledge that you need to go into the exam well prepared and ready to succeed.




Social Work Licensing in the State of California

In the past, the State of California used its own form of exam for social work licensing.  As of 2016, however, the State of California has decided to adopt the ASWB national social work licensing exam that all of the other states use. The ASWB exam replaces the clinical vignette exam.  If you are applying for a social work license in the state of California, aside from the ASWB exam, you will be required to take the law and ethics exam as well.

Here are a few things that you need to know:

You will be taking the Clinical version of the ASWB exam

The ASWB exam is a 170 multiple choice exam that you have 4 hours to take.  This is generally plenty of time for most individuals. You can apply for special accommodations if eligible.

The exam is administered on a computer in testing centers around the country and can be take any day of the week.

The exam fee is $260 and you can register on www.AWSB.org.  You will first need approval from your state licensing board.

To qualify for taking the exam, you must have at least a Masters in social work. Other related disciplines will not be accepted.

If you have taken the exam in another state within the past 7 years, your scores may be transferable.  While the exam is a pass/fail exam, each state has a different score that they consider passing so you will need to check with your state.

Topics on the exam include Human Development, Diversity and Behavior in the environment, assessment, diagnosis and treatment, Psychotherapy and Clinical Interventions and Professional Values and Ethics.  A full list of topics can be found on www.ASWB.org .

Study materials can be purchased on www.socialworkguide.com.  We are an independent company that sells study preparation materials, strategy building workshops and online practice exams.  We have helped tens of thousands of individuals pass their social work licensing exam for over 15 years.  You can find out more information about our products and the exam on www.socialworkguide.com.  You can also email us your questions at info@socialworkguide.com or find us on Facebook.



Why Require a Social Work License

The purpose of licensing in social work is to provide the public with assurance that there are standards and requirements for the safe practice of social work and to ensure that certain professional benchmarks are met and maintained. Some social workers see licensing and continuing education as an expensive burden, which is understandable. The process is lengthy requiring a long application, an expensive fee, copies of transcripts, and letters of referrals.  Once your application is approved, you must take and pass a licensing exam, the registration to which is very simple, but pricey. It is also a long exam that requires proper preparation. One mistake that social workers make is to take the exam with little to no social work.  This is not a good idea.  The goal should be to properly prepare for the exam and take it once.  There are many topics tested on the exam and it would be to your benefit to study those topics and to hone your multiple choice testing skills.  That being said, once you are prepared and registered, taking the exam could not be simpler.  You can take the exam any business day at many centers around the country, but you do have to register in advance.

Despite the above seemingly burdensome process, you have to look at the positive reasons to require social workers to be licensed.  A social work license protects and serves the social worker.  Having a license helps the public to identify social workers who are competent and qualified and to gives the public assurance that they can expect certain standards of care and ethics. It helps to validate the profession to the public. It can also set you apart from other non-licensed social workers and aid in finding a job.  To be a social worker focused on therapy, you must have a clinical license. The other levels of social work licensure (Bachelors, Masters or Advanced Generalist) are optional licenses.

Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a license.  The first step is to check out your state’s social work board to make sure that you are qualified.  The next step is to contact them for an application and begin gathering the information that you need. You will then want to start preparing for the exam.  All states require social workers to pass the ASWB exam, except the state of California which uses its own exam.  The content outlines and key indicators for the exam can be found on the ASWB website. At the same time, you should look into registering for the exam as there is a period of time that has to pass before you can take the exam.

The social work license is not transferrable state to state as each state has its own requirements.  The good news, however, is that even though you have to re-apply to your state board, your test scores are generally transferable.  For more information, check with your state’s social work board.

For more information about the exam or study materials, check out www.socialworkguide.com.


If you are considering getting your LCSW license to become a clinical social worker, there are a few additional steps that you’ll need to take beyond getting your Master’s of Social Work (MSW) or PhD degree in Social Work. First of all, it is important to note that each state has its own list of requirements, so it is in your best interest to look into what you will need to do to obtain your license in your state.  All states with the exception of California will require that you pass the ASWB licensing exam and obtain a certain number of field hours with documented clinical supervision. California uses its own form of exam.  In most states, you will need to complete a certain number of year (e.g.,  2 years) of supervised hours.  Some states allow you to sit for the exam while you are getting your hours.  Others require you to have the hours under your belt beforehand.  Again,you should check with your state social work board.  Here is a list of state boards:  http://www.socialworkguide.com/faq/licensing-boards/

In order to become licensed, you must have a degree in Social Work; other related disciplines will not qualify regardless of how closely related the curriculum is and how many cross-over social work classes that you took.  There are options for becoming licensed on levels other than the clinical or advanced generalist level: the Bachelor’s level requires a BSW and the Master’s level requires an MSW degree.  These degrees must be from a United States accredited school.

It is important to know which exam you will be taking and gather the appropriate materials that you will need to study for the exam. Because there are different levels of the ASWB exam, it is imperative that you register and prepare for the Clinical Level ASWB exam if your goal is to practice clinical social work, i.e., to do therapy.  The questions on this exam are different from those on the other levels of the exam and are geared more toward actual scenarios that you may face in clinical practice. Aside from having a more clinical focus, the questions require higher levels of thinking and analysis.  The questions on this exam also require you to use judgement.

There are great study tools and resources available to help you prepare for the ASWB licensing exam at www.SocialWorkGuide.com. Here you will find three different products to meet your needs including a comprehensive study guide (The Complete Guide to Social Work), a workshop style-book that focuses on test taking strategies designed specifically for the ASWB exam (The Strategic Guide to the ASWB Exam), and an interactive online practice exam.  They can be purchased as a 3 product combination package and are also sold individually. These tools will give you all of the information that you need to feel comfortable and confident in your ability to be successful on the ASWB licensing exam.

If you have any additional questions about the different levels of exam or what you need to do to become licensed, check out www.SocialWorkGuide.com or contact your state social work board.



What Topics Will be on the ASWB Advanced Generalist and Clinical Examinations?

There are many steps that go into the creation and implementation of ASWB exams. The goal is for the questions on the test to be relevant to the profession, thought provoking in nature, and sensitive to the diverse future practitioners who will be taking the exams. The mission of the ASWB is also to provide scenarios that test your knowledge on a variety of issues that social workers face in the field on a daily basis. They derive many of these questions from direct input that they receive from current practitioners working in the field. These social workers report back to the ASWB with situations that they feel are important for future practitioners to know about before going into practice.

Because social work is such a broad field, the test measures a wide range of practice knowledge. You may feel competent in you knowledge of handling certain situations but others may not be as familiar to you. That is why is important for you to consult a good study tool, like The Complete Guide to Social Work, so that you can find out if there are topics that you need to review a little more in depth.

There are 170 questions on each of the ASWB exams (20 of which are ungraded pre-test questions). They are all multiple choice questions with 4 answer options. The questions on the Advanced Generalist Examination measure your knowledge, skills, and abilities as outlined by 5 categories:

Human Development, Diversity, Behavior in the Environment,  Social Work Relationships and Professional Values and Ethics

The questions on the Clinical Examination are also designed to measure you knowledge, skills, and abilities. The 5 categories that will appear on the Clinical Examination are as follows:

Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment,  Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning Psychotherapy, Clinical Interventions and Case Management, and Professional Values and Ethics

For more information, visit www.socialworkguide.com

DSM-5 Study Guides for the ASWB Social Work Exam

Hot off the press! Get your DSM-5 updated social work study guide today. As of July 1, 2015, the ASWB exam will cover DSM-5 disorders. All of our study products have been updated and will be ready to ship on or before June 8th.

We are offering an incredible pre-order discount of 40%. Use the promo code “dsm5” to get your discount. This offer is only valid on ‘The Complete Guide to Social Work’ (all levels) from now until June 5th.

If you are planning on taking your exam before July 1st, the DSM-IV-TR is still available.  To order, go to www.SocialWorkGuide.com.


Congratulations Social Work Graduates!

20% Off Social Work Study GuidesYou did it! You should feel proud for choosing such a rewarding profession and for all of the hard work that you’ve put in over the years. If you’re like many other social work graduates, next you’re probably eager to get started on the road to your social work license.

Taking the exam soon after graduation has its advantages. For one, Social Work information is still fresh on your mind. Likewise, it’s best to act while your test-taking skills are at their peak. Perhaps most importantly, obtaining your license could help you find a job.

In celebration of the graduation of the 2013 class of new and future social workers, we are offering all customers a 20% discount on all of our products, now through May 31, 2013. You don’t have to be a graduate to take advantage of this offer. Our products cover all levels of the ASWB exam – click here to get started and enter MAY2013 at checkout.

Congratulations again and best of luck!

How Do I Register for the ASWB Exam?

Is getting your Social Work License on your list of goals for this year, but you don’t know where to start? You are not alone. We receive many inquiries from individuals asking us for guidance on how to register for the ASWB exam.

The first thing you need to do is check out the requirements for licensure with your state’s social work board. You can consult a list of state social work boards here on our site. Determine which license you are eligible to obtain and which exam is required for that level of licensure. Some states offer up to four levels of licensure: bachelors, masters, clinical and advanced generalist. Each state, except California, requires you to pass the ASWB exam to get your license. California uses a different type of exam.

Most states require you to obtain permission from your state social work board to take the exam, which you request by submitting your application to the board (usually requiring a fee). You must submit proof of education and supervision, if applicable. After your application is approved, the board will send you a permission letter. At this point you can schedule your exam through ASWB.

The entire process can take up to four weeks after your complete application is received by the board. During that time, it’s a good idea to start preparing for your exam so you are ready to schedule your exam as soon as you receive your permission letter. For more information on preparing for your exam, visit the Social Work Guide site.

Good luck!

Thank You and Happy New Year!

All of us at Social Work Guide would like to send warm new year’s greetings to our customers and those of you who’ve helped make our ASWB study guides and practice exams some of the most trusted prep resources available.

This past year was an exciting one with the release of our Complete Packages, which include the Complete Guide to Social Work, the Strategic Guide to the ASWB Exam: Mastering Multiple Choice and the Interactive Practice Exam. We believe that in order to be successful on the ASWB Licensing Exam, you need to have the knowledge, the skills, and practice. Each of these products is designed to achieve one of those aspects, and the Complete Package bundles all three products with a built-in discount.

For those of you planning to take the ASWB licensing exam in 2013, we support your efforts and would like to extend an additional savings of 20% off all Complete Packages through the entire month of January. Just enter NY2013 at checkout.

Happy New Year and best of luck on your exam!