Launched: CA BBS Practice Exam Using DSM-5

dsm-5 practice exam launch DSM-5 will not appear on the social work licensing exam most places until July, 2015. In California--like with so many other things--it's different. DSM-5 based questions will show up on the exam administered by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences much sooner--December, 2014. Again, that's just California.

With that second date in mind, we've combed through our CA BBS Practice Exam and updated it with DSM-5 content. For people planning to take the California Standard Written Exam after December 1, 2014, this is the exam for you. (It's called CA BBS Practice Exam (DSM-5).)

For all others, continue to study with the existing exams. They ask DSM-IV-TR questions, which, up till July, '15, are what you need to be prepared. We'll be updating the rest of the exams in coming months. 

Whichever DSM you're studying and wherever you're taking the social work exam, good luck! 

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NASW Code of Ethics: Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society

Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society Last but not least in the NASW Code of Ethics is section number six, "Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society." These are good items to review and remember, not just for the licensing exam, but for staying connected to the core mission of social work. The four items are simple--links go to details:

  • 6.01 Social Welfare
  • 6.02 Public Participation
  • 6.03 Public Emergencies
  • 6.04 Social and Political Action

Here's 6.04, Social and Political Action, in its entirety:

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.

(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited persons and groups.

(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.

(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability.

Don't be surprised to encounter items on the social work exam addressing social and political action. When in doubt, remember the call to action here: act, advocate, promote, prevent.  Social workers--on the exam and in practice--are directed by the code to engage not just with individual clients, but with the larger systems, especially in the face of injustice.


For realistic exam practice regarding social justice and lots more, get started with SWTP.

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NASW Standards of Practice as Social Work Exam Study Guide

practice makes licensed There are lots of ways to structure your preparation for the social work licensing exam. Learning everything there is to know about social work is one way to go (memorizing The Social Work Dictionary, the DSM, all your MSW textbooks...). But that's not recommended. It would take nearly forever, and there's only so much information you can realistically retain. Better to find a way to get acquainted in a general way with what you might actually expect to see on the exam.

The exam aims to make certain that licensed social workers know their way around the requirements of the profession. So, what are those requirements? The NASW Code of Ethics has a lot to say about that. Knowing your way around the code is a great way to get exam-ready. Here's another: Take a look at the NASW Standards for the Practice of Clinical Social Work. Here--bullet-pointed below--are the basic building blocks of clinical social work practice. Links go to explanations from NASW. If any of these standards reads as alien to you, then dig into the textbooks.

  • Standard 1. Clinical social workers shall function in accordance with the ethics and the stated standards of the profession, including its accountability procedures.
  • Standard 2. Clinical social workers shall have and continue to develop specialized knowledge and understanding of individuals, families, and groups and of therapeutic and preventive interventions.
  • Standard 3. Clinical social workers shall respond in a professional manner to all persons who seek their assistance.
  • Standard 4. Clinical social workers shall be knowledgeable about the services available in the community and make appropriate referrals for their clients.
  • Standard 5. Clinical social workers shall maintain their accessibility to clients.
  • Standard 6. Clinical social workers shall safeguard the confidential nature of the treatment relationship and of the information obtained within that relationship.
  • Standard 7. Clinical social workers shall maintain access to professional case consultation.
  • Standard 8. Clinical social workers shall establish and maintain professional offices and procedures.
  • Standard 9. Clinical social workers shall represent themselves to the public with accuracy.
  • Standard 10. Social workers shall engage in the independent private practice of clinical social work only when qualified to do so.
  • Standard 11. Clinical social workers shall have the right to establish an independent private practice.

Chances are, you already get this basic, social work stuff--just like you'll know the basic, social work stuff that comes up on the exam. Good luck!

For realistic practice exams covering the above and much more, sign up!

Jean Piaget and the Social Work Exam

doll August 9th is Jean Piaget's birthday. Consider marking the occasion by brushing up on the parts of Piaget's work that you might encounter on the social work licensing exam. Here's's summary of Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development, with links through to more detail:

  • The Sensorimotor Stage: During this stage, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects.
  • The Preoperational Stage: At this stage, kids learn through pretend play but still struggle with logic and taking the point of view of other people.
  • The Concrete Operational Stage: Kids at this point of development begin to think more logically, but their thinking can also be very rigid. They tend to struggle with abstract and hypothetical concepts.
  • The Formal Operational Stage: The final stage of Piaget's theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas.

See the chart below for the ages (or just remember, shifts come at 2, 7, and 11). More details about Piaget--too many details, really--await you here:

For realistic exam questions about Piaget and lots more sign up for SWTP's online social work exam practice.

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New SWTP Coupon Code

Here's a new coupon code, good through August '14. Get an additional five percent off your purchase of any and all Social Work Test Prep exams and exam bundles by entering AUG5 at checkout. Social workers don't let social workers pay retail. Pass it on and good luck on the exam!