Community Organizing and the Social Work Exam

1963_march_on_washingtonSocial workers are not permitted to talk about what they encountered on the ASWB exam and we never ask. Which is how it should be. The social work exam changes fairly regularly. You could (unethically and unscrupulously) get someone to tell you exactly what to study for the test they took, then arrive on exam day facing an entirely different version of the exam. So, better--for your conscience and for your chances--to study a broad array of questions covering the wide range of material includes in ASWB exam outlines. (We just happen to have practice tests that are designed to help you do just that!)

One topic you may gloss over--and one that may not have been thoroughly treated in your MSW program: community organizing. The outlines hit the topic several times. Like this:

• Community organizing and social planning methods

• Techniques for mobilizing community participation

Community organizing is worth knowing! Happily, others have done the work summarizing everything you might need to know for the social work licensing exam:

Community Organizing (Wikipedia)

7 Principles of Community Organizing (

What Does a Community Organizer Do? (Social Work Degree Guide)

5 Functions of a Community Organizer (Social Work Degree Guide)

TMI? Maybe just speed read--bullet points only. Here's a free practice question that grabs some knowledge from one of the above (not saying which one : ) ).

Which of the following is generally considered a vital role for a community organizer?

A. Activism

B. Social Movement Building

C. Coalition Building

D. Legal Action

Have an answer?

You probably don't need to read up to work your way to getting this question right. If you think it through, it might go something like this: Activism is for activists (individuals). Social movement building takes organizations working together-in and outside of any the community. Legal action is for attorneys. Which leaves one answer for you: a vital role for community organizers is…coalition building (within the community).

How'd you do?

Right or wrong on this one, there's so much more to know and to practice. A great to time to start? Right now. Sign up join the thousands of social workers who've used SWTP's complete, 170-question practice tests to pass the social work exam.  (We'll send you our free study guide when you create a free account!).

Good luck!

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Social Work Exam Practice–Client Fired for Missing Work

Haymarket AffairHere's a holiday-themed free practice question to help get you ready to pass the ASWB exam:

A client tells a social worker that he was fired after no-showing for work on Labor Day. He plans to sue his former employer for wrongful termination. What can the social worker tell the client about his legal standing?

A. The social worker should refrain from advising on legal matters and refer the client to a lawyer.

B. Suggest the client find an attorney on his own.

C. Discuss other issues that may have led to the client's getting fired.

D. Let the client know that, in most states, employers aren't required to give days off on federal holidays.

What's your answer?

Let's do what we always do--take the answers one at a time.

A. Refer to a lawyer. Law is out of the scope of practice for social workers, but knowing a little something about law can come in handy. Let's put a pin in this one. It's a maybe.

B. Suggest client find attorney. This is less helpful than the first answer, so probably not the right one. Strike it.

C. Discuss past issues. This is tempting. "Discuss" is almost always tempting. Let's mark this as maybe also.

D. Inform client about law. Hmm, is this right? Is this an overreach for a social worker? If you're a social worker, particularly if you've worked in a residential setting, you've probably been asked to work holidays, even the big federal ones like Labor Day. So it can't be that no one works on federal holidays. Come to think, plenty of businesses are open on holidays. So this could be right. Let's maybe this one too.

That leaves three maybes (more than the usual two): Refer, discuss, or inform. There's no acronymed guideline that will give you the right answer in this case. In some questions, each type of offered answer will be right. Refer will be correct in a scope of practice question. Discuss will be right in a rapport-building and therapy skills question. Inform will be right in a more fact-based question. So which one is this?

Well, if you already know that businesses are not required to give days off on federal holidays, you know there's no reason to refer to an attorney. There's also not a lot to be gained by discussing the client's past job performance. Which leaves a best answer: D) Inform the client--tell him the facts of his situation.

One additional clue that this might be the right choice: the question asks what the social worker can tell the client about his legal standing. D is the only offered answer that actually does that.

As ever, one answer doesn't rule out the other answers. It's just the best answer. Think of it this way: a social worker has time to give one answer and one answer only to a client. Which should the social worker choose?

Make sense?

Hope this helps as you tackle more and more practice questions, and, eventually, the real 170-question ASWB exam itself. Speaking of practice, we've got a ton here. Hit Sign Up to create an account and get started!

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

(PS Some Labor Day history here. Good to know.)

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ASWB Exam Pass Party

aswb exam pass partyThere's no party like an ASWB exam pass party. And you're invited. All you have to do is prepare for and pass the ASWB exam. (Okay, that's not an easy step…but it's just one big step. (And, by the way, we're here to help with loads of practice questions-five complete exams worth plus two booster tests, one all-DSM, one all-ethics-everything you need.).)  Then you send out your invitation. Just a photo of you and your pass sheet. Post it, send it to us, we'll post it…and suddenly you've got lots and lots and lots of people celebrating your triumph.

Everyone likes a success story. Maybe social workers most of all. So people who are preparing to pass the ASWB exam and get licensed are going to be happy for you. Social workers who have already gotten licensed are going to be happy for you. We all know what a big deal it is-how tough the exam prep and the four-hour exam can be. So much content to cover. So many close-call questions.

It's possible that the wider social work community may be happier for you that the people closer to home. We know what it takes to get that degree, to do that work, and, alongside it all, to do all those practice questions to get ready for the real thing. A lot. That's what it takes. A lot.

So, congratulations in advance. Once you leave your exam site, let us know how it went. And when it's good news, also send a pass-sheet selfie along with your note. There's a ASWB exam pass party waiting to happen.

Happy studying and good luck!

Free Exam Practice in a Few Quick Steps

a few steps In case you missed the email from us when you signed up, there's a fast, simple way to save even more on your exam prep than you already do with SWTP's pricing and regular discounts: Post. When you post on social media about your ASWB exam prep using SWTP and link to the site, you get our Ethics Booster test as a free thank you. Actually, skipped a step. You post and let us know--by emailing a screenshot--and we'll add the Ethics Booster to your account.

What's the Ethics Booster? Just what it sounds like. An all-ethics-question mini-exam designed to get you more and more prepared to tackle the hefty serving of ethics questions you're likely to see on the licensing exam. (We also have an all-diagnosis-question DSM Booster--same idea, but with DSM questions.)

The title promised steps, so here they are.

1. Post about SWTP with a link to the site.

2. Let us know that you did. Email a screenshot to

3. There isn't really a step three. Not for you at least--we do that. We add the Ethics Booster to your account.

Then you practice, build your ASWB-exam-taking mental muscles, and go in to, not just take, PASS the exam. Crush it, even. Leave the test center relieved and elated.

And finally, one last email we hope you'll send: a victory photo--you proudly smiling alongside your pass sheet, just like all the pass-sheet selfies on the SWTP homepage and blog. Share your good news!

Thanks in advance. Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

Free Social Work Exam Practice: Vaxxed and Positive

covid testHere's a new, free practice question to help you get ready to pass the ASWB exam. See how you do.

A social worker tests positive for COVID-19, though she has been vaccinated and has no symptoms. According to the CDC, what should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Notify close contacts about the diagnosis.

B. Contact the local health department about the diagnosis.

C. Self-quarantine at home for 10 days.

D. Mask and maintain social distancing for 10 days.

What's your answer?

This is a COVID question, yes. But more simply, it's a FIRST question. The FIRST is there for a reason. Let's take the answers one by one and see how the FIRST plays its part.

A. Notify close contacts. A good idea and a strong contender for correct answer. But before choosing it, let's look at the other choices…

B. Contact the local health department. This is generally left to medical providers. And isn't a top-level health and safety securer. Since it's not as good an answer as A, seems okay to strike it and move on…

C.  Self-quarantine. Also a strong answer. Looks like there's maybe going to be a showdown. One more to go…

D. Mask and maintain social distancing. This does not adhere to CDC recommendations. Bad answer. Scratch it.

It is a showdown, as anticipated: Notify Close Contacts vs. Quarantine. Both are recommended by the CDC (see " What To Do If You Have COVID-19"). But one of them potentially leaves the social worker out and about, shedding and spreading the virus. You can contact people from anywhere--from work, the mall, etc. The first order of business--FIRST, that is--is to go home and avoid others. Pretty simple, once you think it through. You may have been distracted by the social worker's being vaxxed and having no symptoms. Neither matters when it comes to protocols following a positive test.

Sometimes you don't have to know anything about a topic to get the right answer. You can just apply common sense. That's more-or-less the case here.

Looking for more on the topic? CDC guidance on COVID-19 lives here.

Stay safe, happy studying, and good luck with the exam!

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