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Welcome, DSM-5

welcome dsm-5It's official. DSM-5 is on the ASWB exam. If a question asks, "What is the BEST diagnosis according to the DSM...?" there's no need to ask yourself which DSM the exam means. It's the purple one, the new one, DSM-5. SWTP practice exams already reflect the change. Does your diagnostic understanding do the same? Below, a few places to get acquainted with the changes in the new manual. More to come on these pages soon.

Buying a DSM-5? For exam purposes, we like the shorter Desk Reference. The big, expensive edition is, of course, an option too.

Happy learning, happy exam-taking, and good luck!


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California Exam Restructure

If the shift from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5 wasn't enough, here's more change for license-bound social workers in California. As of January 1st, 2016, say good-bye to the BBS Standard Written and Clinical Exams. Say hello to a California Law & Ethics exam (for new registrants) and to the ASWB Clinical Exam (to get your California LCSW). We'll post details about the L&E exam when we have them--and, of course, be preparing Law & Ethics practice tests to help you get ready to get licensed. Here are the details, direct from the BBS:

Effective January 1, 2016, the Board's examination process will be changing. New exams will be implemented for all LCSW and LMFT candidates, and registrants (ASWs, MFT Interns and PCC Interns) will be mandated to take a California Law and Ethics Exam, as specified below.

Currently, the licensing exams are taken upon completion of all other requirements for licensure.  Under the restructure, individuals who hold an ASW, MFT Intern or PCC Intern registration will be required to take a California Law and Ethics Exam a minimum of once per renewal cycle while a registrant until the exam has been passed.

If a registrant does not take the Law and Ethics Exam during a renewal period, he or she will not be permitted to renew the registration until the exam has been taken. If a registrant does not pass the Law and Ethics Exam during a renewal period, he or she will be required to take a 12-hour continuing education course on California Law and Ethics in order to be eligible to re-take the Law and Ethics Exam.

Although the exam restructure takes effect January 1, 2016, a grace period has been established that allows individuals with a registration that expires prior to June 30, 2016, to renew that registration between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 without first taking the Law and Ethics Exam.


  • LCSW Exams - LCSW applicants will be required to pass two new exams that replace the existing exams:
    • A California Law and Ethics Exam will replace the Standard Written Exam. It is designed to assess the applicant's knowledge of and ability to apply legal and ethical standards relating to clinical practice.
    • The National Clinical ASWB Exam will replace the Clinical Vignette Exam. It is designed to assess an applicant's knowledge of psychosocial principles and methods in treatment and their application, and the ability to make judgments about appropriate techniques, methods and objectives as applicable to the profession's scope of practice.
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LICSW Success Story: Jessica

i passed the social work licensing examA nice quick note from Jessica, a newly minted LICSW:

I passed! So excited for all of the new opportunities available now that I have my LICSW. I studied primarily by taking all 4 of the practice tests and felt very confident going in for the real thing. Thanks so much!

Congratulations, Jessica, and all other recently licensed social workers!


Find more SWTP success stories on our testimonials page. Ready to get started with social work licensing exam practice? Sign up!

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DSM-5 Lectures

Here, from the SWTP YouTube channel, is a collection of lectures about DSM-5 and the changes therein. Not a lot of bells and whistles here. Just PowerPoint slides and professorial voices. There's more than enough info here to help you answer lots and lots and lots of social work exam questions. These may not be for everyone, but if you're attached to being lectured, you could do worse. Enjoy!

dsm-5 lectures youtube

We'll add more as we find them.


For DSM-5 practice questions, sign up for SWTP's DSM-5 practice exams.

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