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"I'm studying for my LCSW and using Social Work Test Prep to help me pass. So far it has helped me to feel confident and is helping me tremendously to prepare for the test!"

Good luck, Judi, and all soon-to-be licensed social workers!

To get started with SWTP practice tests, sign up!

PTSD and the Social Work Exam

nightmareLet's hop to the Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders chapter of the DSM. It's stressful out there, so questions from this chapter may seem especially pertinent. Today's free social work licensing exam prep is about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD):

A client  reports intrusive distressing memories and recurring nightmares for the last month, ever since hearing about the sexual assault of a close friend. The client says she has had trouble talking to the friend since the reported events--"It's just too disturbing." When diagnosing the client, the social worker should keep in mind:

A. PTSD can only be diagnosed with three or more intrusion symptoms present (e.g., memories, dreams, flashbacks).

B. The diagnosis cannot be PTSD because the trauma was only reported, not experienced or witnessed.

C. PTSD can only be diagnosed when avoidance of trauma-associated stimuli is present (e.g., not talking to the friend).

D. PTSD can only be diagnosed after symptoms have been present for three months.

What do you say?

Items like this take a fair amount of focus and close reading (in addition to familiarity with PTSD criteria). But that's exactly what you're practicing for, right?

Let's eliminate the answers one by one.

A...isn't right. PTSD requires the presence of one or more intrusion symptoms, not three or more.

B...isn't right. PTSD can be diagnosed whether the trauma (exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence) was experienced, witnessed, or involved close family or a close friend. Repeated or extreme exposure to trauma (as experienced by EMTs, workers) also counts.

D...isn't right. PTSD symptoms need to be present for one month, not three.

That leaves one answer, the correct answer, answer C! PTSD can only be diagnosed when the avoidance of trauma-associated stimuli is present, and, in this vignette it's present. The client reports difficulty talking to the friend.

You may have had other diagnoses in mind, but since they weren't offered, they can't be the right answer, no matter how correct they are.

All make sense? If not, let us know!

With each practice question, you're more and more prepped for the real thing--the ASWB exam. Good luck!

For more details about PTSD criteria and symptoms, take a look at these sites:

For more questions about PTSD and lots, lots more, try SWTP's full-length, real-time practice tests!

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"I PASSED...Thank you for making great study material!!"

fireworksSome celebrating going on!

Thank you so much ! I passed my LMSW exam with the help of your practice exams! Practice makes perfect!!

Congratulations, Gloria!

I PASSED! ! ! ! ! ! I purchased two practice test they were an amazing help as I studied.

Congratulations, Ashley!

I PASSED...I purchased three practice test, ethics booster and DSM booster..This helped me greatly!! Thank you for making great study material!!

Congratulations, Ari!

Congratulations to all recently licensed social workers! Way to go!

Still working toward your license? Sign up to get started with SWTP exams!

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Practice Question: Reporting

mandated reporting Let's return to the NASW Code of Ethics for some practice questions. Here's one based upon the very first item in the "Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to Clients":

A child tells a social worker about being hit by her father on multiple occasions. She shows the social worker bruises that resulted. "But you can't tell anyone," the girl says. "If he finds out, he'll kill me!" What is the BEST course of action for the social worker to take?

A. Make a report to the police.

B. Make a report to child protective services.

C. Discuss mandated reporting with the client.

D. Get more detail about the father's violence.

What's your answer?

The relevant section of the Code of Ethics is 1.01 Commitment to Clients:

Social workers' primary responsibility is to promote the well-being of clients. In general, clients' interests are primary. However, social workers' responsibility to the larger society or specific legal obligations may on limited occasions supersede the loyalty owed clients, and clients should be so advised. (Examples include when a social worker is required by law to report that a client has abused a child or has threatened to harm self or others.)

Social workers promote client well-being. However, legal requirements--such as abuse reporting--take precedent. So the answer here is that the abuse must be reported. The father has been violent on multiple occasions and left bruises on his daughter. Not a close call. So do you call the police or child protective services?  Well, is there something special here that would warrant a call to the police instead of child protective services? Not really. Call child protective services. That's what they're there for. If they want to involve the police, they can. Our answer is B).

For more about social workers obligations as mandated reporters, take a look at:

For more questions about mandated reporting and lots more, sign up for SWTP's full-length practice tests!

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Getting Out the Vote

call countIt's election season. Time to get involved! Time to get out the vote. When social workers get motivated, good things happen.

Here's the deal: Make calls to the candidate--local, state, or national--who you believe best represents social work values (NASW endorsements are here, if you'd like guidance.) The effort is its own reward, but we'll put a dollar amount on it:  For every call you make to help get out the vote, you save a dollar on SWTP exams, up to $50. Make one call, save one dollar. Make 50 calls, save 50 dollars! Just take a screen shot of the call tool--over where it says total number of calls made, and send it to

And if you haven't registered to vote yet, it's time!

Have fun dialing. Go team social work!