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How to Pass the Social Work Exam

Guidelines in an article from now-licensed former exam-prepper, Michele Bashkin.  Her bullets:

  • Don't overthink the questions. They are not meant to trick you, and sometimes the right answer is obvious.
  • Ask yourself at every question - what is in the best interest of the client? No matter how reasonable other answers are, most questions focus on the client, not their family, doctor, or others needs and wishes.
  • Take a lot of practice exams. When I was ready to sit for the exam, I noticed a pattern in the questions and I began to understand what type of answer the "test makers" wanted. It is certainly not always what we would do in social work practice!
  • If it is possible, take as long as you need to prepare for the exam. I studied for nearly five months so that I could understand the information enough so that I did not have to memorize all of it. For instance, compare the problem solving model (acknowledge problem, define problem, brainstorm solutions, evaluate options, implement intervention strategies, and evaluate outcome) to program development (problem statement, goal/plan, resources, objectives, decide on program operation - evaluation tools, cost, usefulness of program, implementation, and evaluation). In my opinion, the steps are so similar that if I had a question related to either one, I would know what was involved in the process. I placed each similar topic on an index card and kept them paper clipped together. Of course, there are plenty of instances where memorization is necessary.
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