The ASWB tests are a comprehensive and challenging assessment for prospective social workers. These tests are aligned with the professional standards of the Association of Social Work Boards and the American Psychological Association. Effective January 11, 2011, the ASWB tests use different content outlines.
The Bachelor’s examination is divided into four content categories: human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment (27 percent of the exam); assessment (28 percent); direct and indirect practice (26 percent); and professional relationships, values, and ethics (19 percent).
The Master’s examination reflects a modified outline with four similar sections: human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment (28 percent); assessment and intervention planning (24 percent); direct and indirect practice (21 percent); and professional relationships, values, and ethics (27 percent).
The Advanced Generalist examination is separated into five content domains: human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment (18 percent); micro assessment and planning (22% percent); micro practice and social work relationships (18 percent); macro practice (18 percent); and professional values and ethics (24 percent).
The new breakdown of the ASWB Clinical examination features four content areas: human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment (31 percent); assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning (26 percent); psychotherapy, clinical interventions, and case management (25 percent); and professional ethics and values (18 percent).
The format of the ASWB tests remains the same. Each exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions, 20 of which are used to create future versions of the exam and are not counted in the scoring. In most cases, a candidate passes the exam if (s)he answers more than 70 percent of the questions correctly.
1. A social worker is interviewing a new patient who presents some symptoms of depression. The patient reports recent changes such as diminished functioning, marked weight gain, early morning awakening, fatigue, inability to concentrate, suicidal thoughts and headaches. The patient mentions that he started a new medication for a medical condition three weeks ago. The worker would first:
(a) arrange a psychiatric consultation in order to have an anti-depressant prescribed
(b) ascertain the prescribed medication and investigate its side-effects
(c) proceed with a thorough psychosocial history and precipitating events
(d) hospitalize this patient until the suicidal ideation passes
2. A social worker is utilizing environmental manipulation as a technique when he/she:
(a) represents the agency at a health and welfare council meeting
(b) uses a psychosocial framework
(c) suggests the use of psychoactive medications
(d) helps the client find more satisfying employment in a supportive environment
3. A diagnosis of Schizophreniform Disorder is generally applied to clients whose psychotic symptoms:
(a) are related to substance abuse
(b) are very long term
(c) show a marked and continuing decline in functioning
(d) are similar to those of schizophrenia and have existed more than one month, but less than six months.
4. A 15 year old female patient at a mental health clinic complains that for the past three weeks she has been uncharacteristically angry and irritable and has had difficulty concentrating on school work. She says that she feels “down in the dumps”. Her appetite has diminished and though weighing 120 pounds a month earlier, she has lost 9 pounds. She has difficulty sleeping and has withdrawn from after school activities that she had previously found interesting and enjoyable. During the interview she seems constantly in motion, rising several times and walking around the room before returning to her chair. It is most likely that she is suffering from:
(a) a drug induced depression
(b) a somatoform disorder
(c) a depressive episode
(d) an adolescent behavior disorder
5. The policy of providing Permanency Planning refers to:
(a) children who are at risk of removal or are removed from their own homes
(b) the development of a plan through which abused and neglected children will be assured of a stable family situation throughout childhood
(c) a stable foster care plan for children removed from their homes
(d) the use of adoption for children at risk
1. The correct answer is (b): Medications can have powerful side effects and should be ruled out as a causative factor. 1. a psychiatric consultation is unnecessary at this time 2. the clients current mental state and inability to concentrate suggest that a psychosocial history will not be feasible.
2. The correct answer is (d): Environmental manipulation suggests the employment of specific changes in the client’s life that will improve their immediate situation.
3. The correct answer is (d).
4. The correct answer is (c): The only other possible answer is 1, however drug use is not mentioned as a factor in the girl’s life and no history of drug use is cited.
5. The correct answer is (b): It is the most general answer and describes the broad outlines of the policy’s intention in regard to children at risk.