Thursday, September 3, 2009

Study and Test Taking Tips

While reviewing some test prep materials my medical center purchased years ago I came across some great tips for studying as well as tips for taking the ASWB exam.

Study Tips:

While using the practice exams from various websites or programs you may purchase or borrow, write down any unfamiliar terms and then look them up in the Social Work Dictionary. This will give definitions specific to the context of social work practice.

When studying think application not memorization! Don't memorize the sample questions, focus on the theory/technique/disorder etc. and the application of this to practice.

Test Taking Tips:

Arrive early, bring ID.

Scan the questions for buzz words like should, first, except, next.

In case examples sort out the important info -- what are they asking? Don't get bogged down in all the minor details of case examples.

Answer each question, flag the ones you are unsure of. Write down the question number and key terms on your scratch paper, return to the question after you have finished.

It is suggested that you do not change any of your answers on the first 70 questions. (probably that whole "first impression is usually right" idea and the fact that you were still mentally fresh during that time)

Pick options in order of how you should proceed - Assess/Discuss/Explore, then Educate, Advocate, Facilitate/Refer, Intervene. For example, in a question about possible child abuse you would not intervene before exploring.

Never choose an option to do nothing.

Always start where the client is.
Try to choose the option that empowers the client to do for themselves whenever possible.

Choose answers that maintain confidentiality whenever possible (exceptions: duty to warn, court order, suicidal with plan/intent).

All major social work models stress psychosocial person in environment/situation focus.

Consider the SW Code of Ethics when answering questions, are you "enhancing human well-being and helping to meet the basic needs of all people particularly the empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty"?

Our primary ethical responsibility is to clients, over our agency and larger society (except for specific legal obligations such as those mentioned above).

I read on another blog a helpful thought: this test is not necessarily about what you would do in a given situation but what the textbook social worker would do.