Becoming a licensed social worker requires passion for the job. It also requires quite a bit of study. Not only do social workers need education, but they also need to pass exams to become licensed.
Social workers have five levels of licensure available in this profession. To achieve each level of license, the student must pass an exam.
Preparing for these exams is easier when you use a prep book. Naturally, you will rely on the coursework you've taken, but a social work exam prep book provides additional help. These prep books deliver advice on test-taking along with sample questions.
Our favorite prep book for social work exams is the Dawn Apgar Social Work ASWB Clinical Exam Guide. Its collection of sample tests is among the best you'll find.
Considerations when choosing social work exam prep books
Always match the prep test book you purchase with the type of license you're trying to obtain. Without the right exam prep book, you won't receive the benefit you're seeking.
Testing requirements are a little different from state to state. Understanding exactly what's required in your state is your responsibility. Social work exam prep books are general in nature; they won't be geared toward a particular state. They provide the general knowledge you need for the test, regardless of where you live.
The Association of Social Work Boards, or ASWB, oversees the tests for the entire field. Make sure any prep book you select follows ASWB regulations.
We've put together a list of items you need to think about when shopping for the right prep book.
Type of license: The majority of books will cover multiple exams and licenses. Be sure that your book fits in with the exam you want to take.
Organization: You definitely will want a prep book that is well-organized. You should be able to find questions that pertain to certain aspects of the test easily. A haphazard collection of questions and study strategies will force you to spend more time studying than you would need to with an organized book.
Strategies for studying: Part of preparing for an exam is knowing how to gain the biggest benefit from your time spent with the book. A helpful prep book will give you advice on how to study and any milestones you should reach during your study time.
Practice questions: If the exam prep book contains questions for multiple types of licenses, be sure to stick to questions that deal with your license.
Practice tests: All practice tests in the book should closely match the rules you'll find during an actual test. They should have a similar number of questions, and they should allow you to be timed.
Prices for social work exam prep books run from about $40 to $80. If you're only looking for practice tests, you should be able to find high-quality books at the lower end of the price range. For books with more detail on test-taking advice and strategies, you will likely need a book at the upper end of the price range.
Q. How do I prepare for the time limit on the ASWB test?
A. This is an area where prep books can help. These books have suggestions on making the most of your test-taking time. Preparing ahead will give you more confidence, too, which should help with time anxieties.
Q. How long do I need to prepare for this test?
A. Test prep book manufacturers suggest starting the preparatory process two to three months ahead of time. During this time, use the prep book as a supplement to your classroom notes and materials.
Social work exam prep books we recommend
Best of the best: Dawn Apgar Social Work ASWB Clinical Exam Guide
Our take: Experts in the field trust this material, as it has the key information to help with preparation.
What we like: The sample tests in this book are among the best you'll find. Author's expertise is widely respected.
What we dislike: This test book could use additional editing to catch typos.
Best bang for your buck: ASWB Bachelors Exam Team Practice Test Questions
Our take: This book has a low price point, yet it delivers all the information you need for success.
What we like: Good explanations included for each question and answer to help the student learn more.
What we dislike: Material doesn't include much in the way of suggestions on how to study for this test.
Our take: Comprehensive collection of study materials designed to help with the Masters test.
What we like: Provides information on all of the topics that are important. Sample questions included are among the best.
What we dislike: Material seems more shallow than deep, only touching on a wide variety of the basics.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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