Practice, Practice, Practice
So you’ve been studying a lot and want to see how well you are doing, how much you’ve
actually learned. The best way to find out may be to answer practice questions and see how many you get right. Good idea? Yes, but……. As with most things, quality counts. My definition of a “good question” is one that is close to the real ones: close in content, close in testing social work concepts, and uses the same question form as the real test.
So what, rather “who” makes a top notch question writer? For the social work license exams, the only questions you can count on are those prepared by the ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards) the same people who prepare the real tests. They offer online practice tests for the Bachelor’s Master’s and Clinical versions of the exam (only to those who are already registered for the exam) for a fee. In addition, two of their publications offer a very small number of practice questions: The ASWB Examination Guide and the ASWB Exam Candidate Handbook. I have noticed students using yellow and black study guides that trumpet “ASWB” Questions, but in reality if you look carefully, you will discover that they are indeed, not from ASWB at all. Buyer beware!
Well, what can you do to find the best questions out there and not waste your time with poor imitations? First, check the source carefully. Second, identify who actually wrote the questions. You should expect the writer to be a social worker (at least!) and an experienced one is more likely to write well-targeted questions. A social worker who has her/himself actually taken the test is better informed, which can also result in better questions.
Full disclosure here: I write lots of practice questions (see my Facebook page: LISW.net Resources for the Social Work License Exam). It’s not easy to write quality questions, that’s for sure. In addition to the two qualifications described above, (I am a social worker and have taken and passed the test) I have the benefit of working closely with individual social workers preparing for the test. I value their feedback and ask, after they have taken the test, “How helpful to you was the material on LISW’s Online Course", "How close to the real exam questions were my practice questions", etc. I ask for evaluative comments, not information about specific questions. I can listen to their experience, make changes, write new questions, and get as close to the real thing as possible. So check them out on Facebook and let me know if they are helpful to you. Thanks!