The challenges that social workers face is not being able to identify the types of questions that are presented on the exam, how the content applies to the question, and how to identify the focus of what the question is asking. In this blog, I will be focusing on identifying the types of questions that are presented on the exam.
Remember, the exam is structured to test your cognitive skills and your ability to reason through the question and identify the correct answer. The questions consist of recall, application, and reasoning questions. Below you will find examples of each type of questions that can be found on the ASWB exam.
The recall questions are based on facts and are information that you can recognize or remember from readings. For instance:
Methylphenidate is a stimulant used for the treatment of ADHD. The brand name for Methylphenidate is:
The question requires you to recall both the generic and brand name of a stimulant medication that is used for the treatment of ADHD. The answer here is B.
The key to answering application questions is to place what you learned from reading materials (recalls) and apply it to the case scenario. So before choosing your answer, you are recalling the facts and analyzing the case scenario. These questions are asking what the social worker should do in a situation. For instance:
A teacher brought a 10-year-old boy to the school social worker after noticing the boy’s inability to sit still, often disruptive in class, and finds it difficult to stay focus and maintain attention on his work. The teacher stated that the parents are aware of the child’s behavior. What should the social worker do NEXT?
A. Meet with the parents and discuss these concerns
B. Refer the child for an evaluation
C. Inform the teacher that this is a normal age appropriate behavior.
D. Discuss the option of medication management
This question requires you to know the signs and symptoms of a specific mental disorder. In this case, the child is showing signs of ADHD however, the question requires you to refer out for further evaluation. The answer here is B.
Reasoning questions require critical thinking and are case based. Some are often lengthy and may include information that is irrelevant to finding the answer. These questions require you to think about, what is the best approach to a situation presented in the case scenario. For instance:
A social worker at a family treatment agency is working with a mother and her two sons. The family has been residing in a shelter for the past 3 years. The mother who has a history of incarceration is unemployed and is diagnosed with depression but is not receiving treatment. The mother has a desire to work but has no one to watch her 6-year-old and 3-year-old sons. After completing a psychosocial assessment what should the social worker do NEXT?
- Assist the family identify service needs
- Refer the mother for medication management
- Assist the mother with childcare
- Ask the mother about her history of incarceration
This question requires you to reason through and think critically of the most appropriate step the social worker should take. Think about what the social worker had already done with the client (psychosocial assessment) and what is the next step. Look for keywords and remember to meet the client where they are at. The answer here is A.
Remember, the exam consists of qualifiers such as best, most, most likely, first, next, etc. that are found in the stem of the question. They often give you a hint to the answers and can be used to eliminate options in multiple choice questions.