1. says

    Oh you KNOW I loved this article’s title. :-)

    Dorlee, what a great thing to offer first-time exam takers. I wish I’d had all these tips when I took it back in the day. And everything mentioned makes a lot of sense.

    All of the tips are also applicable to the independent licensure exam as well. Your timing on this is excellent.

  2. says

    Thanks so much for your feedback on these tips!

    That’s a very good point to make…The instructor from NASW had mentioned that her guidelines would also be applicable for the subsequent LCSW exam (this included the study guide that was distributed).

    Maybe I should I add a note to the post to reflect this…

    Re the Epic Fail/Pass sign, yes, when I found it, I couldn’t help but think of you, Mike, and the whole concept of being an Epic Therapist :)

    And it fit in so beautifully…

  3. says

    I always found it helpful to actual study the sample questions and answers to get a thorough understanding of what the test makers were looking for.

    Ditto the importance of paying attention to qualifiers, process and assessing for safety.

    Best of luck

  4. says

    Hi John,

    Thanks for visiting and sharing some of your lessons learned :)

    Looking at sample questions and answers to get an idea of what the LMSW test makers are looking for sounds like a great idea…

    And in fact, we did this during the class that NASW held. I think the point that the trainer tried to convey is not to rely on this method as the primary and/or sole method of studying.

    Thanks again!

  5. Maryann says

    I discovered your blog by chance while “googling” for information on preparing for the LMSW licensure exam and I feel like I have found a gold mine. Your blog is incredible! I am a career changer as well from the investment management world and have just completed my foundation year. I can’t tell you how reassuring it was to read your blog. Finally someone who is writing about everything MSW students are concerned about! Thank you; thank you for your contribution.

  6. says

    Thank you so much, Maryann – I can’t tell you how much your words mean to me…for you to say that my blog feels like a gold mine of information for MSW students.

    This is what I aspired to create…and hope to maintain…

    To that end, please feel free to raise any questions or ideas that come to mind for additional posts.

    And congratulations on your career transition! I’m wishing you the best of luck during your second year:)

  7. says

    Hi DorleeM. I would like to first off start by thanking you for creating this blog. I have been on the internet all day looking for different ways to prepare for my LMSW exam in Louisiana. I am graduating May of 2012 and I have started early searching for test prep material and workshops to help me understand the concept of the exam. I have heard so many horror stories about the exam and the low passing rate here in Louisiana. I am actually considering taking my exam in Texas since it is a possibility that I may be moving soon after graduation.

    I have found your blog to be so helpful and it has decreased the amount of anxiety in which I am having about the exam.Again, I would like to say thank you for this blog and all of the helpful information that you and others have posted.

  8. says

    Hi Reva,

    I’m so glad that you have found my blog helpful in answering some of your questions and reducing some of the anxiety you have had regarding the LMSW exam.

    I think that feeling some anxiety and worry about this exam is totally natural…and that getting some guidance helps quell that anxiety.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback.

    By the way, if you are interested in participating, there is a study group working on preparing right now for the exam on google+ via hangouts (virtual meetings) several evenings a weeks.

    Feel free to circle me on google plus and then I will send you the info :)

  9. says

    I joined the googleplus and I didn’t understand how to use it the circle feature. Feel free to message me on Facebook. I am very interested in in the virtual meetings. If at all possible can you send me the info via Facebook?

  10. says

    Sure, add me as a friend in facebook – my name is dorleem socialwork on there and I can message you with some guidance.

    I would send you a friend request but I don’t know your full name…this is also why I couldn’t simply find and circle you on google+ :)

  11. AP says

    Hi Dorlee! Thanks for this blog, finding it very helpful. I just circled you on google+, hope you can share some info with me about the virtual hang out :)

  12. says

    Hi AP,

    You are most welcome. I’m so glad that you are finding it helpful.

    I just circled you back on google+ as well as made the introduction to you for the virtual study group.

    If you have a chance, could you come back and let us know whether you find the group helpful?

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  13. says

    Hi DorleeM,

    I’m so glad I found your website. I do have to take my LMSW exam soon so these tips will be very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to put out all the information that we need in order to accomplish our goals.

  14. says

    Hi Joanne,

    Thanks so much, Joanne. I’m so glad that you are finding these tips helpful :)

    Wishing you the best of luck on your LMSW exam!

  15. says

    Hello Dorlee,

    Thanks for having these tips available! I agree with all of them.

    Even though I am a EPIC social worker now, it took me three times to finally pass my LMSW. It was very frustrating. I’m not trying to scare any readers, I’m just being honest about what happened to me.

    I failed the first time by 4 points and the second time by 1 point. Do you know how frustrating that was for me? So, I finally broke down and contacted ASWB. Even though I know that stigmas exist and felt ashamed, I explained that I have ADD/ADHD. By advocating for myself, the board allowed me to take the exam waiving the 90 day period and gave me extra time to take the test. Bottom line: if you have a learning disability, you can call ASWB special accomodations. I should have done this before I even scheduled my first test. It would have saved me time and money! LOL.

    What helped me pass the 3rd time is that I created my own study guide. I copied and pasted the required KSA’s from the ASWB website. Under each section, I typed in the information required using social work textbooks, Social Work dictionary, and websites. In addition, I made visual tables, such as the similarities and differences of therapeutic interventions and a detailed vocabulary list.

    Two other tips: study every night and use positive affirmations. Tell yourself you have to believe it, to achieve it. Like Adler states, you have to “act as if” and that is what I started doing. Since thoughts lead to emotions to actions, I made sure I kept an optimistic attitude.

    So, two days ago, I received an unofficial report stating that I passed! If I can do it, I know others can too. I do wish everyone luck on their tests and I know you can do it on the first try!

    • says

      Hi Vicki,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and study tips.

      You demonstrate much courage, honesty, persistence and generosity in being able to be open about your learning disability, advocate on your behalf and ultimately pass your LMSW exam because you were determined to do so.

      Your story is not only inspiring; it may also serve as a guidepost to others who may have ADD or other learning disabilities – they should speak up to ensure that they may receive extra time etc if they are entitled.

      We also need to work on eliminating the stigma around learning disabilities. There should be no shame…a person with a learning disability is just someone who has a different way of thinking and/or processing information. Hence, they often require additional time on standard testing etc.

      I love your study plan…It’s not surprising that you passed :)

      Thanks again and Congrats!

  16. says

    Thank you so much for your blog and providing all the links for free/useful LMSW materials! I took my LMSW exam on Wednesday and passed! Reading your posts and the comments of others’ experiences really helped me prepare mentally! Thanks again Dorlee!

    • says

      It was my pleasure, LMA :) I’m so glad that you found the LMSW material on my blog helpful.

      Congratulations on passing your LMSW!

      Many thanks for taking the time to share your kind feedback,
      Wishing you all the best,

  17. says

    Hi Dorlee.. I just LOVE your website! I’m scheduled to take the LMSW exam next month. Even after reading the tips on what to do first, next, best, etc., I’m still having difficulty processing it! Can you please give me an example of how to apply your tips to an actual test question, using FAREAFI and ASPIRINS? I would appreciate it sooooo much! Thank you!:o)


  18. Jamie Goodman says

    This website helped me out a lot! I just graduated with my MSW and I took my licensing exam yesterday. I passed! I only had two weeks to study. I had a job depending on me passing and I was under a lot of pressure. I looked at this website almost daily and right before I took it. The anagrams helped me tremendously. I wanted to thank you for developing this website. Also, for people who are taking the exam in the near future…just relax and keep calm. I have ADD and it is difficult for me to focus at times. With ADD and my short time to study I was able to pass. My advice is to study as much as you can and when you feel burnt out take a break. Self-care is important. Just make sure to breathe and remember you know more than you think you do. I felt like I knew nothing, but when you start the exam it will come back to you. Remember you are not going to know everything. You are not going to get every answer. You might get to a question and feel like you do not know the answer. For me I would mark it and leave it blank and then go back before I submitted it. For me this worked. When I first started my anxiety level was very high and I was not thinking clearly. Towards the end I felt a little more relaxed and was able to analyze and break down certain questions better and this made some of the questions I marked more clear. Remember do not rush, take your time, breathe and study. I promise if I could pass it with only studying for two weeks then you can too. Do not let your anxiety take over. Good luck.

  19. says

    Congratulations, Jamie ! I’m so happy you :)

    How kind of you to take the time to share your learnings and tips to help others!

    Also, thank you for your kind feedback on this blog.

  20. says

    I am going to be taking the LMSW exam next month for the second time and I would like to know if someone is interested in a studying buddy. Please contact me ASAP! Anything anyone can advise will be helpful! =)

  21. Anonymous says

    Hi Dorleem,

    This is a wonderful site.I passed my msw 10 years back from India.I am planning to write my LMSW exam for the first time in first week of November.Seeing the practice questions I am bit confused .please help me out

  22. says

    Hi there,
    You are rather close to the date of taking the exam… I would give it your best try. If you pass, that ‘s terrific. If you don’t, that’s ok… many people need to retake it. But the next time, plan on taking one of the test prep classes or at least participate in one of the free online LMSW study groups. Here is a post on how/where you can join

    This will give you some one-on-one time with people who are in the same boat as you in terms of preparing for the exam. You are also welcome to look at the other posts on my site that cover this topic.

  23. Anonymous says

    Agh!!!!! I PASSED! Got my LMSW this past Friday! I can’t tell you THANK YOU enough for the Accronyms on the First,Next, Best questions!


  24. says

    How wonderful – Congratulations! And thank you for taking the time to stop by and share how you found the tips I’ve shared helpful in your passing the exam :)

  25. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your kind feedback, Victoria :)

    I remember how anxious I had felt prior to taking my exam and I wanted to do all I could to help and prevent others from feeling worried.

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  26. Anonymous says

    Hello Dorleem,

    I have taken the exam a few times and have yet to pass it. I actually don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I will take it again in October. I think your blog is pretty helpful, but also wanted to know if you know of any online study groups going on. If there is any additional information you have for me, I would like at the help I can get. Thanks in advance!

  27. Anonymous says

    I will be taking the exam next year. I graduate in 2015 and I am trying to prepare now so hopefully I will not have to retake the exam. I am so glad I found your website and I will try an enter a study group as well. Thanks again for the information.

  28. says

    I think the best approach to handling direct and indirect practice questions is to employ the helpful acronyms. They are very good at reminding you what to consider first, next etc. Here are two posts on that topic:
    Another thing that you may find helpful is working/practicing with others.
    Wishing you the best of luck!

  29. Anonymous says

    Hey Dorlee,

    I posted here back on July 22, 2014 about me taking the test in Oct 2014. Sadly, I did not pass again, but in Jan 2015 I finally passed!!!!!!!! In truth I took the exam a total of 6 times!! I never gave up! Anxiety was the major part of it. I know I knew the material, but I was always so nervous during the exam. I think I got my anxiety under control that time, Plus I also had only until August of this year to pass or I would be down graded a license to Registered Social Worker which was not going to happen! Keep the Faith everyone!!

    • says

      I’m so happy for you, Ashley, that you were determined to pass and kept on trying (using different methods) until you did! Congratulations!

      Yes, sometimes anxiety is the big stumbling block and once you figure out how to address this in a way that works for you (be it meditation, exercise, visualization techniques etc.), it ceases to become an obstacle to your success. Was there a particular method that you found helpful in terms of relaxing the last time you took (and passed) the exam?

  30. Chantal says

    Dear Dorlee
    I am taking the exam in 4 weeks. I have been studying and taking the practice tests. I have a difficult time understanding the questions. I am in the DC/MD area. I was wondering if there are any legitimate groups or tutors who could answer questions. Thank you for your help

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