Tools to Help You Pass the LMSW Exam

Are you looking for good study guide tools to help you pass the LMSW exam?

This post will provide you with links to free sample practice exams, as well as helpful study guide tools and information about a wonderful google+ hangout study group.

Below are links to sites that allow you to take a Free Sample Practice Exam:

Academic Review
SWES Daily Quiz Question
Socialworkexam Practice Test
Social Work Exam Zone – 20 practice questions

Each of these sites provide free access to one free sample exam because they are hoping that you will become interested in paying for access to their additional practice exams and/or study course.

Helpful Study Guides/Tools

LMSW flashcards – are helpful for quick reviews; there are tons of free flashcards for all the content areas covered in the social work licensure exams.

Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development – Erik Erikson’s theory and a quiz to test your knowledge of it.

LCSW Study Buddy blog – covers the ego defense mechanisms with easy-to-understand examples, and provides nice comparison charts of Erikson’s vs. Freud’s stages of development

Studying for the Clinical Social Work Exam blog – jessbp provides very thorough posts that follow the content areas in the ASWB “Content Outlines & KSAs” booklet.

Social Work Podcasts – excellent podcasts covering some of the subject areas covered on exam

How to Avoid Choking Under Pressure to Perform – podcast to listen to to address test anxiety

Participate in a Google+ Study Group

Step 1: Join Google+  (watch this video for an intro to Google+ )

You can either join google+ on your own or you can ask for an invitation from Cam Murdock, the study group’s leader, to join. To do so, you will need a gmail email account.

If you want to ask Cam for the invite, send an email from your gmail email account to [email protected].

Alternatively, if you are already on google+, simply circle Cam Murdock.

Step 2: Participate in Study Group  (watch this video for info on how to join a google+ hangout)

Log in to Google+ at group’s study times 3x/week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:00 PM PST.

In the middle section, the Stream, you will see a blue button that says “JOIN THIS HANG OUT?” Click on that and you will be instantly connected to the group.

Are there any additional tips or suggestions that should be added to this list? 

Also, if you use some of these resources, could you please come back and share your experience? This way, the rest of the community will be updated on how helpful these resources are etc.



  1. says

    Hi Dorlee…wonderful resource!

    I shared this post in our LinkedIn alunni group and found out that one of our alums informed us that there is an iPhone app to study for the LMSW ($4.99) by ASWB that she says is well worth the price. You need to search on MSW to find it. If you search on ASWB what comes up is the LCSW exam app, which is $39.99.

  2. says

    Hi Ammu,

    Congratulations on passing your exam!

    And thank you for sharing with us the post you wrote about the steps you took to prepare for the test :)


  3. says

    Below is some helpful information on preparing for the exam that was shared by Cam Murdock on Google+:

    100: the percentage of our study groups who passed the exam after participating in our Google+ study group! I passed the exam myself today, and I am very grateful to my study group cohorts, podcasts by +Jonathan Singer, posts by +dorlee m and the

    I would REALLY like this study group to continue and to help as many people as possible. It was the essential component to my passing the exam! This is the worst time of the year to put time into a new project, but I will be happy to see if I can convene a panel of recent “clinical exam passers” to re-launch the study group in January. What a great New Year’s resolution to join the group and pass the exam!

    In a subsequent message, Sam went on to say:

    Since I graduated 5 years ago, your [Jonathan Singer’s Social Work] podcasts theory and practice model podcasts were like a refresher course in things I had forgotten. I made CD copies of the podcasts and listened to them in my car, too. There are some other podcasts, but some had really basic Intro to Psych infor and others had inaccuracies and unscripted and unclear information, so I can’t recommend any others.

    The study blogs were somewhat helpful, but the Google+ study group I started was a great motivator. We met 3 times a week for about 1-2 hours each session. We made up test questions and we shared You Tube videos, web pages and advice with each other.

    I also downloaded iPhone apps “Psych Facts”, “Phobias 500”, “3D Brain”, “Psych Dx”, and “NCMHCE01″. Honestly, the test prep books I bought were the least helpful tools. I did a lot of prep, but I was only really stumped by 2 questions.”

  4. Anonymous says

    I graduated with my Masters in SW 5 years ago. I worked as a discharge planner in a sub acute unit for 5 years, so I didn’t use any of the skills necessary to construct a good base for the clinical exam. I don’t know where to start to prepare, there is so much, and I feel overwhelmed. I really need some advice where to start. I need a job and can’t find one without a full license. Where do I start? Can anyone help me? Thank you.

  5. says

    In light of all that you have shared, I can totally understand why you would be concerned. However, I can also assure you that if you take the right steps, everything will be ok.

    My first recommendation is that you read this post

    In it, I suggest that you take one of NASW’s study courses for the licensing exam – it tends to cost about $100 but it is well worth it because they not only provide you with tips but they give you a wonderful study guide that covers what you need to know for the exam.

    And then follow the other suggestions and you will be just fine :)

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  6. says

    I’m so glad that you are finding this site helpful :)

    In terms of joining a study group, you could try joining a google plus study group as described in this post – however, they are not always active.

    Instead I would check out: and/or

    These groups are continually active on facebook and/or linkedin.

    Also, please feel free to look through the LMSW Exam Tips/Tools listing for additional posts on this topic under the Career Related tab at the top of this page.

    Hoping this was helpful!

  7. says

    I am wondering if the LCSW study group content differs a lot compared to what is needed to pass the LMSW exam? I am finding groups that are listed for both and I am not sure if it is worth doing an LCSW study group to prep for the LMSW exam. Any feedback would be helpful!

  8. says

    Hi Mawby,

    As you know, I have only taken the LMSW exam. However, in the NASW preparation course that I took, I was told that the study booklet they provided us covered the material necessary for both the LMSW and the LCSW exam.

    This means that if you have a study guide that is appropriate for the LMSW exam, it will apply for the LCSW exam. That said, as you can see by comparing the emphasis and exam content of both exams in LMSW vs. LCSW there are differences.

    This means that a study group designed for the LMSW exam will be focused a bit differently than one for the LCSW exam… Hence, my recommendation would be for you to join one targeted for LCSW exam takers.

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  9. says

    Actually, Mawby, I do have a qualification to my above response. If you are looking for practice in responding to just the type of questions to expect in the LCSW exam, either study group would be fine.

    The specific LCSW study group is necessary only if you require assistance with studying the actual content on the exam [to ensure adequate coverage/focus of material] due to the differences in focus between the 2 exams.

    Hoping this helps :)

  10. says

    I apologize for taking so long to respond. For some unknown reason, your question had been stuck in my spam box.

    Regarding the LBSW exam, I’m afraid I had no idea that such an exam existed until your question came up :)

    Now, I see that the LBSW exam is held in Alabama, Alaska and Arizona and a few additional states.

    My suggestion would be to ask for guidance on how to best prepare for this exam from your school… I assume that there are study guides/courses made for this exam that you could take to help you.

    If I run across any blogs in the future that cover the LBSW exam, I will make sure to mention this on my blog to assist you and other LBSW exam takers.

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hi! I wanted to know how the medication questions will be presented? What form will they be in generic or name brand? For example will they ask a question like
    Which of the following are in the atypical drug class for antipsychotics?
    A. Clozapine B. Haloperdol C. Chlorpromazine

    Name Brand
    A. Clozaril B. Haldol C. Thorazine

    I took the LMSW a couple years ago and did not pass. This time I feel more confident especially after studying more and applying your information on First, Next, Best questions. But the learning the meds really annoys me. I just need someone to tell me how they saw these questions presented on the exam. I don’t seem to remember! ????

  12. says

    Hi Anonymous,

    You are raising a good question. I don’t remember off hand how it was recommended that we prepare for the medication section.

    I should be able to go through my study guide over the next day or two and then get back to you with the way I approached.

    The one thing I remember off the top of my head is that I found this particular section very difficult to memorize and made the calculated decision to focus/spend the most amount of time on all the other sections and the least amount of time on this section [thereby allowing myself to lose points on it] and by my calculations, this was ok to do in light of how little this section counted vs all the others… [assuming you are well-prepared on the remainder of the sections].

    However, the right decision for me is not necessarily the right one for you or anyone else…

  13. says

    Looking back at my NASW study guide, they provided both the generic and the brand names for the various medications.

    This suggests to me that we are provided with both variations on the exam. Unfortunately, I don’t remember (I took my exam in February). May I ask you to please let us know how this was addressed after you take your exam?

    Based upon my highlighted sections in the study guide, I clearly spent some time on this section for the exam – however, I do remember thinking it was ok to be selective on which meds I was going to memorize… the medications are only one of the topics out of the 16 included within the Assessment and Planning Section (worth 24%).

    Hoping this helped!

  14. says


    No one told me what to focus on [or highlight] in the study guide.

    I made a totally arbitrary decision [similar to what you do when you read an article or book for school] – you highlight the sentences/items that feel the most important to you and that are likely to require you to spend some time/effort in studying…

    In other words, phase I of my studying was just to highlight all the key items.

    Phase II was to later take notes based upon the highlighted sections.

    Phase III was to quiz myself on my notes… so that for ex., I would ask myself what are Erickson’s 8 stages of development and I would write out the names, the corresponding ages as well as a brief description and I would do this a couple of times until I felt that I knew the key characteristics.

    However, everyone has their own learning style/techniques… If you have another variation that works for you, I would use that :)

    In case this helps, I summarized all the steps I took to pass the exam in this post:

  15. Jennifer says

    I just wanted to thank you for this blog. I finished my MSW in May, and passed my LMSW exam two days ago. It was my first attempt, and I passed with flying colors. Your acronyms (FAREAFI and AASPIRINS) were quite helpful.

    For others planning to take the test, I can’t emphasize enough how important the NASW study guide was. It doesn’t give enough detail on each theory/concept, but it provides great direction on where to start!

    Good luck, Folks!

  16. says

    Congrats, Jennifer on passing your LMSW exam!

    Thank you for taking the time to come back and share your own exam learnings as well as your kind feedback on the usefulness of my blog :)

  17. says

    Tell me about the acronyms:FAREAFI and AASPIRINS
    I am looking to obtain my LMSW and I completed by MSW in 95 and have a doctoral degree..I want the licensure to encourage my college students where I teach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *