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How to prep for a social work exam

Which prep for a social work exam is best?

It’s that time again: test time. Your anxiety rises and as the date looms closer, you begin to wonder why you ever wanted to be a social worker in the first place. However, if you have already begun to work in the field, you know that the exam is necessary. 

Preparing to take a social work exam can be one of the most stressful times in life, but it doesn’t have to be. If you prepare yourself well before the exam, treat your body right and make the time for your exam prep, you’ll pass with ease.

Balance your mind & body 

When you prepare for a social work exam, or any exam for that matter, it is important to care for your body from the inside out. Utilize self care tools to bring your consciousness into a state-of-ready for the exam and make sure you get plenty of rest. Aligning yourself appropriately will increase your chances of doing well on a social work exam. 


According to the American Medical Association, meditation can be helpful for a plethora of stressful situations, social work exams included. Meditation is known for connecting an individual with their own intuition and encouraging a feeling of calm. Taking just five minutes a day to sit on a meditation pillow and breathe can introduce a new sense of confidence within yourself when the social work exam date arrives.


Many feel their anxiety rise during exam prep. To combat this feeling, exercise is one of the single best things you can do for your body and mind. Exercise releases endorphins, which radiate a positive feeling throughout your body and reduce anxiety.

Eat well

Exam prep is something that uses energy, even if it is done by sitting at a computer. To provide yourself with the fuel you’ll need to survive your social work exam, you’ll need to fill your body with nutritious foods. Eat well and often to combat any hunger pains that can distract you from finishing the task at hand: studying to pass your social work exam. 


Getting enough sleep helps to regulate mood, improves focus and promotes wellness according to several articles. All of these benefits are needed when it comes time to prep for a social work exam. Don’t skip on the sleep, be sure to get a healthy seven to eight hours before studying and, most importantly, the night before the exam itself. 

Organize your exam prep

It can be difficult to prepare for a social work exam without creating a schedule for yourself. Begin your study journey with a schedule to keep pace with. This will allow you to track your progress and provide you with enough time to well prepare yourself for the social work exam.

Focus music

The internet is full of music that encourages focus. Not everyone can sit in silence during study sessions and cram without some sort of controlled background sound. Search the web or YouTube to find your brand of focus music. From hip-hop instrumentals to white noise, you can find just about anything to fill the sound void when studying for a social work exam.


This productivity method is defined by cutting up your work into focused time increments. There are options such as 25 minutes working with five minutes to break, or 30 minutes on 10 minutes off, or even 50 minutes on 10 minutes off. Use a timer to find what works for you and the length of breaks you might need to stretch, eat a snack or just take a walk away from studying.

Study partner

This timeless classic of asking someone else to join you in studying can be extremely beneficial or distracting, depending on who you ask. The best option is to find someone who is working on the same thing you are who is focused just as much, if not more, on the study sessions. 

Use learned study methods

You have likely heard about and used each of these traditional methods of study in grade school. They are known classics because they work. Taking physical notes, using flashcards, or  signing up for a prep social work exam course are all ways to boost your score on test day.


Flashcards are used for terms, meanings and definitions of specific words. On one side, the word or term is written and on the other side, the explanation can be found. This technique allows you to focus on a term at a time and can be made into a game either by yourself or with a study partner. 

Write down notes

When you are making your way through your various social work exam concepts, such as de-escalation techniques or the definition of social justice, write them down. Writing down notes during prep for a social work exam will help your brain to remember the terms. Use a notebook that makes you feel happy when you crack it open so that you are more likely to associate positive feelings with your studies.

Sign up for a course

One of the most sure ways to pass an exam is to do the most studying possible by taking a course to prepare. There are several great social work course options from live in the classroom sessions to digital and study at your own pace style courses. 

Take a pre-test

Taking a sample test prior to the actual social work exam is a great way to reduce test anxiety. If you feel comfortable testing yourself, then you will have the practice and experience of taking a social work exam even before you walk into the testing center. If you have time, take more than one pre-test and try to time yourself to create a realistic simulation of the test day. 

What you need to buy for a social work exam

Social Work ASWB Masters Exam Guide

This exam guide comes with everything you need to secure your licensure. It includes examples of test questions and has been concise as well as effective for users. 

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Clinical Social Work Exam Flashcard Study System

Comprehensive flashcards that will boost your social work knowledge. They are reported to be helpful and decrease test anxiety. 

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Erica Redding writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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