Quality Matters When Choosing LCSW Practice Questions


As you prepare for the LCSW exam, the common advice is to work on as many practice questions as possible. Before diving into your practice mode, please, approach it with caution and choose the questions wisely, for the QUALITY of the practice questions matters to your exam readiness.

This is how I see it in analogy form:

You have a set of really good tools (social work knowledge, skills, ability) that is meant to be used in plain water pH7 environment (the actual exam). However, instead of practicing in water, you took the tools to practice in salt water, lemonade, or mud bath. By practicing in a different environment (poorly written practice questions), the following mishaps may happen:

  • When you reach the actual pH7 environment (D-day), you overthink.
  • Acid and base environment could rust your tool (skew your application and reasoning skills)
  • Acid and base are not stable (inconsistent rationales to answers), which makes you start doubting your skills, further worsening anxiety.

THIS is why choosing quality practice questions is very important in preparing for the exam! Remember, YOU know your stuff! In my opinion, the most reliable practice questions are those from the ASWB, which costs $85 at this time, and you must be a registered test candidate in order to purchase it.

According to the ASWB Guide to Social work Licensing Exam, before being selected as your exam questions, the test items underwent several editorial reviews and rigorous pretesting process for their validity and reliability. The Board’s requirements on the exam question can be summed up by the following:

  1. Test questions must be structured according to exam content outline.
  2. Must be as simply worded as possible (this is a knowledge, NOT a reading test)
  3. The question stem must be clear and NOT designed to fool test taker into making incorrect choice.
  4. Question stem is worded either as a (1) direct question or statement or (2) vignette with a situation/ a story.
  5. All answers may appear close, but ONLY 1 correct answer.

THIS is what distinguishes the ASWB practice test items from other sources. So, go ahead, be my guest, scrutinize you practice questions!

Essentially, the point of practicing is to:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the question formatting on the ACTUAL test.
  • Being able to identify the type of question (Recall, application, reasoning)
  • Training yourself to slow down and look for important clues within the vignette to help you locate the answer.
  • Knowing how to identify the BIG 4 characteristics commonly seen in the multiple choice answers: 1. Cool El (distraction), 2. Silly El (plain ridiculous), the Almost-Lover (right lover, bad timing), and The ONE AND ONLY correct answer (right lover, right time, right place). Choose wisely!

Hope this helps! Happy studying!

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Texas Licensed clinical social worker, Doctor of Social Work, clinical supervisor (LCSW-S), life-long learner. I grew up in Vietnam and came to the United States when I was 14. I am currently living and practicing clinical social work in Houston, Texas. My interests are maternal mental health, Asian American psychological wellness, language acquisition (English, Vietnamese), and very much in cognitive psychology. In my free time, I like to garden and do arts and crafts.

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