Passing the social work licensing exams is no easy task. There are stories abound of social workers taking their respective exams 2,3,4 and more times before passing. While some knock it out first time through, for those who don’t, it doesn’t take long before we realize its time to call in some help. This article is designed to assist you with sorting through the many programs out here to figure out which one will be the best one for you.
The leaders of numerous social work exam prep programs were interviewed to find out more about their specific programs. Those who agreed to participate in the article were all asked the same questions. Those who declined are not included here because of their decision to opt out. However, each of the participants shared some specifics about the content and process of their programs.
Creative Licensure Prep/Susan Mankita
Based in Miami, Florida, Susan works primarily with re-takers. She offers individual and group work face-to-face and remotely via Skype. She assesses every client to identify the sources of struggle and then focuses on the unique needs of each client. After completing a test, they read and discuss each question by question. She trains clients to dissect and understand each type of ASWB question until they know how to identify right answers.
She has worked with over 200 re-takers: some have failed many time before finding her. She states that 100% of the clients who completes the training pass. However, she states several have “dropped out” after deciding that the stressors of the exam weren’t worth the value of the license to them. Initial assessment/training takes 6 –8 hours. Many continue with weekly or bimonthly sessions, and sessions bill at $70/hour. However, she does have a sliding scale based on need. Susan has been in the test prep business for the last 8-9 years, and her reputation as a licensure exam trainer is growing.
Social Work Guide/Serena Lau
Social Work Guide is a program built from pride and experience. They began over 15 years ago helping social workers, and today their exam study guides can be found in numerous schools of social work as a part of their curriculum. They are based out of Wilmington, NC and are deeply tied to the social work community throughout the Southeast.
While they have no published pass rates, they do have a variety of exam prep books including ones dedicated to social workers who have failed their exams to comprehensive guides for all. They also offer online practice exams written by the experienced staff and include instant score with analysis plus additional phone consultations at no added cost. Social workers can expect to pay anywhere from $69.95 for practice exams to $129.95 for the guides or elect a bundle of services for $249.00.
The One/Jason Adkins
The One is a program that developed in 2012 after its creator had failed the clinical exam in 2011 then made changes and improved his score by 18 points. It’s based out of Atlanta, GA and offers a variety of methods to deliver exam prep including one-on-one tutoring and workshops across the country. A study guide and audio tools are also in the works. The one-on-one tutoring boasts a 100% pass rate for those who complete the 90 day program. Program delivery is face to face or via webcam and uses tools online, podcasts , and videos.
The One is the only program that works with the social worker exclusively one-on-one and has the unique component of offering those who complete the program, a job as a tutor with The One. They also put immense emphasis on creating flashcards that help the social worker learn through sensory learning. The One also gives each client a learning styles assessment to pair them with a tutor who’s teaching style matches their learning style. One-on-one sessions are $250 for 5 hours and the workshops are $275.
Therapist Development Center/Amanda Rowan
Amanda Rowan has one of the most unique test prep programs available today. Her clients get access to audio recordings done by some of the brightest social workers around who guides the listener on how to think during the exam instead of only focusing on what to know. They also offer handouts, quizzes, and practice exams.
Based in Santa Barbara, California, TDC also trains Marriage and Family Therapists (which California has more of per capita than any other state) to pass their LMFT exam. The social work program has a 95% pass rate and many rave reviews from prior clients. The program costs $275 for social workers outside of California and goes up to $350 and $630 for the California social work packages. TDC goes a long way to ensure their clients have increased confidence paired with decreased test anxiety.
Social Work Test Prep/Will
SWTP originated as a blog in 2009 and evolved into a full-fledged test prep program in 2012. Located in Los Angeles, CA, SWTP holds the distinction of being the lowest priced program available. The web-based program works with social workers anywhere there is an internet connection. They deliver resources that no other program offers including suggested study links for every exam question to give social work exam preparers an extra edge.
Catering exclusively to social workers, SWTP offers content for both the California BBS and ASWB exams. Membership packages for practice exams can be purchased for $35 up to $115 for bundles of four. All users have access to their blog boards which include an option for group study and referrals for tutoring (currently sent to Susan Mankita, LCSW out of Miami, FL). Exam subscriptions last for 60 days. The company does not track pass rates. A free practice test, affordability, and exclusive dedication to social work and social workers work are features of SWTP.
Also, here’s a coupon code: SWH10 — good for an additional 10% off practice exams and bundles.
Dr. D has been a social work presence for many years now as referenced by her books, speaking engagements, and articles. Her ASWB exam prep program has been delivered across the country in various states since the 1990’s, and has helped over 18,000 social workers prepare for the exam. Her tools for delivery include across the country workshops and her well-known CD’s and DVD’s. These discs provide hours of instruction on how to break down the exam items and teach what to look for in each item. The cost of her services range from $225 for her CD/DVD bundles to as much as $290 for the workshops depending on location and length of program.
Since 2004, Edith Chaparro has taught social workers both in a Master’s program and as a tutor. This led to the establishment of the LMSW Bootcamp workshops in New York City. She incorporates bachelors, masters, and clinical level material into each workshop and her programs are exclusive to social work. In addition to the workshops, social workers can elect to join a small group class which meets weekly in Queens, Manhattan, and Suffolk. When asked, Edith says that her focus on strategy AND content and teaching the way the board tests are the hallmarks of her program. Clients of her program are also offered CD’s and workbooks for purchase. Prices for her services range from $35 for classess to $130 for her bootcamp workshops.
Pass it Pro/Idelle Datloff
Originally known as LISW.net, this program began in Cincinnati, OH in May 2013 and has evolved into a full on test prep service. This online based program is hosted at NASW Ohio and consists of 4 ½ hours of coursework including 46 slides plus narration that is content based for the ASWB exams. Clients get 60 days access to this information 24 hours a day along with an additional 90 minute Skype small group session (three participants max) which offers individual feedback and teaches test-takers how to identify the concept being tested in the application questions.
They have recently added tutoring as well. While PassItPro does not identify any pass rate, they do now offer a full refund (money-back guarantee) to anyone who takes the course and does not pass. Their Facebook page (still titled LISW.net) offers #75 free practice questions. They train social workers exclusively and proudly claim 11 different NASW state chapters which have endorsed their program. The tutoring bills at $60/hour or $250 for a 5 hour package. The cost of the full service is $225 for NASW members and $245 for non-members.
No matter what choice you make, you are bound to be better prepared having gotten some help than going it alone, so choose wisely. Take into consideration what your priorities are and which company offers you the best chance to be successful, and above all… keep moving forward. It’s the only way to get where you are going.