Social Work ASWB® Advanced Generalist Exam Guide

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Social Work ASWB® Advanced Generalist Exam Guide

SKU# 9780826133526

A Comprehensive Study Guide for Success

Author: Dawn Apgar PhD, LSW, ACSW



Students and social workers preparing for the social work advanced generalist licensure exam will find an invaluable study resource in the Social Work ASWB® Advanced Generalist Exam Guide. Written by a prominent social work leader and trainer for social work licensing examsin the United States, this guide is based on years of time-tested exam prep workshops conducted by the author. It mirrors the ASWB Advanced GeneralistKnowledge, Skills, and Abilities upon which the exam is based and incorporates information from the DSM®-5.

The guide is comprehensive yet focuses on the material most likely to be included on the exam, so readers can prioritize information as they study. Aself-assessment section helps identify strengths and weaknesses before tackling the material. The author shares her extensive knowledge of the exam byproviding useful test-taking strategies and tips for overcoming test anxiety. The 170-question practice test at the end of the guide (with explanations ofthe correct answers) mirrors the actual exam in both length and structure. Content includes human development, diversity, assessment and planning, directand indirect (micro and macro) practice, and professional values and ethics. This book will be a valuable asset for social workers throughout the UnitedStates and Canada.


  • Developed by a highly respected educator of social work licensure candidates
  • Covers all the content areas on the advanced generalist examination, including new content added in 2015
  • Begins with a self-assessment section to help identify areas of strength and weakness
  • Offers a wealth of test-taking tips and strategies to foster exam confidence
  • Includes a practice test (with explanations of the correct answers) that mirrors the exam

Product Details 

  • Publication Date April 05, 2016
  • Page Count 470
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826133526

About The Author(s) 

Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW, has helped thousands of social workers across the country pass the examinations associated with all levels of licensure. In recent years, she has consulted in numerous states to assist with establishing licensure test preparation programs, including training the instructors.

Dr. Apgar has done research on licensure funded by the American Foundation for Research and Consumer Education in Social Work Regulation and is currently chairperson of her state's social work licensing board. She is a past President of the New Jersey Chapter of NASW and has been on its National Board of Directors. In 2014, the Chapter presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Apgar has taught in both undergraduate and graduate social work programs and has extensive direct practice, policy, and management experience in the field.

Table of Contents 





About the Examination

10 Things That You Should Know About the ASWB Examinations

Test-Taking Strategies

10 Essential Strategies for Study Success

20 Tips You Need to Use to Answer Questions Correctly

Assessing Examination Difficulties

Dealing With Test Anxiety

Examination Content

Visual Learners

Auditory Learners

Kinesthetic or Hands-On Learners


Unit I: Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment (18%)

1. Models of Human Growth and Development Through the Life Span

Theories of Human Growth and Development Through the Life Span

The Psychosocial Model

Ego Psychology

Feminist Theory

Psychodynamic Theory

Personality Theory






Family Systems Theory

Psychoanalytic Theory

Systems Theory

Addiction Theories

Conflict Theory

The Indicators of Normal Physical Growth and Development Through the Life Span

Child Behavior and Development

Adolescent Behavior and Development

Young Adult Behavior and Development

Middle Adult Behavior and Development

Older Adult Behavior and Development

The Impact of Physical, Mental, and Cognitive Impairment Disabilities on Human Development Through the Life Span

The Normal Life Crises

Emotional Development

Normal Sexual Development


The Concept of Attachment and Bonding

Basic Human Needs

The Adult Learning Process

Human Genetics

2. Models of Functioning of Various Systems

The Effects of Family Dynamics on Individuals

Family Life Cycle

Abnormal and Normal Functioning in Traditional and Nontraditional Families

Models of Organizational Development

Models of Group Development

Models of Community Development

Models of Couples Development

3. Effects of the Environment on Systems’ Behavior

Normal and Abnormal Behavior



Rational Choice

Social Constructionist



Social Behavioral

Humanistic Perspective

The Socialization Process

The Interplay of Biological, Psychological, and Social Factors

Social Development

The Impact of Environment on Individuals

The Indicators of Psychosocial Stress

The Impact of Economic Status

The Effects of Social Role on Self-Image

The Impact of Poverty on Individuals, Families, Organizations, and Communities

The Effects of Social Role on Relationships

The Effects of Addictive Behavior on Relationships

The Effects of Defense Mechanisms on Relationships

The Dynamics of Work Relationships

The Dynamics of Domestic and Other Violence in Relationships

Theories of Crisis Intervention

4. Diversity, Discrimination, and Stereotypes

The Influence of Culture, Race, Religion/Spirituality, and/or Ethnicity on Behaviors and Attitudes

White American

American Indian/Alaska Native


African American

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander


The Influence of Sexual Orientation, Gender, and/or Gender Identification on Behaviors and Attitudes

The Influence of Age and/or Disability on Behaviors and Attitudes

The Effects of Discrimination Based on Culture, Race, Religion/Spirituality, and/or Ethnicity

The Effects of Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender, and/or Gender Identification

The Effects of Discrimination Based on Age and/or Disability

The Relationship Between Self-Image and Cultural Heritage

The Different and Similar Characteristics of Cultural, Racial, Religious, and/or Ethnic Groups

The Different and Similar Characteristics Related to Sexual Orientation, Gender, and/or Gender Identification

The Different and Similar Characteristics of Age Groups and Types of Disability


The Impact of Diversity in Styles of Communicating

Unit II: Micro Assessment and Planning (22%)

5. Use of Assessment Instruments and Methods

Psychological and Educational Tests and Measurement

Beck Depression Inventory

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator

Rorschach Inkblot Test

Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale

Thematic Apperception Test

Wechsler Intelligence Scale

The Use of Assessment/Diagnosis Instruments in Practice

The Components and Function of the Mental Status Examination

The Process Used in Problem Formulation

The Methods of Involving the Client and/or Systems in Identifying the Problem

The Principles and Techniques of Interviewing

The Methods Used to Assess the Client’s Communication Skills

The Methods Used to Assess Motivation and Resistance

The Methods Used to Assess Needed Level of Care

6. Use of Social History

The Components of a Biopsychosocial History

The Types of Information Available from Employment, Medical Psychological, and School Records

The Methods Used to Collect and Evaluate Collateral Information

The Methods Used to Obtain Information Relevant to a Given Situation

The Components of a Sexual History

The Components of a Marital History

The Components of a Family History

Basic Medical Terminology

The Exploration of Spiritual/Religious Beliefs and Practices

7. The Impact of Life Stressors on Systems

The Effects of Life Stressors on Families

The Effects of Stressors on Behavior

The Impact of Physical and Mental Illness on Family Dynamics

The Dynamics of Loss, Separation, and Grief

The Impact of Aging Parents on Adult Children

The Factors of Child Development

The Psychological Responses to Illness and Disability

The Effects of Addiction on Individuals, Families, Organizations, and Communications

The Impact of Economic Changes on Individuals, Families, Organizations, and Communities

The Effects of Physical, Sexual, and Psychological Abuse on Individuals, Families, Organizations, and Communities

The Impact of Life Cycle Changes on Systems

The Effects of Life Crises on Individuals

The Effects of Life Crises on the Family

The Impact on Clients of Out-of-Home Displacement (e.g., Hospitalization, Jail, Foster Care, Natural Disaster)

The Impact of Defense Mechanisms on Behavior

8. Intervention Planning

Criteria Used in Selecting Intervention/Treatment Modalities

The Components and Methods Used to Develop an Intervention/Treatment or Service Plan

The Effects of the Client’s Developmental Level on the Creation of an Intervention/Treatment Plan

Permanency Planning

Methods Used to Develop Measurable Objectives to Assess Client Change

The Client’s Role in the Intervention Process

The Methods Used to Develop Behavioral Objectives

The Methods Used to Formulate a Time Frame for Interventions

The Methods Used to Identify Learning Needs for Clients

9. Assessment of Strengths and Challenges

The Methods Used to Assess Clients’ Strengths and Challenges

The Factors Used in Determining the Client’s Ability to Use Intervention/Treatment

The Methods Used in Assessing Ego Strengths

The Indicators of Motivation and Resistance

10. Identification of Common Indicators of Risks and Disorders

The Effects of Body Image on Self-Image

The Indicators of Somatization

The Indicators of Malingering

Use of the Current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association


The Symptoms of Mental and Emotional Illness

The Symptoms of Neurologic and Organic Processes

Some Common Neurologic Symptoms

The Symptoms of Substance Abuse and Other Addictions

Signs of Drug Use

Indicators of Sexual Dysfunction

The Dynamics and Indicators of Neglect and Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse

The Characteristics of Perpetrators of Abuse and Neglect

The Indicators of Client Danger to Self and Others

The Methods Used to Assess the Client’s Communication Skills

The Use of Observation to Assess Client Interactions

The Ways in Which the Client’s Behavior With a Social Worker Is Representative of His/Her Relationship Patterns

Common Psychotropic and Nonpsychotropic Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications and Their Side Effects


Antimanic Agents (Mood Stabilizers)


Antianxiety Drugs


Nonpsychotropic Prescriptions

Unit III: Micro Practice and Social Work Relationships (18%)

11. Application of Theories, Methods, and Processes to Micro Systems

The Problem-Solving Model

The Crisis Intervention/Treatment Approach

Task-Centered Practice

Behavioral Approaches

The Selection of Theoretical Approaches to Meet Client Need


Short-Term Interventions/Treatment

Client Advocacy

The Methods Used in Working With the Unmotivated or Involuntary Client

Case Management

The Use of Permanency Planning as an Intervention/Treatment Method

The Phases of Intervention/Treatment

The Indicators of Client Readiness for Termination

The Methods of Conflict Resolution

Small Group Theories

Other Intervention/Treatment Strategies

12. Micro Intervention Techniques

The Use of Partializing, Supporting, Focusing, Clarifying, Confronting, Interpreting, and Reflecting

The Techniques Used to Motivate Clients

The Techniques Used to Develop Contracts With Clients

The Techniques Used to Clarify the Responsibilities of the Client

The Use of Goal Setting

Change Strategies

The Techniques Used to Teach Skills to Clients

The Differential Use of Intervention/Treatment Techniques

Client Self-Monitoring Techniques

The Use of Timing in Intervention/Treatment

The Technique of Role-Play

Role-Modeling Techniques

The Techniques Used for Follow-up

Stress Management Techniques

Limit Setting

The Process Used to Refer Clients for Services

The Approaches to Family Therapy

Strategic Family Therapy

Structural Family Therapy

Bowenian Family Therapy

Use of Clients’ Strengths

Couples/Intervention/Treatment Approaches

Group Dynamics

The Approaches to Social Group Work

The Approaches to Group Psychotherapy

The Differential Use of Group Process

The Techniques for Developing and Maintaining Group Cohesion

The Process of Co-therapy

The Concept of Congruence in Communication

The Methods Used in Summarizing Communication

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Techniques

Techniques That Elicit the Underlying Meaning of Communication

The Methods Used to Obtain and Provide Feedback

13. Dynamics of the Social Worker–Client Relationship

The Process of Engagement in Social Work Practice

The Social Worker’s Role in the Change Process

The Concept of Empathy

The Concept of a Helping Relationship

The Use of Acceptance

The Methods Used to Clarify the Role of the Social Worker

The Principles of Relationship Building

Professional Objectivity in the Social Worker–Client Relationship

The Concept of Transference and Countertransference

The Components of the Social Worker–Client Relationship

The Use of the Social Worker–Client Relationship as an Intervention/Treatment Tool

The Effects of the Client’s Developmental Level on the Social Worker–Client Relationship

The Influence of the Social Worker’s Own Values on the Social Worker–Client Relationship

The Dynamics of Power and Transparency in the Helping Relationship

The Dynamics of Diversity in the Helping Relationship

The Dynamics of Domestic Violence and Other Violence in the Helping Relationship

14. Application of Evidence-Based Practices

The Techniques Used to Evaluate a Client’s Progress

Techniques Used to Measure the Effectiveness of the Social Work Intervention

Utilization of Research Results in Practice

Applying Evidence-Based Practices to Current Programs

Unit IV: Macro Practice (18%)

15. Research Methods and Design

The Methods of Data Collection

The Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Data Analysis Procedures

The Methods Used to Evaluate Research Instruments

The Methods Used to Assess Reliability and Validity in Social Work Research

Social Work Research Designs

Types of Research

Single-Subject Research

Appropriate Use of Statistical Data

Research Ethics (e.g., Institutional Review Boards, Use of Human Subjects, Informed Consent)

16. Program Evaluation and Outcomes

The Methods Used to Evaluate Agency Programs

Assessment/Diagnosis Instruments Used to Evaluate Social Work Practice

The Effects of Program Evaluation Findings on Services

Accreditation and Program Reviews

Determination of Appropriate Evaluation Tools

17. Record-Keeping and Reporting

Written Communication Skills

Case Recording and Record-Keeping

The Use of Appropriate Documentation and Correspondence in Service Delivery

The Management of Agency/Practice Records

18. Program Development and Service Delivery Systems

The Types of Service Delivery Programs/Systems




The Methods Used to Clarify the Benefits and Limitations of Resources

The Methods Used to Interpret and Communicate Policies and Procedures

The Development of Programs and Services to Meet Community Needs

The Methods Used to Establish Service Networks or Community Resources

The Effects of Agency Policies, Regulation, and Function on Service Delivery

The Methods of Conducting a Needs Assessment

Establishing Program Objectives and Outcomes

19. Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Elements of a Case Presentation

The Range or Expertise of Professions Other Than Social Work

The Use of Collaterals to Obtain Relevant Information

The Approaches Used in Consultation

The Use of Networking

The Process for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The Methods Used to Coordinate Services Between Service Providers or Agencies

The Multidisciplinary Team Approach

The Use of Informal and Formal Power Structures

The Use of Advocacy Among Agencies and Disciplines

20. Policy Analysis and Advocacy

Interpreting Legislation to Clients

The Impact of Social Welfare Legislation on Social Work Practice

Social Policy Processes and Analysis

Legislative Advocacy

The Methods of Advocacy for Policy and/or Procedural Change

The Methods of Advocacy for Resources to Meet Client Needs

The Methods of Advocacy for Policies and Services Sensitive to Ethnic and Cultural Differences

The Methods of Advocacy for Policies to End Discriminatory Practices

The Policy Implications of Research Findings

21. Theories and Methods of Social Change

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention Strategies

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Tertiary Prevention

The Concept of Citizen Participation

Community Organization and Development Methods

Community Resources

Community Outreach and Advocacy

Social Planning Methods

The Impact of Social Institutions on Society






The Theories of Social Change

22. Administration and Management

The Impact of Agency Policy and Procedures on Social Work Practice

Leadership and Management Techniques

Time Management Approaches

Formal and Informal Organizational Structure

The Elements of Caseload Management

The Use of Delegation as a Technique

The Methods Used to Plan and Assign Work to Staff

The Concepts of Authority and Responsibility

The Models for Interpreting Agency Policies and Procedures to Staff

The Components of a Collegial and Positive Work Environment

Fiscal Management Techniques

The Budgetary Process

Governance Structures

The Methods Used for Strategic Planning

Employee Recruitment, Training, Retention, Performance Appraisal, Evaluation, and Discipline

23. Supervision and Consultation

The Stages of Professional Development

The Educational Components, Techniques, and Methods of Supervision

The Models of Group Supervision

The Models of Peer Supervision and Consultation

The Methods Used to Identify Learning Needs and Develop Learning Objectives for Supervisees

Transference and Countertransference Within Supervisory Relationships

The Social Worker’s Responsibility to Seek and Receive Appropriate Supervision

Student/Supervisee Characteristics and Suitability for the Profession

The Use of Case Recording/Documentation for Practice Evaluation or Supervision

24. Risk Management

Systems of Internal Controls that Minimize Risk for Clients, Workers, and the Agency

The Methods to Create, Implement, and Evaluate Policies and Procedures that Minimize Risk for Clients, Workers, and the Agency

The Social Worker’s Responsibilities to Respond to Client and/or Community Concerns

The Policy Implications of Risk Management

Methods to Manage Critical Incidents, Including Debriefing for Clients and Staff

Unit V: Professional Values and Ethics (24%)

25. Values, Boundaries, and Ethics

The Effects of Differences in Values Influenced by Culture, Political Beliefs, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Age, Disability, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Religion/Spirituality

Intrinsic Worth and Value of the Individual

Professional Boundary Issues

Dual Relationships

Identification and Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas

Essential Steps in Ethical Problem Solving

Ethical and Legal Issues

Medical Issues

Ethical Issues in Supervision and Management

26. Confidentiality

Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Confidentiality, Including Electronic Information

The Use of Client Records

Ethical and Legal Issues Regarding Mandatory Reporting of Abuse

The Process of Obtaining Informed Consent

27. Self-Determination

The Circumstances Under Which Clients Have the Right to Refuse Services

Individual, Group, Organization, and Community Self-Determination

The Limitations of Self-Determination

Clients’ Rights and Grievance Procedures

28. Professional Responsibilities for Ethical Practice

The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility as a Professional

The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibility to Broader Society

The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibilities to the Social Work Profession

The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibilities in Practice Settings

The Social Worker’s Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues

Practice Test

170 Question Practice Test