ASWB Exam Questions

Before taking any test, it is always a good idea to know what is expected. The ASWB social work exam is no different.

Each ASWB exam contains 170 multiple choice questions timed over four hours. A candidate’s score will come from 150 of these questions, while the remaining 20 questions are pretest items for future exam editions. However, the scored and unscored questions are randomly mixed together, and a candidate should try to answer every item within the four hour time frame. Four hours tends to be more than enough time, since most candidates finish the test before time runs out.

All ASWB exams are now administered electronically in ACT centers across the country. This means that a person will use a computer to answer the questions. Before the test begins, the computer will give the candidate a brief tutorial about how to use the electronic testing system. The computer will permit the candidate to move freely through the exam questions – changing, skipping, or reviewing the answers as needed.


A person with a disability may be eligible for extra time or special provisions but should contact the social work board for application materials before scheduling a test appointment.

The ASWB exam questions cover a variety of topics relevant to that particular exam (Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, or Clinical). Some items will not be stated in the form of a typical question, but might instead present a problem for which the candidate selects the solution from the four multiple choice answers (A, B, C, or D). Some questions will ask the candidate to pick the best overall solution, while others will require choosing the first action the social worker should take in that scenario. Other items will be in the form of a typical question and will cover the material specific to the exam category.

Because the ASWB exams determine who can practice social work at any given level, the exam questions go through a rigorous selection process backed by social work experts at every step. (Delete this space and join this sentence to the next paragraph.)Exam questions are developed by ASWB and its Examination Committee, based on Practice Analysis surveys from social work practitioners over the past three decades. These surveys follow guidelines set forth by several well-established and respected organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the Joint Commission on Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, among others.

In addition to this careful ASWB exam question selection process, the exams themselves are reviewed periodically by independent parties for reliability and validity. When a person passes a particular ASWB exam, he or she can expect to be completely qualified for social work in that category and to be recognized by the board as such.