MSW Examination Sample

“Questions and Answers”

Q. Bob has experienced a brief psychotic episode which cleared without hospitalization. He is concerned that his employers would dismiss him if his true condition is discovered. He needs his job as his wife and three children are dependent on him. The Social Worker agrees to call the condition an adjustment reaction for purposes of insurance. This an example of:

A. reframing.
B. insurance fraud.
C. insurance modification.
D. naming.

Answer Key is B.
This is another excellent example of insurance fraud.


Q. Suicide by people over the age of 50:

A. is seldom likely to succeed.
B. will be successful less often then with adolescents.
C. is likely to be successful.
D. almost never will succeed.

Answer Key is C.
Often people don’t pay attention to the suicidal impulse of older folks. We should! They tend to succeed.


Q. The most stringent research design which controls for extraneous variables is

A. action research.
B. experimental research.
C. longitudinal research.
D. demographic research.

Answer Key is B.
Experimental research is especially designed to control those variables which may influence the outcome of the study. Social Workers who conduct experimental research are aware of the need to control the experimental setting and to implement a research methodology sensitive to the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable.


Q. A Social Worker at a local social services agency has determined that a comprehensive psychosocial assessment is required for further assessing Mr. G. A psychosocial assessment includes all the following data [EXCEPT]

A. a comprehensive treatment plan.
B. demographic data.
C. medical data.
D. summary of significant other relationships.

Answer Key is A.
This item deals with what you know about psychosocial assessments. It is an [EXCEPT] question, which means that you are looking for one wrong answer. Remember the trick we taught you for those questions?


Q. A Social Worker at a neighborhood clinic discovers that many of her clients are residents of a particular landlord’s apartment complex. The landlord is unwilling to provide adequate heating in the winter. Several residents have become sick as a result. The Social Worker works with the tenants to organize a tenants’ association, and that association successfully lobbies for improving living conditions in their apartment complex. This can [BEST] be described as an example of

A. an extension of Medical Social Work.
B. client empowerment.
C. service planning.
D. group planning.

Answer Key is B.
Clearly this is empowerment, something that is close to the roots of Social Work.

Q. Ms. C., age 23, a graduate student, is referred to student health. For the past three weeks she has lost interest in her activities. She is tearful. She is experiencing weight loss, problems in sleeping, decreased energy. She has spoken to her roommate about suicide. Nothing in her daily routine relives her feelings of hopelessness. She is unable to attend class and has no social life. History reveals that her mother had bouts of depression and that during the last three years, Ms. C. has had two other episodes just like the one she is now experiencing. Based upon the above information, which of the following DSMIV TR diagnosis would be [MOST] appropriate?

A. Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent
B. Dysthymic Disorder
C. Major Depressive Disorder
D. Bipolar I Disorder

Answer Key is A.
She had two other episodes with more than two months between them.


Q. A 60 year old women comes into therapy hesitantly. She describes a life that is “empty,” and a feeling that she too is “empty.” History reveals that she is exceedingly uncomfortable in situations where she is not the center of attention. Her behavior is not age-appropriate, and she is known for sexually seductive and provocative behavior. Her emotions are shallow and she depends on her physical appearance to draw attention to herself. Her speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail. She is theatrical and easily influenced by others. She considers her relationships to be more intimate than they are. Based on the above information which of the following diagnoses seems [MOST] appropriate?

A. Dependent Personality Disorder
B. Histrionic Personality Disorder
C. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
D. Borderline Personality Disorder

Answer Key is B.
A classic description of an Histrionic Personality. The need for being the center of attention and the sexually seductive behaviors are big clues.


Q. The Social Worker has seen a couple for marital therapy. Six months after leaving therapy, the couple decides to divorce. There are two children, age six and four, whose custody is to be determined. The husband contacts the Social Worker and requests that she testify as to the wife’s alcoholism at the custody hearings. The [MOST] appropriate response for the Social Worker would be:

A. to agree to his request since mother is clearly unfit.
B. to contact mother and suggest that she and her husband return for couples work.
C. to suggest that the Court contract a child custody specialist for an evaluation.
D. to recommend that the children be invited to testify as to their experiences with mother.

Answer Key is C.
The item draws attention to the Social Worker’s responsibility to both parents and also points to issues of “best interest of the child.” The outside expert who knows nothing about either parent and who is responsible to the court is the cleanest and best way.


Q. Mr. L is a compulsive gambler. In order to reduce his attraction to this self-defeating activity, a behavioral therapist would most likely use:

A. systematic desensitization.
B. aversive conditioning.
C. rational emotive therapy.
D. the double-bind technique.

Answer Key is B.
If you know the meaning of “aversive,” you can figure this one out.