Sunday, August 10, 2014

Social Work Exam Acronyms

Some questions on the social work licensing exam are simple to get right or wrong. You either know the answer or you don't. This Eriksonian stage happens at this or that age...the DSM diagnosis has such and such criteria...breaking confidentiality is or isn't appropriate in a given situation. These are questions you can study for--cram for, if that's your style. For the other questions--for the bulk of the exam--it's not what you know, exactly, it's how you apply it. It's putting your general understanding of social work principles to work in the strange context of the exam. Vignette questions with the dreaded two (or three...or four) good answers fit in this category. The "what is the FIRST step the social worker should take?" questions. To have an improved shot at narrowing these down, some like to go into the exam armed with acronyms to guide decision making.

So, here are a few acronyms pulled from the web (original sources u/k). If you have others--known to the world, or creations of your own--please feel free to share them in comments.

Please use them with caution. These acronyms may end up creating confusion, not decreasing it. Feel free to ignore them completely. Instead of FAREAFI, when in doubt, go with your knowledge of the NASW Code of Ethics, go with your textbook social work learning, and go with your gut. It's a fair bet that more people pass that way than do using acronyms.

That said, here we go:

FAREAFI.  This may come handy in FIRST and BEST questions--if unsure about what the FIRST/BEST intervention would be, start with F (feelings) and go from there):
  • F: Feelings of the client be acknowledged first above all. Begin building rapport.
  • A: Assess
  • R: Refer
  • E: Educate
  • A: Advocate
  • F: Facilitate
  • I: Intervene
ASPIRINS is supposed to help with BEST questions as well. Acknowledge client concerns/assess, and go from there. (You could stress protecting life first, couldn't you? But that would be PASIRINS--not as easy to remember.)
  • A: Acknowledge client concerns and Assess
  • S: Start where the patient is.
  • P: Protect life.
  • I: Intoxicated? Do not treat.
  • R: Rule out medical issue.
  • I: Informed consent.
  • N: Non-judgmental.
  • S: Support self-determination.
AREA-FI gives an alternate version of the above. If you can make sense of how best to apply it, go for it!
  • Acknowledge
  • Refer
  • Educate
  • Advocate
  • Facilitate
  • Intervene
Good luck!


Anonymous said...

this is very helpful. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Taking the exam tomorrow.....I know I will pass this! Thank you for all of the help and guidance.

Gin said...

I see these acronyms all over the web but they just don't make sense to me. Shouldn't you take a non-judgmental stance all the way through your session? Don't you always start where the patient is? Isn't ruling out a medical issue more a part of assessment?

Can someone help me to understand why these are put in the order they are and how exactly you make use of them?


Anonymous said...

They are not in a specific order of interventions. Merely a compilation of information to consider on "first and best" questions.

March said...

I have taken the LCSW exam twice. The second time, I studied a lot I spend at least 6 hours a day studying. When taken the exam I got that even though I knew the topic, the provided answers did not make any sense and some of them were confusing as they provided contradictory information. For example I learnt that as per confidentiality, social workers do not disclose information when responding to subpoenas form lawyers. Social workers respond claiming confidentiality and respond to a court order disclosing just information pertaining the case , but for example a question stated that a social worker received a subpoena from lawyers and then mentioned court order. I am so discouraged.

Inspired Living said...

I understand the items in the ACRONYMS

I am having difficulty APPLYING them to the vignettes

WHO can HELP me

Rell said...

If someone helped you apply these acronyms, please pay it forward and help me.