*This post has been updated to reflect the ASWB Examination Guidebook, published in December 2022.

There are several different variations of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam, and one such variation is the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam. This examination is intended to test the social work knowledge of a person who possesses a master’s degree education in social work along with two years of supervised experience post-graduation. The Advanced Generalist exam is intended to have a broader and more generic focus and contain questions that are more indirect in regard to practice-related content.

Exam Length & Types of Questions
The ASWB Advanced Generalist exam is a total of 170 questions, and the test taker is given four hours to answer all 170 questions. However, only 150 questions will count toward your final test score. There is no way to tell for sure which questions will be counted and which ones will be discarded because this determination is always made after the test is completed. These 20 questions allow for the grading council to throw out any questions that appear to have been too difficult, contained errors or were otherwise flawed. If you come across a question that seems to have very confusing wording or just does not make sense, chances are it will become one of the discarded questions.

The questions will all be multiple choice and will test your knowledge on everything from basic definitions and concepts to testing your ability and knowledge to handle hypothetical scenarios, assess situations, and apply diagnoses. The broad range of questions means it is important to not only have a solid grasp of concepts such as “utilizing environmental manipulation,” but a sound knowledge of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) is also important. The ASWB is an exam aimed at testing your general knowledge of the social work field; so you will need to know something about everything.

Exam Fees, Minimum Passing Score, & Time Allotted
Regardless of what state you choose to take the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam in the cost to take the exam stays the same, $260. While the fee to take the exam is the same for every state the percentage of correct questions you must get on the exam in each state in order to pass varies, to find out the requirements for your state visit the ASWB testing website.

Scoring and passing the test can seem a bit confusing especially since a 70 which is passing in one state and a 75 which is passing in another state is essentially saying the same thing, you got 103 questions right on the exam. The variation in the score given is usually due to technicalities that exist in laws in certain states. If you have any questions make sure to contact ASWB before or after taking your exam.

Four Main Areas of Content
The test contains four main areas of content, and they are:

  • Content Area I: Human Development, Diversity & Behavior in the Environment (23%)
  • Content Area II: Intervention Processes and Techniques for Use Across Systems (32%)
  • Content Area III: Intervention Processes and Techniques for Use With Larger Systems (18%)
  • Content Area IV: Professional Relationships, Values, and Ethics (27%)

For a closer look at the breakdown of what subjects are in what content area, visit our ASWB Advanced Generalist Content Outline post.