ASWB Exam Prep: Records

By Heidi Tobe on October 12, 2020

As every social worker (new or seasoned) knows, maintaining records is an important part of the job. Because of this, record keeping is a topic that is regularly tested on the ASWB masters and clinical level exams. What do you need to know about record keeping for the LMSW and LCSW Exams? Are you ready for questions on this important topic?

What to know about records

  • Maintaining accurate records is both a legal and ethical issue.
  • Each state has different laws about how long records need to be kept. The good news is, this is a national exam, so specific state laws won't be tested. For this topic (and in general on the exam), if there is an answer option to follow jurisdictional regulations, that is a good one to go with.
  • The therapist (or agency) owns the record, not the client. The client, however, does have a right to access their record when requested.
  • If a parent of a minor is the one who consented to treatment, they have a right to access the child’s record. This should always be discussed both with the parent and the minor at the beginning of treatment. 
  • If a client dies, the executor of the estate for the deceased client can request records.

What if you are subpoenaed for a client’s record?

Another important topic related to records is what to do when you receive a subpoena for a client’s record. This is one of the most common topics I receive questions on as a coach, and is the subject of next month’s blog-so be on the lookout!

ASWB Practice Question:

A social worker is contacted by a former client’s spouse, who had medical power of attorney prior to the client’s recent death. The spouse requests a copy of the deceased client’s record. What should the social worker do?

A. Provide a copy of the record because the spouse was the medical power of attorney

B. Explain that under no circumstances can a deceased client’s record be shared

C. Assert privilege

D. Explain that a copy of the record can only be requested by the executor of the client’s estate

(scroll for answer and rationale)



















The correct answer is (D), to explain that the executor of the client’s estate can request a copy of the record. (A) is incorrect, because medical power of attorney ends at death. (B) is not an accurate statement; there are circumstances in which a deceased client’s record can be shared. (C) is incorrect, because this is not a situation in which we can assert privilege (privilege will be discussed further in next month’s social work blog).

ASWB Masters and Clinical Exam Preparation 

How are you feeling when it comes to questions on records? Whether you’re feeling 100% ready, not ready at all, or somewhere in between, TDC is here for you. Our ASWB exam prep programs for the LMSW and LCSW exams give you everything you need to get ready for your exam. Unlike other programs out there that bombard you with an overwhelming amount factual information, TDC doesn't. We focus on giving you the content and reasoning skills that are crucial to success on these exams, while not throwing in extra stuff that isn't needed and makes studying overwhelming. TDC also gives you access to a coach who passed their exam with 90% or higher who you can email anytime with questions that come up as you go through the program. TDC has  helped THOUSANDS of social workers across the nation PASS their exams. Are you next?


Commenter Name
October 19, 2020

Finally, I received my special accommodation authorization today. I was approved to test 4.5 hours. This allows me additional 30 minutes to take a break to have snack and drink apple juice. This will also allow me time to use my inhaler, after wearing the face mask for two hours. Now, my LCSW exam is scheduled on Monday, November 2nd at 8:00am.
Thanks for encouraging me to request for special accommodation with a doctor's statement.

Commenter Name
October 19, 2020

We're so glad to hear you received these accommodations, Shirley! If any questions come up these next couple weeks, feel free to reach out via the 'ask a coach' form in your study center.

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