BBS NEWS: DSM V Questions won't be added to LCSW and MFT Exam until end of 2014

By Amanda Rowan on April 2, 2014

DSM-5There has been a frenzy of anxiety about when the DSM V will added to the California LCSW and MFT exams.

One of the main sources of this has been other exam prep companies.

When the worried interns and social workers have contacted the Therapist Development Center for clarification we have shared the following:

"To date (4/2/14), the BBS has made NO FORMAL announcement as to when they will add the DSM V questions to the exam -- only that they will be in "the 2014 examination development workshops" which is when they meet to write new questions. (see "It was noted that exams will incorporate DSM-V criteria during the 2014 examination development workshops."

This is not the same as questions actually appearing on the exam.

The BBS will have to give people ample notice that they are adding DSM V questions to the actual exam and the current exam handbooks still say DSM IV.  We are monitoring the BBS website and new updates and will let people know as soon as we hear, but we suggest focusing on the DSM IV until there is official notification from the BBS.

A few other related notes: the national MFT exam and the national LCSW exams have both announced that they would be testing the DSM V starting January 2015.  I imagine that the BBS would be in line with them."

However, I wasn't satisfied giving people my speculation.  So I sought the help of Luisa Mardones, Executive Director of the California Society for Clinical Social Work.  I shared with her my concern that people preparing for the exams were being given inaccurate information about the DSM V. She immediately emailed her contact at the BBS - Kim Madsen, the Executive Director of the BBS (nice contact to have!), and recieved this email from Kim.

Hi Luisa,

We consulted with the Office of Professional Examination Services (they develop our exams) to get a definitive date for candidates.  Below is what we will be placing on our website in the near future.   I hope this clarification will ease the candidates anxiety.

DSM Testing information.

LMFT Candidates

  • Exam administrations through December 31, 2014: DSM-IV
  • Exam administrations January 1, 2015 and after: DSM-5

LCSW Candidates

  • Exam administrations through November 30, 2014: DSM-IV
  • Exam administrations December 1, 2014 and after: DSM-5

So there you have it.  The BBS was not testing the DSM V without giving people ample notification.

As always, we look forward to helping you PASS with CONFIDENCE.




Commenter Name
August 19, 2014

However, during a tutoring session, Asya let me know that there are now (8/14) DSM V questions appearing on the current exam that are not counting towards the score. This is an important piece of information for people taking the test before January to know, so they will not flip out upon seeing DSM V questions on the exam before January.

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