We are often asked whether the entire DSM 5 needs to be memorized for the exam. Without a doubt, the answer is NO. But, there is some memorization required. For the purposes of the exam only, you only need to know the chief characteristics and diagnostic criteria for major disorders. Although testing on other disorders is fair game, my suggestion is to read through it, know it exists so you could recognize it, but don’t spend any time and effort to memorize the criteria. Should one of these disorders show up on the exam, the process of elimination will come in extremely handy.
If you were a DSM IV expert and feel overwhelmed with learning a new DSM, there are many resources and articles out there that describe the main differences from DSM IV to DSM 5. Again, for studying purposes only, use those articles as a guide to help you study.
For a summary of major DSM 5 disorders and their chief diagnostic criteria, check out The Complete Guide to Social Work available at www.socialworkguide.com.