How Hard is the NCTRC Exam?

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Everyone gets giddy to jumpstart a new career after completing a course. Nonetheless, the voluminous examinations before earning the highly coveted certification stir up constant anxiety and self-doubt about whether you will make it or not.

When you are an aspiring Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), you might have asked yourself how hard is the NCTRC Exam. Most professionals who had aced it would agree that the test is filled with no-brainer questions that are easier than practice tests.

If you are someone who consistently does well on NCTRC exam mock tests, then passing the examination is just a piece of cake. Practice tests like Prometric allow you to become familiar with how NCTRC words their questions and give you a general idea of which sections you should focus on.

If you are otherwise, ease your nerves through preparations. Read on to learn the best ways to study NCTRC examination.

What is the NCTRC Exam?What is the NCTRC Exam?

Before hitting the NCTRC exam application, you should be able to understand its technicalities and what it is indeed all about.

NCTRC exam is a standardized knowledge and skills assessment of aspiring professional therapeutic recreationists who meet established eligibility in education, experience, and continuing professional development. It is offered every two months or six times yearly as a computer-based test.

NCTRC exam comprises 150 multiple choice questions about industry trends, grounding knowledge, patient diagnosis, and professional practices. When taking the exam, you must remember that you must finish the evaluation in three hours or less than a minute per item, which dictates a passed or failed remark.

Since it follows a computer-based system, you are not allowed to exit the page as it automatically submits your answer. Let’s say you left the page with several questions remaining; the board will evaluate your score based on the guidelines and how many you have filled in.

The bottom line is your negligence will likely sabotage the outcome. However, you can annotate questions and navigate from and to different items as long as time permits.

What to Expect on the NCTRC Exam?

What to Expect on the NCTRC Exam?

NCTRC exam is divided into six main content areas: foundational knowledge, assessment process, documentation, implementation, administration of Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy service, and advancement of the profession.

You can center your preparations on the topics below based on their corresponding exam percentages to anticipate the weight of the components included and have a heads up on how hard is the NTRC exam.

  • 20%- Foundation Knowledge
    Foundational understanding is anchored on its theoretical and conceptual framework. You would stumble upon questions about three main sections in this area: human anatomy and behavior; legislative, regulatory, and practice guidelines; and diagnostic groupings. With 20% coverage, it is the second-largest composition in the test.
  • 19% – Assessment Process
    Including the assessment process in your pointers list is imperative since it covers two main sections that explicate inventories, instruments, questionnaires, criteria, and external sources of the assessment procedure. Hence, acquiring expertise in the physical, psychological, social, cognitive, and functional domains guarantees a good result.
  • 18% – Documentation
    This area tackles your individualized system of tracking the progression of the rendered patient interventions, behavioral objectives, modification of the existing mediating plan, facility documentation and discharge data. You are expected to master the profound measures in documenting the trajectory of various frameworks before embarking on the test.
  • 26% – Implementation
    When talking about its implementation area, it encompasses most of the NTRC exam, which generally delineates the application of all major courses in managing risks, facilitation and intervention approaches, and security mechanisms. Mastering this body of knowledge advances your edge since it contributes more than a quarter of your overall score should you aim to topnotch the exam.
  • 10% – Administration of RT services
    It generally measures your operational strategy, facility management, and administrative preparedness. Also, professional accountability and service-driven practice are clarified in this curriculum, together with the quality of service improvement and personnel management.
  • 7% – Advancement of the Profession
    NTRC pursues professional development to cater to a more considerable scope of practice and field of specialization while upholding excellence, service, and scientific foundations. Your preparation in this aspect mirrors your professionalism and commitment. It is an integral part of the examination, for it narrows your ethical grounds despite attributing the lowest percentage.

Now, suppose you think that having acquired all the abovementioned areas of knowledge and being prepared to face the NCTRC exam scoring is all that matters. In that case, you should also check your eligibility, for you cannot take it unless you fulfill any of the following paths:

  • Academic Path
    In the case of traditional academic graduates with denoted official transcripts of completion shall follow this path under the following guidelines:
    • Substantial academic background, be it higher or a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from an accredited university, shall be completed. You may also register for the exam before your course completion, given that you are enrolled in the Recreation Therapy course with a minimum of 90 credit hours and have satisfied the professional and supportive coursework requirements.
    • A five hundred sixty hours or 14-week internship superintended by a CTRS completion is a requirement.
  • Equivalency Paths,
    In this case, applicants who have attained an extensive job in Recreational Therapy with delegated coursework that fits the NCTRC standards shall follow this path under the following guidelines:

Path A:

    • At least five years of full-time RT monetary compensated work experience.
    • Higher education or at least bachelor’s degree accomplishment.
    • Completion of supportive coursework requirements.

Path B:

    • At least one year of full-time RT paid work experience, supervised by CTRS.
    • Bachelor’s degree or higher education.
    • Completion of supportive coursework requirements.

You might also be wondering about the cost of the examination, as a financial burden plays a massive part in the process. After completing the eligibility guidelines, you can apply and schedule their reviews.

According to the CTRC website, the registration fee costs $325. If certain conditions intercept your schedule, you can reschedule your appointment for $25.

Here’s a pro tip: if you worry about convenience, you must submit your coursework for review, especially if you are yet to finish your program for $125. Additionally, you must pay $125 should you wish to submit professional eligibility.

What are the length of the NCTRC exam and its passing score?

What are the length of the NCTRC exam and its passing score?

Having learned all the preliminary considerations, you must be ecstatic to take the exam. But wait, there’s more!

You should note that the 150-item exam that takes a maximum of three hours to finish is represented by a scaled NCTRC scoring system that ranges from 20 to 95, with a scaled passing score of 55 and above. Automatically, scores below the passing indicate a failing mark.

Is It Hard to Pass the NCTRC Exam?

Is It Hard to Pass the NCTRC Exam?

The million-dollar question, “how hard is the NCTRC exam?” is yet to shed light. Now to frankly respond, the actual exams were surprisingly much more manageable than practice tests, according to professionals who went through the same process. Some constantly failed during the training tests but scored above the passing rate.

As long as you wholeheartedly took your course and performed your internship, you should pass it just fine. With rigid aptitude mastery and knowledge upskilling through NCTRC exam practice tests, you may be able to finish them in less than an hour and a half and be told by the proctor to submit them instantly.

Can You Retake the NCTRC Exam?

Can You Retake the NCTRC Exam?

If ever (although the possibility is low) you failed to rectify your CTRS certification, you may retake under reentry guidelines of two years of professional experience before reapplication. You need not satisfy the current educational and experiential background standard for initial certification and should pay fees based on these reapplication dues.

Despite fervent reviewing, sometimes we are faced with unexpected results. In the case of a failing score, you may message the CTRC through their website and inquire about the application reapplication method, including the corresponding fees, should you aim to retake.

7 Tips for Preparing for the NCTRC Exam

7 Tips for Preparing for the NCTRC Exam

Different people have different study techniques according to their strengths and weaknesses in the subjects. While we are at it, let me provide you with the proven and best ways to study NCTRC as per industry professionals.

1. Use your time wisely

It is necessary to plan out your review schedule to maximize the time duration. You can use time-scheduling journals or applications like RescueTime to boost your productivity and feel less pressured during the day of the exam.

2. Practice makes perfect

Spending 4-5 hours daily can help you pass the exam on the first go—mock exams from credible websites like Prometrics that use the same or almost similar questions as the final exam. Even if you keep getting low scores in practice tests, you’ll do great as long as you are consistent.

3. Find the best study guide

You can find numerous NCTRC exam guides online. Most people who have already taken the exam recommend grabbing a copy of Norma Stumbo’s Study Guide for the Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Certification Examination. It includes similarly contexed questions with accurate tests and improves your independent thinking.

Another practical resource you should consider is Quizlet. You can conveniently find many pre-made practice tests on the website and study during lunch breaks. In addition, using flash cards helps sharpen your memory.

In short, find the study strategy that suits your preference.

4. Brush up your gut feeling.

Even though you have studied hard, some questions not found in your guide arise. Accordingly, most questions are situational, so be ready to trust your gut!

5. Focus on studying a month before the exam

A month before the test is the most crucial in your groundwork period. It would be best if you utilized this remaining time to your advantage. Your daily study routine during this period also improves your retention ability.

6. Get enough rest days before the test

When your mind and soul are relaxed, chances are you will reach new heights—cramming before the exam will add to the pressure. Put your guards down and seize the moment. Gain confidence in the calm before the storm. It may sound cliché but do not stress at this point.

7. Ease your nerves

Your anxiety overwhelms you when you get so worked up during the preparation period. Ease your nerves, and relax. A good mental state is key to a passing grade.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is the NCTRC Exam?

Your constant anxiety about how hard the NCTRC exam is valid—who does not like passing an exam and making your dreams to fruition? Most questions do not even require second thoughts as they are a no-brainer. Based on the substances elaborated above, the NCTRC exam is easy peasy when you are equipped with ample preparation.

If you want to pass it on the first take, follow the expert-approved tips. Gone are the days of stagnation; start planning your review timeline and source the best study manual. Now is the right time to do so.

Despite your jam-packed schedule, remember the golden rule: health comes first. Get enough rest and be the best version of yourself on exam day.

If you found this post helpful, check out our other financial and professional book reviews and study tips here.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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