How Hard is the RBT Exam?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


As you already might know, RBT stands for Registered Behavior Technician. Such a person is known to be a paraprofessional working with smaller groups of patients. Hence, more often than not, an RBT deals with families and one-on-one sessions.

However, one thing to remember is that an RBT works under a supervisor. A technician is not allowed to independently work and supply behavior plans. Instead, someone is certified by the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board).

It’s common sense to connect the dots here. The way to becoming a registered behavior technician is through sitting for the RBT exam. Hence, this article summarizes all the vital information for the examination, including its content, preparation tips, and tricks.

What Exactly is the RBT Exam?What Exactly is the RBT Exam?

The RBT exam circulates one specific topic; applied behavioral analysis. Anyone who graduates from the RBT exam receives their official certification. This certification allows the candidates to practice applied behavioral analysis (ABA) as trained medical professionals.

But remember that it’s not an independent practice; candidates work under Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), RBT requirements coordinators, or even RBT supervisors. Hence, while it’s not an independent practice for an RBT, they’re still equipped to deal one-on-one with clients.

What is the RBT exam for? Since it teaches you the fundamentals of ABA, you’re expected to work with clients with developmental problems and their families.

ABA is considered to be the leading therapy when it comes to developmental issues such as autism. This specific treatment works on various components, including motor skills, social skills, and improving learning capabilities.

While it’s all issued under the BACB, these programs are accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies.

However, there are eligibility requirements for the RBT exam, as no person can sit for it. These are:

  • Being older than 18 years
  • You must have obtained your high school diploma
  • Candidates must pass a background check
  • 40 hours of training are mandatory
  • Successfully complete the initial competency assessment

The RBT Initial Competency Assessment must be taken after the training hours are completed. Remember that you must take it within the initial 90 days after the training hours are done. This exam is not on paper; instead, it works on testing your ability to complete specific tasks.

What is on the RBT Exam?

What is on the RBT Exam?

The good thing about the RBT exam is that it only tests the 6 fundamental skills and tasks you were taught throughout training. These will be discussed below. But is the RBT exam multiple choice? Yes, it is, which is better than sitting for a practical examination or having to answer essay questions.

While that eases everything, the exam is still quite lengthy and spans the scope of every single detail you’ve been taught. Now, that makes sense, as the therapy you’re about to administer must be accurate and well-learned.

The RBT exam is administered by Pearson VUE. They have testing centers all over the world that prioritizes security and efficiency.

Scope of the RBT Exam

The scope involves the 6 tasks in which every RBT is expected to be competent. Check out the official, extensive description of the functions provided by BACB. Here is a brief summary of what to expect from each task:

  • Measurement (10 questions): as a behavioral analysis technician, you’re expected to be able to collect data from sessions. With this data, you draw graphs, describe the measurements, and implement what you’ve learned.
  • Assessment (8 questions):the ability to follow through with preference assessments and help with individual procedures.
  • Skill Acquisition (24 questions):identifying the elements of an acquisition plan, implementing contingencies of reinforcement, ability to maintain procedures, and much more.
  • Behavior Reduction (12 questions): ability to implement various behavioral treatment procedures and manage crises or emergencies.
  • Documentation and Reporting (10 questions):whether it’s with your supervisor or patient, you must have the ability to carry through proper communication skills. That falls under-reporting and documenting procedures.
  • Professional Conduct (11 questions):describe the RBT requirements and your role. Moreover, you’re expected to portray your ability to keep boundaries within the workplace.

Length of the Exam

The total amount you have for the exam is 90 minutes. As the questions are all multiple-choice, it’ll be easier to go through them. Moreover, as mentioned above, the total number of questions would be 85.

How many questions can you miss on the RBT exam? Well, we recommend you don’t skip any of them. While it’s a known fact that there are 10 weighted questions, it most likely is used as a tool for evaluation. Hence, these 10 questions are set before the exam.

In other words, they’re simply used as a method to figure out how future exams can be constructed. This is handled by the BACB. Hence, while you can technically skip those 10 questions, they help the BACB determine whether they’re too complicated for candidates to solve or not.

What is a Passing Score on the RBT Exam?

What is a Passing Score on the RBT Exam?

While it might vary, as the BACB uses its own metric to evaluate what the passing score should be, aim to get at least 80% of questions correct. That translates to 68 of the questions, which is a good ratio.

Hence, in hindsight, the amount of questions to answer isn’t excessive. Moreover, as they’re all multiple choice, it eases your way into the exam.

The ideal score to pass the RBT exam would be around 90% of the questions, simply to guarantee that you’ll earn your credentials. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about waiting to obtain your test results; they’re automatically given as soon as the exam is done. This is mainly because Pearson VUE offers this exam as a computer-based exam (CBT).

Is the RBT Exam Hard?

Is the RBT Exam Hard?

One of the most critical questions is: how hard is it to pass the RBT exam? According to the annual report for 2021, 83% of first-time takers pass the exam in the US. Of those who retook the exam, their pass rate was 53%.

However, these statistics are limited to the USA. If you’re taking the statistics for all the regions, 79% of them passed, and 46% of retakers passed.

But when considering how hard the RBT exam is, there are more variables to consider. The exam itself isn’t difficult, and it’s made more accessible because it’s multiple choice. Hence, you escape the hectic time you’d have answering essay questions.

However, if you don’t study adequately for the exam, your percentage of failing the RBT test increases. Moreover, remember that you have the 40-hour of compulsory training. The main aim of that training is to prepare you for the physicality of your upcoming job.

Hence, while it might be a bit hectic training for those long hours, it indirectly teaches you the skills you need for the exam. It builds all the knowledge required for the 6 categories you’ll be tested on.

How to Pass Your RBT Exam: Preparation Tips

How to Pass Your RBT Exam: Preparation Tips

Neither BACB nor Pearson VUE offers specific study tips to prepare you for what’s to come. Hence, you assume the general advice when studying for the RBT; practice questions, proper time management, and review any missing material. Moreover, you’re expected to fully understand the RBT Task List (2nd Edition).

Below are our 8 main tips guaranteed to pass the examination, only with adequate time and consistency.

Find an RBT Study Guide

While you will be tested on your applications learned through training, you’ll also face some terminology and might be asked to distinguish between them. For instance, if you’re asked about the difference between psychology and behavior, you’re expected to fully understand what each word insinuates.

The only way to get proper knowledge outside of physical skills involves studying through a book covering all those topics. A free, printable option that includes vocabulary, flashcards, and a short mock exam consists of the Hope Bridge guide. However, if you would instead study from a hard copy of a book, check out the fantastic study guide from Dr. Jaime Flowers.

Make a Schedule

Making a schedule and putting aside time to study is often one of the most overlooked pieces of advice. Hence, instead of just jamming in some study time whenever you can, allocate a few hours everywhere where you specifically study without distractions.

Prop Your Environment

Another issue students face when studying has distractions around. Hence, ensure that your study zone is distraction-free. Shutting down all external stimuli can enhance your work’s quality. Therefore, your general studying efficiency increases as you have more mental power to focus on it.

Hands-on Experience

During training, shadowing someone, or even talking to a client, the actual experience will always come in handy. Hence, we advise you to follow in a technician’s footsteps and encounter as many cases as possible whenever you are allowed to do so.

Watch Videos

Not everyone finds reading the best way to understand something. Hence, a great alternative is watching YouTube videos or any videos you can get your hands on. Some provide a great alternative to reading through an entire handbook.

One great example is a series of cases provided by Shawn Lupoli. He presents various different topics and addresses methods and procedures to help you study for the RBT.

Practice All the Time

Once you’re done studying the terminology for the exam, you’re now supposed to refresh your memory regarding real situations. So, check out some mock exams. Moreover, there are some free resources out there. A great RBT exam practice test to get you started is provided by RBT Exam Review.


Don’t just read the flashcards; say them out loud. Hence, a great way to study words and different definitions is by asking someone out for help. That will enable you to say the word out loud and answer without being tempted to cheat. So, grab a partner to help you out with this one. Two excellent sources are Brainscape and Quizlet.


There is no consensus on whether overconfidence enhances your testing performance or not. However, we know that believing in yourself can get you further than expected. So, confidence in what you’ve studied allows you to logically approach the exam without freaking out.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is the RBT Exam?

The bottom line is that the RBT exam isn’t generally considered difficult. For instance, the pass rate has consistently been higher than 80% of first-time takers. So, your chances are looking pretty good if you study well enough.

However, remember that a large chunk of the preparation comes from the mentality. Wanting to be a registered behavioral technician requires a good amount of dedication. Hence, if you set your mind to it, you’ll likely study well enough to excel. Also, 70% of the information you’ll retain if you’re entirely concentrated will come from the training sessions.

Check out our other interesting articles below.

> How Hard is the NCTRC Exam?

> How Hard is the QAFP Exam?

> How Hard is the Home Inspector Exam?

> How Hard is the Journeyman Plumber Test?

> How Hard is the RHIT Exam?

Picture of Professor Conquer
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.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Perhaps you’re a high school junior or senior considering to take AP Chemistry and are weighing the merits of this challenging yet rewarding course. Known for its rigorous academic demands and significant time investment, AP...

Read More
How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

One common misconception about college is that only students in their teens and early twenties attempt college. Unfortunately, this misconception has stopped many older people from enrolling in college to further their education. But the...

Read More