Becoming a massage therapist can be a long road, but when you are working directly with people’s bodies, everyone must be safe. The MBLEx exam is just one step in the process of making sure that everyone has the best experience possible.
Taking the MBLEx can seem like a terrifying thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we can help answer your questions, like “how many questions are on the MBLEx?”, “Is the MBLEx hard?” and so many more!
What is the MBLEx Licensing Exam?
The first thing you need to do in order to pass the MBLEx is to understand what it is. The MBLEx is short for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam, and it is issued by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). The exam is designed to help streamline the process of getting a massage therapy license. That being said, the exam is only one part of the certification process, and the rest will vary depending on the state that you are in.
One of the benefits of the FSMTB using the MBLEx is that they have some control over the general knowledge that all certified massage therapists have. This includes everything from the anatomy and physiology of the human body to the ethics and legal regulations surrounding massage practices.
The MBLEx is a computer-based test and must be taken in an approved testing center. By having it given in a testing center, the FSMTB maintains more control and minimizes the chance of cheating as much as they possibly can. In order to keep themselves running and maintain such a high standard of testing, it costs $265 each time you take the MBLEx.
What Score Do You Need to Pass the MBLEx?
This can be a challenging question to answer since, in recent years, the FSMTB has only given out scores of a pass or fail. Starting in 2017, the FSMTB announced that they would no longer give a numeric score but would simply tell test-takers that they either passed or failed.
The logic behind this choice was that it ultimately doesn’t matter what your score is so long as you pass the exam. The MBLEx is not designed to judge how good of a massage therapist you will be but instead to determine if you meet the minimum competency level in technical subjects they deem necessary.
The choice to not give out numeric scores can be frustrating if you don’t pass. If you receive a fail, you won’t know how close to passing you were. On the bright side, if you do fail the MBLEx, your scorecard will tell you if you performed good, borderline, or low on the eight categories that the exam covers. This will not be on your scorecard if you pass.
How Many Questions Can You Miss on the MBLEx?
Similar to asking, “What is a passing MBLEx score?” asking how many questions you can miss is hard to answer. Since the FSMTB does not give you a numeric score, it is hard to determine precisely how many questions you can miss. Part of the challenge in this comes from the fact that since 2014 the test has used a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) format.
On a CAT, the questions will get harder or easier depending on how you are doing. This means the different difficulties of questions will be weighted differently when the computer calculates your score. If you are doing well on the exam and are getting more challenging questions correct, you will continue to get hard questions, which will carry more weight.
If you are answering questions wrong, the test will start to give you easier questions. These more straightforward questions won’t hold as much weight, but you will get harder questions again if you start getting them right. In this way, the test adapts to you.
Preparing for the MBLEx: 7 Things You Need to Know
Computer Adaptive Testing
The test uses computer adaptive testing (CAT). This means that as you answer questions, the test changes the level of difficulty. For example, if you answer a handful of medium-difficulty questions well, your next question will be from a harder category.
30 day waiting period to retake
You must wait 30 days after you take the MBLEx before you are allowed to retake it. This is important because if you are on any type of time restriction, you should study extra hard. After all, retaking might not be feasible.
75% of students pass on their first try
The percentage of students who pass when retaking the exam is much lower than those who pass the first time around. While about 75% of students who take the test will pass on their first try, the percentage of retakers, who will pass drops to 40%. This is just more incentive to study hard for your MBLEx exam.
The exam is multiple choice
Knowing that the exam is a multiple-choice exam can change how people study. It also means that you should do at least some studying on how to pass multiple-choice tests in general since this will come in handy when you inevitably need to guess at some point.
You must register for the exam online with the FSMTB and receive your Authorization to Test (ATT) before you register for your exam. Your ATT just means that the FSMTB has checked that your educational background is verified through their online system.
Your ATT will expire!
Your ATT only lasts 90 days, so make sure you prepare for the exam as soon as you can during that time. It can be a good idea to start your studying before you apply for your ATT and then finalize your studying once you pick an exam date within the timeframe approved for your ATT.
If you don’t complete the 100 questions, you fail
The test consists of 100 questions that are given over a 110-minute time frame. If you don’t complete the required 100 questions during the time, you will receive an automatic fail, so make sure you keep a close eye on the time as you work.
3 Best Ways to Improve Your MBLEX Score and Pass the Exam
If you are looking for tips for passing the MBLEx, this is the place to be! Understanding how to pass the MBLEx, or any CAT exam, can seem daunting but is really doable. Here are our favorite MBLEx study tips to get you well on your way to crushing your exam:
In order to take the MBLEx, you will need to have already completed your massage therapy education. This varies by state but will take time and money. The benefit of this system is that by the time you get around to taking the MBLEx, you will have been preparing, in some way, for quite a while.
The first thing you will need to do is to go onto the FSMTB website and create an account. You will then apply for an ATT. You should, however, map out your timeframe for registering for and taking the MBLEx since there are several time-sensitive parts of the process.
In about five business days, you should receive your ATT. Once you have your ATT, you must register for a test at a Pearson VUE testing center during the 90 days that your ATT is valid. If you wait until the 90 days have passed, you will need to reapply for a new ATT in order to register for the MBLEx.
Take practice tests
Take lots of practice tests as you prepare for your exam. Practice tests are a great way to gauge how well you truly understand the material being tested and help you practice focusing for the required amount of time. Taking practice tests that are written and published by reputable sources is one of the best ways to prepare for an important exam like the MBLEx.
The MBLEx takes 110 minutes to complete, so you will be focusing for almost two hours. Focusing for this long can be exhausting and is something that you should practice. Practice tests are a great way to do this since most people are not ready to focus for that long without practice.
Another benefit of taking practice tests is that they will give you a good idea of how fast you will need to work in order to finish the 100 questions on the exam. If you don’t complete the questions during the time, you will receive an automatic fail, so you’ll want to make sure that you finish them all, even if that means you guess on the last few.
Make, and stick to a study guide
Making a study guide, and sticking to it, are some of the best ways to crush any test or project. Study guides help to direct your studying and keep you focused on the goal at hand, which is to pass the MBLEx.
Since you will most likely be studying for a few months, it can be hard to stay motivated or understand why skipping a day or two can be a problem unless you have the bigger picture in mind. A study guide is the best way to do this! It can also help you feel a sense of accomplishment instead of dread as you get closer and closer to your exam date.
We recommend having someone else help keep you accountable for sticking to your study guide, but if you need more study guide-specific tips and tricks, feel free to check out our other articles on this topic.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Pass the MBLEx?
Ultimately, passing the MBLEx is probably one of the final things you have to do before you are a fully licensed and practicing massage therapist. With this motivation, make sure you stay focused for this final push and apply the study tips that we’ve suggested in this article. Making sure that you are fully prepared and ready to take the MBLEx is the best way to ensure that you will be part of the 75% of students who pass the test the first time they take it.