January 1st, 2023 is a new year with fresh beginnings and new goals.
If you are graduating from massage school, moving to a state that requires you to take a licensing exam, or jumping back into the massage profession after a hiatus – you might find yourself in the position of taking the 2023 MBLEx (Remember, the NCETMB is no longer an option).
If passing the 2023 MBLEx and getting licensed are part of your goals for the year, I want to help you get there. To do that, I think you need to know a little more about the newest changes to exam content, pass rates, and fee changes. Knowing about the MBLEx is almost as important as knowing what you may be tested on during the MBLEx. Don’t worry, we will talk about study guides, practice exams and where to find those at the end.
Why it is important to know about exam changes.
Massage Exam Academy opened its virtual doors in 2011 to help students pass the MBLEx. Since then, I have witnessed many changes to the MBLEx. Back in 2014, the FSMTB implemented a few changes to the MBLEx. The FSMTB annual report showed that pass rates dropped. Many test takers were not prepared for these changes. Massage schools were also not prepared to help students adjust to the new format and changes. It is hard to believe that years later, I still see students that are not provided with the updated information about the MBLEx.
Each October, the FSMTB puts out its annual report with pass rates and upcoming changes to the exam. Here are a few things from the 2022 and prior reports that will help you prepare for the 2023 MBLEx.
What is the current MBLEx pass rate?
Again, I think it is important to look at the history of the exam to get an idea about pass rates.
Pass rates from July 2019 through June 2020 are based on 22,148 MBLEx attempts according to the latest FSMTB report. Here is a breakdown of the numbers (which are nearly identical to the previous year’s report).
First-time test-taker pass rate was 73.4%
Repeat attempt pass rate was 40.0%
Overall pass rate was slightly lower at 67.0%
This means almost 33% of test-takers fail their MBLEx in that time frame. So why did I not update the numbers from 2020 and 2021? The report did not show how many tests were given, or completely breakdown the pass rates. Here is what it said under the section where the report talked about the impact COVID had on massage education and pass rates.
“By November 2020 the pass rate was beginning to drop, perhaps as a result of the classroom adjustments in learning methods and reduced or modified clinic hours due to COVID-19 precautions. December 2020 proved to be an anomaly with the pass rate dropping from a high of 72% down to 60% for first-time test takers. This one-month drop contributed to bringing the overall pass rate down to 69%. By June 2021 the pass rate was hovering back at 72%.”
The 2022 MBLEx report is now out. The FSMTB did not release MBLEx pass rate numbers again. It says the there have been “ebbs and flows” in the pass rates for the 13,278 candidates that took their exam between July of 2021 and June of 2022. Only 59% of candidates passed their exam in November 2021. However, in May and June of 2022, pass rates were back at 73%.
Now, let’s look at the recent changes to the MBLEx so you can prepare and PASS your exam.
2023 MBLEx Changes
Multiple Choice Format Change
The 2022 report states that test-takers began seeing multiple choice questions (or MCQs) with three possible choices instead of four. The report goes on to state that the number of 3 option questions may increase in the future 2023 MBLEx and beyond.
2022 MBLEx Changes
MBLEx Fee Increase
In April of 2019, the FSMTB announced one of its most controversial changes. For thirteen years, the fee to take the MBLEx remained unchanged at $195 per attempt. On April 1st, 2020 the NEW fee for the MBLEx was scheduled to change to $265 per attempt. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSMTB announced the fee would remain $195 until October 1st, 2020. If you are taking the MBLEx in 2022, the fee will be $265 per attempt.
Bonus: Learn exactly WHAT and HOW to study for your exam with my free MBLEx Starter Pack
COVID-19, Coronavirus, and Testing Centers
Wonder if testing has changed, or how the pandemic may affect your new career in massage therapy? I dedicated a whole other article to just those topics. You can read that here – Taking the MBLEx During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2018/2019 MBLEx Changes
In 2018, the FSMTB announced a change in content to the MBLEx exam. Below are the content changes that took place AFTER July 1st, 2018 and will remain for the time being.
Massage history is history.
The section entitled Overview of Massage/Bodywork Modalities, History and Culture will no longer be a separate section.
Overview of Massage/Bodywork Modalities will be reassigned as a subcategory under the section entitled Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue AND History and Culture subcategories will no longer be tested. That means you should not have to know who is credited with creating each modality in the year 1846 or who wrote the Book of Massage, but you should still know about the various types of bodywork modalities for the exam.
All subjects are not created equally.
The distribution of topics tested will be as follows:
Anatomy & Physiology changed from 12% to 11%.
Kinesiology changed from 11% to 12%.
Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution, Special Population changed from 13% to 14%.
Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue changed from 14% to 15%.
Client Assessment Reassessment & Treatment Planning remained unchanged at 17%.
Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations changed from 15% to 16%.
Guidelines for Professional Practice changed from 13% to 15%.
I have updated our study guide, practice tests, and simulations on Massage Exam Academy to prepare for this change.
2017 MBLEx Changes
There are a few other changes you should be aware of from 2017. I know this may seem outdated for some of you, but there are many people that are not aware of these changes.
New MBLEx educational requirement.
The first change the FSMTB has posted for 2017 did not concern content on the actual exam. Previously, the FSMTB did not have educational requirements for MBLEx applicants. The FSMTB website now states:
“Effective July 1, 2017, candidates seeking access to the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) will be required to substantiate enrollment in or having received their education from a massage therapy educational program that is approved or recognized by the state board or agency authorized to regulate massage therapy in the state in which the school is located. In the event the massage therapy board/agency does not approve or recognize education programs, approval or recognition from the relevant state department of education or like agency, in the state which the school is located, shall apply. In the event of a conflict between the state board/agency and department of education, the approval or recognition of the massage therapy board/agency shall prevail.”
No more recommended reading lists.
Next, the second change is that the FSMTB will no longer provide a recommended/reference reading list for the MBLEx content. This means the exam content can come from multiple texts and sources. Truthfully, I think it always did. The prior exam content was not explicitly bound to just the FSMTB’s recommended reading list.
Pass/Fail: Changes to the MBLEx passing score.
Lastly, there is one more change I want you to be aware of before your exam. I still get emails asking, “What is the MBLEx passing score?” There is no longer a numeric score given at the end of the exam, such as 630. The exam now is PASS/FAIL. The final score report will show pass/fail and how the candidate performed in each of the exam content areas (good, borderline, or poor). You can learn more about my thoughts on this here.
How can you prepare for the 2023 MBLEX?
Now that we are aware of all the recent changes, it is time to move forward with your MBLEx preparation.
Give yourself time to study and prepare.
This is not a high school anatomy exam. This is a professional licensing exam. Do not start studying a couple of days, or two weeks, before your scheduled date. Before you schedule your exam, come up with a strategy and study schedule.
Give yourself enough time to study each of the seven areas you will be tested on, and time for a general review right before the exam.
Review your texts.
Even though there is no longer a FSMTB recommended reading list, these texts will still be very helpful as you prepare. You will also use them as references in your massage practice. Dust them off if necessary, and get a feel for how much information you have retained and what you need to relearn.
Develop your critical and clinical thinking skills.
This seems to be one of the most frequent struggles I hear from people that failed the MBLEx. People that fail often do not prepare for questions that test clinical reasoning skills.
Massage therapists are health care professionals, so be prepared for the clinical reasoning-type questions every other healthcare professional is tested on during their boards.
You will probably not see a lot of questions like this: Which muscle or muscles adduct the arm?
Now, you are more likely to encounter some questions involving clinical assessment with a dash of kinesiology. Such as:
At the advice of her medical doctor, A 16-year-old girl comes in after experiencing an arm injury from a fall at horseback riding lessons a few weeks ago. A range of motion examination indicates that she cannot adduct her arm without pain. Which of the following muscle(s) is likely involved with this adduction pain and dysfunction?
A. Teres minor and Pectoralis minor
B. Teres major
C. Latissimus dorsi and Teres major
D. Infraspinatus and Deltoid
The correct answer is: C Both Latissimus dorsi and Teres major adduct the arm.
Exam simulators are the best way to reduce exam anxiety (a very real and common problem. Exam simulations allow you to get a feel for the length and pace of the exam. While exam simulators do not offer the exact questions that are on the MBLEx, they remove doubt about how quickly you should be answering questions as you answer similar questions.
Practice quizzes are also a great way to target weak spots in your topical knowledge. If you’re scoring very well in Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology, but struggling in Client Assessment, it only makes sense to focus your efforts on that subject. Our “Plan to Pass” is designed to help you determine your weakest spots and improve comprehension and quiz scores in that area.
Start Preparing for the 2023 MBLEx
Make 2023 your year! If you would like to learn more about the Massage Exam Academy, which includes MBLEx simulations and practice quizzes, you can do that here. My hope and goal at Massage Exam Academy is that taking the 2023 MBLEx leads to positive life and career changes for you.
If you’re preparing to take the MBLEx exam, you may be wondering how to find an MBLEx tutor, or even questioning if you really need a tutor.
I have helped thousands of students pass the MBLEx, many of who thought they needed a tutor but really just needed some tips and direction on how to study for the MBLEx.
But some people really do need that one-on-one exam preparation help and today we are going to figure out if that is you. And if it is, I will provide you with some tips to find a tutor. I do not offer individual tutoring at this time.
And maybe we will find that you just need some direction for studying for the MBLEx, like more practice questions and MBLEx simulations, help with focusing on specific problems areas, and tips on how to put together a plan to pass your MBLEx. I do offer this service in a self-directed format on Massage Exam Academy.
Let’s find out what you need.
3 benefits of having an MBLEx tutor:
When you work with a tutor, you will have their undivided attention. They can help you focus on your specific needs and tailor the sessions to your learning style.
It can be easy to get discouraged when studying for a difficult exam like the MBLEx. A tutor can provide much-needed motivation and support during this process.
Having someone to hold you accountable for your study goals can make a big difference in how successful you are. A tutor can help you stay on track and make the most of your study time.
3 cons of having an MBLEx tutor:
One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring a tutor is the cost. Tutoring can be expensive, and it may not be feasible for everyone. Some charge $50 an hour for a tutoring session. This may not be practical for many one-on-one sessions.
Another downside to tutoring is that it can be difficult to find a time that works for both you and your tutor. If you have a busy schedule, it may be tough to fit tutoring into your week.
Not Tackling the Right Issue
A tutor who does not find out why you are struggling will only be a waste of money. If you hire a tutor, hire one that will help you understand what you are studying and learn to think about how to solve problems.
If these are going to be an issue for you, you may need to look at self-directed MBLEx prep programs that are available 24/7 and can provide you with some direction on what you need to be studying.
Where to find an MBLEx tutor
There are a few different ways to go about finding a qualified tutor who can help you prepare for this important test.
One way to find an MBLEx tutor is to contact massage schools in your area and ask if they have any recommendations. It may not be the school you attended or are attending, but it never hurts to call around and ask for recommendations.
Many instructors at massage schools are also MBLEx tutors on the side.
There also may be some graduates of the school that have passed the MBLEx and offer tutoring services in addition to their jobs as massage therapists.
Some massage schools offer group MBLEX prep courses when their students are preparing to graduate. You may ask the school if you can sit in on these classes to help you prepare.
Online MBLEx tutoring services
There are a few online MBLEx tutoring services that can help you prepare for the exam. Some offer individual tutoring and others offer a mix with some weekly question and answer sessions.
What to ask a potential tutor
Once you’ve found a few potential tutors, there are some important questions you should ask before making your decision.
First, ask about their qualifications. What experience do they have with the MBLEx? How long have they been tutoring?
Next, inquire about their teaching style. Some people learn best by listening to lectures while others prefer a more hands-on approach.
Finally, ask about their availability and how much they charge. You want to make sure you’re able to afford the tutoring and that it will fit into your schedule.
Don’t be afraid to interview several different tutors before making your decision. It’s important that you find someone who you’re comfortable with and who can help you achieve your study goals.
Other questions you need to ask yourself while preparing for the MBLEx
Do you need an MBLEx tutor or ESL services?
Some non-native English speakers struggle with taking the MBLEx due to the way the questions are worded, not because they do not understand the concepts. If English is not your first language, you may benefit from some ESL courses while you study for the MBLEx instead of an MBLEx tutor.
Do you have a learning disability?
Learning disabilities can make the MBLEx seem even more overwhelming. Make sure your tutor is aware of any learning disabilities you have so they can adjust their teaching methods to meet your needs. Are there any other learning services that could help you as you prepare for MBLEx?
Do you have exam anxiety?
If you suffer from exam or test anxiety, working with a tutor can help you learn some coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with this on test day.
However, replicating the pace and feel of the MBLEx through timed practice exams is what most of our Massage Exam Academy students say helped them pass their exams and quiet their anxiety.
Taking the MBLEx is one of the last steps before you can start your new career as a massage therapist.
You want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible so you can pass the exam on this attempt – whether it is your first or fourth try.
Tutoring can be a great way to get the individualized attention and support you need to succeed on the MBLEx. With a little bit of research, you should be able to find a tutor that’s a good fit for you.
While working with an MBLEx tutor is one way to help you prepare for the MBLEx, it’s not the only way. There are many different prep programs and resources. Again, the program at Massage Exam Academy has helped thousands of people pass their MBLEx without the need for an individual tutor. You can start today for the same price as a one-hour tutoring session and use our 4000 practice questions and simulation exams, online flashcards and study guides any time of day that works for you and your schedule.
Find out more about how this program can help you pass the MBLEx on this attempt at Massage Exam Academy.
MBLEx Flashcards: Create This Effective Study Tool
Making flashcards is a great way to study for the MBLEx. Not only do they help you learn and remember key concepts, but they are also portable and can be used anywhere! In this blog post, we will provide tips for making effective MBLEx flashcards as well as some resources that you can use to get started. Let’s get started!
Why make your own flashcards?
First of all, along with our 4000 MBLEx practice questions, online study guide, we have 200+ online muscle flashcards on www.massageexamacademy.com. These flashcards include nearly every muscle origin, insertion, and action with detailed photos. However, I still think there is a tremendous value in making your own flashcards.
Here is why.
They are uniquely you.
One of the benefits of making your own flashcards is that you can tailor them to your specific needs. If you find that you are struggling with a particular topic, you can make a set of flashcards that focus on that topic. You can also add your own personal notes and examples to the cards, which can be helpful when you are trying to remember a concept.
Another benefit of making your own flashcards is that it can save you time and money. If you are purchasing a set of pre-made flashcards, you may not be getting exactly what you need. By making your own cards, you can ensure that they are relevant to the material you are studying.
For instance, if you are really struggling with massage ethics terms, you could just make flashcards with ethics terms and short definitions.
It is active learning
When you are making your own flashcards, you are not only creating a study tool, but you are also actively engaged in the learning process. The act of writing down the information can help to solidify the concepts in your mind. Additionally, by adding your own personal notes and examples, you are more likely to remember the information when you need it. You do not get this when you buy premade flashcards.
Making your own online flashcards has some benefits too. You are still typing them out so it is active learning. You can also share them with other massage students if you make them on a site like Quizlet. And, they are easy to access from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Next, let’s cover tips for making and using your MBLEx flashcards.
4 tips for making MBLEx flashcards
Now that we’ve talked about some of the benefits of making your own flashcards, let’s talk about how to make them. Here are three tips to get you started:
Start with a specific goal in mind.
What do you want to learn? What information do you need to remember? By starting with a specific goal, you can ensure that your flashcards are relevant and helpful.
Keep it simple.
When you are making your own flashcards, less is more. You want to include only the essential information on the card. Too much information can be overwhelming and difficult to remember.
Flashcards don’t have to be boring! If you are struggling to stay motivated, try adding some images or colors to the cards. You can also use different shaped cards or index cards to make the process more fun.
I am a big fan of adding drawings to my flashcards, especially for anatomy. Not only does it make the process more fun, but it can also help you remember the information. When you are drawing the concept, you are again actively engaged in the learning process.
4 tips for using MBLEx flashcards
Now that you know how to make flashcards, let’s talk about how to use them. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your flashcards:
A great way to study with flashcards is to test yourself on a regular basis. You can do this by setting a timer and seeing how many cards you can get through in a certain amount of time. This will help to keep you focused and on track.
Say it out loud.
When you are studying with flashcards, it is important to say the information out loud. This will help to solidify the concepts in your mind and make it more likely that you will remember the information when you need it.
Say it: Bilateral: Affecting both sides. Example: The client reported bilateral low back pain.
Mix it up.
If you are finding that you are getting bored with your flashcards, try mixing things up. You can shuffle the order of the cards or group them together in different ways. Additionally, you can try using different methods to test yourself, such as writing the information on the card instead of saying it out loud.
Make it a game.
Flashcards can be a fun and interactive way to learn. Try turning them into a game by challenging yourself or a classmate who is studying for the MBLEx to see who can answer the most questions in a certain amount of time. You can also keep track of your progress and see how much you have improved over time.
Ready to get started?
By following these tips, you can make sure that your flashcards are effective and helpful for your MBLEx preparation. Remember, the key is to find a method that works for you. So don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a system that works for you.
What are some of your tips for making flashcards? Share them in the comments below!
If you are looking for more study tools to pass your MBLEx exam, like practice questions and exams, you can learn more about my program here: Massage Exam Academy.
Many people taking the MBLEx are moving and unsure where they’ll be in the next one to six months. Because of this, one of the most common questions or blog comments is, “Where can I take the MBLEx?”
Or you may have similar testing questions:
I am moving to Texas, Florida, or insert your State here, do I have to take my exam there?
Can I take the exam before I move, or do I need to wait?
Do I need to take the test in the same state I am applying for a license?
Luckily, I have good news for those of you in this type of situation. You can take your exam at any Pearson Testing Center that the FSMTB (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards) has authorized. There are Pearson testing centers all over the United States that allow people to sit and take the MBLEx every day.
You do not need to take the MBLEx in the same state where you are applying for a license. The exam is not state-specific – meaning if you take your exam in Illinois, the content outline is not any different than the exams taken in North Carolina. This does not mean that your questions are the same (because they are not), just the content outline throughout the country is the same.
Where can I take the MBLEx? How to find a testing center
To locate a testing center, Pearson Testing Center, Pearson Vue Center, or Pearson Professional Center that the FSMTB has authorized to proctor the MBLEx (Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination), click on the link below.
How do I send the results of my exam to the massage therapy board?
You do not send your exam results to the board where you are applying, the FSMTB will do that. The basic application process for the MBLEx is like this:
Send in your MBLEx application to the FSMTB
Receive authorization to test (ATT)
It is at this point you will request where you want to test and where you want your results sent
When you sign up to take your exam and get your authorization to test (ATT), one of the questions you will be asked by the FSMTB is where do you want your results sent. When you are asked that question, you can request to have your results sent to the state where you are seeking a license. This means if you are moving to Florida and applying for a massage license there, request that your results be sent to the Florida Board of Massage Therapy. The state you test in and the state you want your scores sent to do not need to be the same.
Also, if you take the test in Washington for the board and fail your exam and move, you can choose a new location when you get your new authorization to test.
I am trying to get licensed as a massage therapist in more than one state, how do I request my scores get sent to multiple states?
You can request that your scores be sent to more than state. However, I believe there is a $25 charge for each additional state you want your MBLEx results sent to after the first one which I think it’s free. If you have already taken the MBLEx, just fill out an score request form to have your scores forwarded to the state where you are applying for a license.
For more on getting licensed as a massage therapist in multiple states, click here.
Can I take the MBLEx online?
No. This exam must be taken at the testing center. It cannot be taken at home.
Ready to study, pass your MBLEx, and get licensed as a massage therapist?
To learn more about our online study guide, over 4000 practice questions, and unlimited MBLEx simulations, click here.
In our massage therapist groups, it is common for the moderator to post, “Welcome so and so to the board. They are studying for the MBLEx and want to find the best MBLEx practice tests- or the best MBLEx study guide.”
That is likely why you are here too.
I understand that you want to pass the MBLEx, get your massage license, and enjoy your career in massage helping others. You not only want to pass the MBLEx, but likely need to pass this exam. And I want to help you find the best MBLEx practice tests or the best MBLEx study guide for you to pass the exam on your next attempt.
For over ten years I have helped thousands of people pass the MBLEx on this website. This includes people right out massage school, those that failed one to five times, and many others taking the exam three or thirty years after massage school.
Here are some things I want you to know about using studying, MBLEx practice tests, and study guides.
Where do I begin to study?
Maybe you don’t know how or where to begin with your MBLEx study efforts. Should you just use the free apps on your phone, dig out your massage school textbooks, or buy a study guide you found on Amazon?
I believe I have found a formula that will give you the best chance to pass. It is not an app, textbook, or study guide. It is a self-paced program with an online study guide, flashcards, thousands of practice questions, MBLEx practice tests, and colleague advice.
At Massage Exam Academy you will focus on:
1. Determining your weakest subjects and improving those areas
If we can pinpoint and focus on a weak subject, overall scores improve.
2. Reviewing the online study guides
The up-to-date online study guide is broken down into the content areas of the MBLEx. This makes it easier to focus on one subject at a time while studying and decreases overwhelming feelings.
3. Taking MBLEx practice exams, questions, and simulations.
Massage Exam Academy has over 4000 questions, unlimited practice quizzes, mini-tests, and full MBLEx practice tests.
If you can simulate a situation like the MBLEx with our MBLEx practice test, you will respond with more confidence and less fear when the real exam date comes. You will perform better and give yourself the best chance to accomplish your goals and move forward with chasing your career dreams.
It sounds simple. Right? However, the problem is that many people do not study correctly or efficiently.
“None of the questions were on the app!”
Recently, my daughter had her driving permit test. While she was studying, I reminded her that I actually help people pass exams. And if she wanted any advice on studying, I would be happy to help her prepare. She accepted my offer.
She put down her study guide and we got out a computer and searched for driver license exam simulations. We practiced the feeling, the pace, and the content. I made sure she knew the questions would be worded differently, but the content would be similar. We worked through questions, particularly questions that were incorrect until she understood why she missed them.
When her test date arrived, we sat outside the testing room. A 14-year-old walked out disappointed with this mother. He said to her that none of the practice questions on his app were on the exam?
The testing person followed behind them and called my daughter back. She confidently got up and followed them back to the testing area.
Fifteen minutes later, she came out and let me know she had missed one question and was waiting to get her permit photo taken.
Hands-On Studying and Simulating the Exam Experience
I know a driver’s license exam is not a professional licensing exam. However, the same rules apply for the most part.
How and what you study matters- big time. Most people just do not know how to study properly or really what to study.
Complete studying is not simply reading and answering a question in an app on your phone.
Complete studying isn’t reading a study guide or cover to cover.
Complete studying isn’t answering questions at the end of each section in your textbooks.
I want to make sure you practice the feeling, the pace, and the content of your MBLEx exam. And that you know the questions will be worded differently, but the content will be similar. I want to make sure you work through questions, particularly questions that are incorrect until you understand why you missed them. Sound familiar?
I have talked to thousands of people that have both passed and failed the MBLEx. My favorite emails from those that passed are from those that tell me, “I felt like I was just sitting down and taking another MBLEx practice test.” That is my goal here – for you to feel confident walking into your exam and like you are taking another MBLEx practice test.
People that take the MBLEx practice tests know what it feels like to:
answer 100 questions in 110 minutes
see the timer ticking down during their practice exam
take an practice broken down similar to the MBLEx (11 kinesiology questions, 12 anatomy questions, 17 questions on client assessment, and so on)
Ready to take an MBLEx practice test?
If you want to know how to choose which subjects to study first, how to avoid common mistakes, try our MBLEx practice tests, simulations, practice quizzes, online study guide, flashcards, and develop your own plan to pass – it is easy to get started.
Learn more about our MBLEx Practice Tests, study guides, and more here.