“How do I know if I am ready to take the MBLEx?”
This is a common and fair question.
I honestly do not like to tell people when they are ready because I feel it is such a personal decision. However, I have talked to enough people that have passed (and failed) to feel I can give you some good indicators that can help you determine if you are ready to take the MBLEx.
1) You have looked at your numbers.
You do not want to use the actual $195 MBLEx as a practice test. That’s why you have a subscription to this website. Use the simulations. They are unlimited. I find them to be a fairly good indicator of a person’s readiness.
Before the FSTMB ceased using numeric scores, I can say that most people tested on their MBLEx close to their simulation scores by percentage. My scoring is not exactly how the FSMTB scored exams, as the MBLEx uses computer adaptive testing and is scaled.
Before the 2017 FSMTB changes, here is how I translated scores:
900 was the highest possible MBLEx score.
630 was passing on the MBLEx.
70% of 900 is 630. That is why I still look for 70% on the website simulations.
Let me stress something, I look for practice exam and quiz scores consistently above 70%.
Consistently does not mean…
If you are scoring consistently 95% in history, and 45% in anatomy. Sure, that average is 70%, but anatomy makes up much more of the MBLEx than history.
Here is a sample email:
I just took the MBLEx and I did not pass it. This is my third attempt. I felt very prepared as I was making 80 to 85 on the practice quizzes. I am very upset and frustrated now.
I am so sorry to hear about your exam. I know it is upsetting and frustrating when you receive those results, especially when you felt prepared for this attempt.
I looked at your recent simulation scores. They ranged from 45%-85%.
You took a lot of simulation exams, which is very helpful when preparing for the actual exam. However, when I looked at your individual scores, I saw a few things that stood out to me. These are areas I would focus on before your next attempt.
You took 2 kinesiology quizzes. The scores were 45% and 55%.
You took 1 Pathology quiz. The score was 55%.
You took 5 anatomy quizzes. The scores were 59%-75%.
As you can see this person did take quite a few simulations, but not enough practice quizzes in their weakest areas.
If you score 55%, 60%, 67%, 65%, and then 72% one time on a practice quiz or simulation, that is not what I consider consistently over 70%. Taking one MBLEx simulation is also not enough to determine readiness and adequately prepare.
Like I said, I have seen a few people average a little lower than 70% on quizzes and practice exams and pass the MBLEx. I very rarely have seen people consistently score above 70% and fail.
2) You understand how to apply knowledge and concepts to clinical situations.
I know some students can struggle with applying what they have learned in books to clinical situations. The MBLEx tests your ability to apply your knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology. It is not a test where you can simply regurgitate origins and insertions; you will also need to apply them to a scenario or clinical situations.
If a client is having problems with abducting the humerus, which muscles could be involved in this pain? You should not only know what bursitis is, but what you should do if a client presents this pathology in your massage room. Is it indicated or contraindicated? If contraindicated, for how long?
It’s worth repeating, the questions on this site are not from the MBLEx. You should not be memorizing practice questions. You should be using these questions to build a better understanding of each subject so you can work through your unique MBLEx exam.
3) You are familiar with the type of test you are taking.
Test takers rarely think about which the type of exam they are going to take and how to prepare for that type of exam. Exam strategy is a real thing and it is worth your time to learn a little about it. It will make you a more confident and better test taker.
The MBLEx is 100 multiple, or single, choice questions. You need to find one correct answer out of four possible choices for each question.
Make sure you have looked over these posts:
Computer Adaptive Testing
Also, be aware that the MBLEx is a CAT, or computer adaptive, exam. This means as you answer questions correctly, you may get “harder” questions as the computer adapts to your level of competence. This format causes a lot of people to feel increasingly nervous and assume they are failing the exam as it progresses. I have talked many people that were absolutely sure they failed, but ended up with very high scores. The lesson here is, do not to panic during your exam if you are feeling challenged.
Here is a video from the FSMTB on how CAT is used on the MBLEx.
4) Determine if is it just cold feet, or if you really are not ready.
I regularly talk with people that feel anxious and apprehensive as their scheduled date approaches. More often than not, when we look at quiz scores, I find the person is actually prepared for their exam and just needs some reassurance. I have seen some very prepared people go to massage school and then never take the MBLEx because they never felt adequately prepared for the exam. I truly believe if you are constantly testing above 70%, you should really consider taking the exam.
For those of you that have failed the MBLEx previously, you may be extra apprehensive to schedule and take the exam again. Keep that in mind.
Some people struggle with exams throughout their life. If you are a poor test-taker, or have exam anxiety, you are not alone. Here are a few tips to review before exam day.
If you look at your practice exams and they actually are low and you genuinely feel unprepared, then consider rescheduling your exam. Postponing the exam slightly will allow you to more time study and gain some confidence in your weakest areas. If you choose this option, it is imperative to have a detailed study plan ready so that you will not be forced to postpone your exam again.
Now it is time to have a talk with yourself.
Discernment is an important step of taking the MBLEx. It is you who needs to schedule, take, and own the result of your exam.
I hope this provided you with a few practical ways to gauge your readiness and determine if you need to adjust your study plan.