MBLEx Starter Pack

If you're struggling to get started studying for your exam, this free guide is for you

About Ivy Hultquist

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to Massage Exam Academy, I provide massage continuing education at Advanced Massage Techniques. I also write specifically about barefoot massage at Ashiatsu.net, and write about more general massage topics at Massage & Bloggywork.


Connect with me: Pinterest, or Facebook


  1. Hannah Nisse says

    I graduated massage therapy school in May 2023 and took my test in November 2023. I failed the first time so I took a couple months off to study and took it again today and I failed the second time. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong because I have studied and dedicated more time this time around than the first. I guess my question is this; is it worth it to try again because at this point, I don’t think passing is in the cards for me.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Hannah! Sorry to hear about your exam. I know it can be frustrating after all of the time, money and effort you have put into a career you cannot practice yet. Have you read this article yet? https://www.massageexamacademy.com/so-you-failed-the-mblex/ Sometimes it helps people get started after failing. In my program, we focus on the weakest subject areas for each person. Often people avoid the subjects they struggle with. There is also other tips in that article that may resonate with you. I would not give up hope if massage is something you want to do.

  2. Angelina M Clark says

    I took the MBLeX 2 years and failed. It broke my heart and I gave up. I have a learning disability that causes testing anxiety so I’m hesitant to retake the test. Why are there no accommodations for people with learning disabilities??? And how am I supposed to pass the test if I don’t know what I got wrong so I can study better? I’m good at massage and my clients will only care if I know what I’m doing, not what I scored on the MBLeX. But I can’t practice until I prove to the state I can pass a “written” test that should be a hands-on test.

  3. samantha holland says

    hi ivy, i graduated in 2018, took the mblex 2 times and failed it. took a break from it and now im ready to try again. as im studying, im seeing some good test scores and some not so good… i think my main thing is the timer in the corner and all the answers being correct, you just have to pick what sounds best? i wish the test was 3 wrong answers and 1 correct. not 4 correct, having to pick what sounds the best? im surprised i still know so much, ive shocked myself studying! i think im gonna take it 6 months from now to be sure im very well prepared… the past 2 times i gave myself a few weeks, to a month and i clearly wasnt ready… any tips? my email is sammi.holland3@gmail.com

  4. Jacqueline K Larys says

    Question I went to school and graduated in July 31 2014 at the Cortiva school for massage and i never took the test what do I have to do to be able to take the test now.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      1. Make sure the hours for licensure in your state have not increased (I am not aware of any that have.).
      2. Apply to the FSMTB to take the MBLEx.
      3. Start to study.

  5. Nickee Pritchard says

    I have been looking for a refresher course.i can’t seem to find anything in my area. Is there a website you would recommend?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Exams are given on a daily basis. A person can schedule their own date with Pearson. If you fail, you must wait 30 days to retest.

      Only two states have specific exam dates (Hawaii and New York), but they have their own exams and do not use the MBLEx.

  6. Simone says

    I live in Florida and completed my massage school program hours in June 2018. Due to a demanding work schedule I was not able to find time to study for MBLEX exam until now.
    I was wondering when do I have to take the MBLEX exam by? I’m worried I will have to retake the massage school program hours if I dont take the Mblex test within a certain timeframe, like within 12 months?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Florida does not (at this time) have a time limit for taking the MBLEx. I am not actually aware of any state that would make you retake your education. I am also only aware of one state that would make you retake your exam if you do not apply within a 2 year period after passing it (Louisiana).

      However, I do not recommend waiting for 5 years. Laws can change. For example, Florida requires 500 hours and theoretically could change to 1000 hours. I don’t see it happening soon at all, but it could.

      • Autumn says

        Hey ivy ! I’ve officially taken my mblex twice now as I just left the testing room and I failed. I did way better this second time than I did the first which is actually great compared to the amount of time I didn’t put in which I only studied for two weeks. Not bragging but my nerves use to get to me. I live close to Dallas, Texas . But I heard a rumor about only being able to take the test 3 times ?
        Which I was needing to know is that true or not ? Because I’ve seen these comments and some people have taken it 4 ? So I needed to be sure . Could you help ?

        • Ivy Hultquist says

          Some states have limits, but very few. I have never heard of Texas being one of them. But, just to be sure, I would call the board office and ask. The old NCETMB had a limit that you had to go back for 100 hours after failing 3 times and some people still pass around that outdated information.

  7. Cat says

    Today is my 3rd times failed the MBLEX test, I study a lot purchased a study guide book. And I also have a online test.com MBLEX study guide. I’m very frustrated and disappointed I don’t How to pass the test. It’s very hard. I only see a few question in my study guide. Some of the questions is not in the book.. I can’t believe this.. I don’t know if I can pass the test to my 4th times.. I have to pay another $200.00

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      After helping many people that have failed multiple times, I can say that it is quite possible you are not studying correctly. Many programs just give you the information. What they don’t tell you is how to study. That includes knowing how to break down a question (because questions on study programs will not be on your exam!). You need to learn the information to apply to any question. Our plan to pass also helps you find your weakest area(s) and focus on those first. Too many people ignore their weak areas and that also keeps them from passing. Addressing these two problems would be my two suggestions.

  8. Tammy Chalfant says

    I am a physical therapist assistant, personal trainer, yoga therapist and have a BS in Kibesiology. Could I be eligible to take the rest and become a liscenced massage therapist? I live in Kansas where as of now you do not have to be liscenced but wanted to be proactive. Thank you.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Good question. I would contact the FSMTB about that. Their website does say “massage therapy school education”, but I think it is still worth asking since you often have some massage training as a PTA and with your Kinesio degree.

  9. Edna sonnier says

    I took my test sept.15,2018 the test was confusing nothing ive study was noticeable i was very disappointed in the confusing wording on this test upon all the money we have to pay back

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Maybe it is time to try other study resources. Some people are just not prepared for the exam and use outdated resources. I promise our program is up to date for all of the changes and will have practice questions that will challenge you before your next attempt. http://www.massageexamacademy.com

    • Ana laura says

      Good morning my name is Ana Laura and yesterday was the third time I took the test and did not pass it, since I come from New Jersey and now I am in florida, it is very frustrating since you study and end up wondering about everything except what you studied , for me the mblex is a fraud that take the opportunity to steal money from people because every time you have to pay nothing more or anything less than $ 200 as if it, study different types of material and nothing helps to pass it! it’s just not fair

  10. James says

    I know in the past you needed a score of 630 or better. That meant you could fail a couple of sections and still pass. Our you still able to be below average in a couple sections and pass or do you have to be average or above in all sections.

  11. Arbus says

    Hello Ivy, I haven’t made the test yet. My school will be finished by mid August. And I design to make the test right the way of the end of August. I heard some information that said MBLEx test of 2018 did change. So I want to ask you that was changed yet. If so your program is already updated for 2018 testing? I’m really taking serious about this test. And I hope your program will help me up. Me and friends have decided to buy the program but We are curious about the changing of MBLEx test on 2018. Thank you so much.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Yes, my program has been updated to reflect all the changes in this post for 2018. I updated it long before the July 1st changes. Hope this helps!

      • Nairoby says

        Hi that Mblex test is so hard anything that I study in school was on the test I don’t even know what to study Iam trying to take my again for second time now in October any suggestions please I need help

        • Ivy Hultquist says

          I suggest enrolling in our program here on Massage Exam Academy. A one-month subscription should help you pinpoint your weak spots, improve those areas, and increase confidence going into your next exam attempt.

  12. Jessica Michaels says

    Hi, I graduated in 2012 at a Technical school that recently closed last year. I have an Associate’s Degree in Massage Therapy and in Business. I had first taken the NCETM Exam right after I graduated. Failed, then Mblex came out. I have taken that exam 5 times. Came close, one time 10 pints off. But last year, when I took it. They don’t show you your score anymore. I have had turtors, I have the FSMTB practice book, I have books from school, books I have ordered that I was recommended. I use flashcards, I have even went to a Medical Massage School & they let me sit in on there classes with the students to refresh my mind of all the material. Again failed.

    I want to know if I am allowed to take the exam? even failing 5 times. I thought they had a rule you would haft to go back to school? I will not give up until I am in this career. I can’t stand knowing I have my degree & I’m 6 years out of school & have no experience in this field. Can you help me?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Jessica,

      The FSMTB does require schools to be approved in some fashion, but maybe if it was previously approved, you should be able to take the exam. The FSMTB does not have a limit on how many times you can take it, but attempts must be 30 days apart.

      The only other thing I would consider is if your state has a limit. Most do not, but just a few do. You can call your state board office and ask.

      After that, I would recommend getting started with my prep program on this website. It is the only way I can assess where you are and your progress. I have had people pass after many attempts and anywhere from before graduation to 30+ years out of school. I know many people that have used several books and other online programs, but felt this one was the one that helped them finally pass. Let me know if you have any questions.

  13. Clint Vest says

    Good day Ms Ivy I was currently under the thought of the following went to school for Massage Therapy in 2009 Morrow Ga, I graduated and had received my diploma. My class was the last graduating class before they took out the M.T program, I never went to take my mblex or national after my graduation ceremony, however my (Question) is this.. Can I still take my Mblex scince I did graduate and have my transcripts in my possession, in this year for 2018. Thanks so much for your help from Clint

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Clint,
      I do not see any reason you cannot take the MBLEx at this time. I am not aware of any rule changes in GA since 2009 that would affect your ability to get a license there either, but I always think it is best to check with the state board before applying.

  14. Michelle says

    I’m very upset because I have taken the mblex exam three times and have failed. I. Are you taking it for my fourth time on June 14, 2018 I have studied for 2 to 3 hours a day for three months at a time. Bought the book that the and blacks or the FSTMB cells and no luck I also have two or three other books that I have followed and I am studying and ATM be at I believe it is and I’m still struggling

  15. Paulina Hood says

    Hi there!! I graduated from massage therapy school in 2007 and I took the old test. I did not pass for a couple of points and felt super frustrated. I believe Florida has a limit on how many times you test and I would like to test again. Is that possible! If so, what is the best study book I could purchase?

    Thank you,

    Paulina Hood

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Paulina,

      There is nothing in the law and rules in FL about an exam limit currently. The only limit is that you can only test every 30 days for the MBLEx. I see no reason you cannot test again. You will need to complete the fingerprint requirement and likely complete 10 hour laws and rules (available on our other website -www.advancedmassagetechniques.com) since the requirement back then was 4 hours (check your transcript). All of our study packages on Massage Exam Academy are online. If you are looking for a book, I find most study guides (printed) to have outdated information, so I would suggest a full massage textbook if you need a hard copy option (Salvo, Fritz, Mosby’s).

  16. Melvis says

    I failed the mblex and because I didnt finish the test. The computer didn’t even print out a diagnostic after the test it just said I didn’t finish in the allotted time. My test was at 4:30 i got there 30 mins early but didn’t start testing until after 4:30. I did not see a timer nor was I warned on my computer that the test was almost over. My computer said time was up. When I looked at the time it said 6:10. I a had about 20 more mins to finish. I think that my computer may have glitch but I know for a fact that I still had time left to finish. I spoke to the lady up front she said she could not help me. I don’t know what to do. I am pretty sure I would have passed if the computer had not shutoff. I will call the board and see if I can take it again because i was not warned about the time limit on the computer. Do you think they will let me take it again?

  17. Sara Long says

    Hello Ivy
    I haven’t been in school since 2005 and took the past 8 years off to be a stay at home mom. I am more then ready to go back. I’ve taken the MBLEX 2 times now and failed. I was just under what I need to pass both times. The second time I believe it was more names of authors and tax prep / insurance questions that really got me. Would your program be able to help me or has it been too long for me. I don’t think I can handle another fail. Should I do the one month or 3 month? Finacily time is of the essence , I need to start making money again and it’s already taken me so long with no results .
    Thank you

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      MANY of the people that use this site are people that went to school long ago. You certainly are not alone. I also see people in your situation pass often. Most that do really well have been practicing and are moving and need to take an exam. I suggest one month to them. Others, like yourself, most likely need three months. Remember, massage school is usually 6 months. So reviewing information you have learned previously can certainly be done in 3 months with dedicated practice.

  18. Deja says

    Hi Ivy,
    Living in Ohio students get 3 chances to take the Mblex. I graduated massage school in July 2017 my score was 618. I went back again for the second time in November really confident read each question and took my time. I felt great about the test left out of the testing area and i was really frustrated and angry. My score was extremely low! At this point in time i don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m right on the edge i also have one shot. What do you recommend ? I really do not want to throw money down the drain that i have to play back and go back to school to be deeper in debt. i’m furious!

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Deja,

      It is a stressful situation you are in. What have you used to prepare for the MBLEx (prep programs)? Does your school have any prep classes you can attend, or anyone willing to tutor you? Where did you attend school?

  19. Leanne martinez says

    Hi, my license expired between 2010 and 2012. I am figuring I will have to take the mblex to get it back? If that’s the case, how should I go about preparing and what should I expect ?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Leanne,

      It is VERY rare to find that someone needs to retake an exam after passing it previously. Where are you trying to get a license? You may just need to apply and pay the fees get it back.

      • Tamara says

        My License expired in 2010 and I did not test to get my license. So now I have to test right? My school closed and now I have paid all the fees to test.

        • Ivy Hultquist says

          Most likely. A board-approved exam is usually a requirement to get a license in most states. Where are you located?

      • Joi says

        Hello my license expired in 2012 in Illinois. I am in the process of getting my license restored, I sent in my restoration packet CEU and fee. That was my question will I have to take the exam over? When I took it, it was NCTMB? Thank you!

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      As of July 1st, the FSMTB is no longer providing scores on the MBLEx reports. People that fail will be provided with a little more information. In each category it will tell them how they performed – poor, borderline, or good. I am working on a post on this, but it is not quite ready.

  20. Aileen says

    Hi Ivy, I failed the first time and do you think the MBLEx test is always the same, or will it change? Thank you.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Not at this time. The software we are not using is constantly being updated and it may be added in the future. Currently, once a question is used, it will not come up again until you go through all other questions in that category.

  21. Mindy says

    Hello! How is the test scored? Is there a set amount you can miss and still get a 630? Is the score dependant on under which category the question falls (ie ethics questions are worth 5 where anatomy questions are worth 4)?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Mindy,

      The test is scaled out of 900. There is not a certain amount you can miss as this is a CAT exam. This means different questions (not based on category, but on difficulty) are weighted differently. So the exam adapts to your level and if you do test above the 630 mark, you pass the exam.

      • Ivy Hultquist says

        I should have mentioned that after July 1st, 2017, the FSMTB is going to a Pass/Fail scoring. They will no longer give you a score, but the report will still indicate how you faired in each subject (good, borderline, poor, etc). Sorry, I forgot about that change!

  22. Connie Gaxiola says

    Hello Ivy, thank you for all of the great information. I am wondering how many hours of schooling does a person need to be qualified to take the exam?

    Thank you,

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Currently, there is not an hour requirement. After July 1st, 2017. there will be an educational requirement. You can read about that here —> https://www.fsmtb.org/mblex/. There is an email contact on the page if you need more detailed information.


  23. Brenda Gutrick says

    I’ve been a CMT here in Los Angeles for the past 6yrs. I’m moving to Louisiana this year, and will need to take the MBLEX. A co-worker loaned me a study guide & sample exam for NCETMB. I realize this test is no longer being offered, but is the guide basically the same as the MBLEX study guide, or should I purchase an actual MBLEX guide & sample exam books? Also, the rule that goes into effect July 1st means what exactly?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      The NCETMB is definitely not the MBLEx. But, the study guide may be quite helpful for basic information. I would still learn about how the tests are different.

      Our website is up to date for the 2017 content breakdown.

      The July changes can be found here – https://www.fsmtb.org/mblex/

      It has to do with proving you completed acceptable education to the FSMTB.

  24. Julie says

    I finished school in July. I took and failed the mblex in October and I’ll be retaking it may 11th. I failed by 8 points. Most catorgories I was borderline. Physiological questions were difficult because I wasn’t prepared.

  25. Erin says

    Good morning, I graduated in August 2016 from Massage school. I took the MBLEX 2 times and both times failed with a score of 624!! I was completely shocked the second time because I felt good studying for the exam and even while taking it. I have apps, books and the study manual. What else do I need to study?

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Erin,
      624 is close, but there must be something that is keeping you from getting over that 630 mark. Do you consistently score low in a subject, or has it varied?

      I did not see this email address in the system, so I assumed you have not tried the study guide and program I offer. It has helped many people that have failed the MBLEx previously work on their trouble spots and use practice simulations to pass the MBLEx. If you have any questions about it, let me know.

    • Deanna says

      Erin, I am in the same boat . Failed twice , both with a 607. I am so confused . I felt so confident leaving the exam and was so sure I passed, too! I also have plenty of study guides and have no clue what I am doing wrong. Which study guide did you wind up getting or what did you do? I bought Ivy’s yesterday. I am hoping I don’t fail this a third time, I don’t want to go back and pay for more schooling .

  26. Paula says

    I am so discouraged. I am 20. I took the test for the fourth time and still cannot pass. My score was 570 – which actually has been my best score so far. I study everyday with books, cards, apps – everything. I passed my massage therapy courses with ease – mostly because I am a tactile learner. I loved the school because it was not the book learning that I hated in high school. I’ve always had a hard time in school with reading and comprehension and taking tests has ALWAYS been amazingly difficult for me. My life is on hold until I pass this test. If I get a FT job somewhere I will lose motivation to study but it’s so frustrating. I’m actually very scared now.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Paula,
      I was 21 when I took my first licensing exam (NCETMB) and 31 when I took the MBLEx. I actually think I was more nervous the second time I took an exam.

      Many massage therapists are hands-on learners and struggle with exams. Something you can do is learn to visualize what you are learning through hands-on studying. Close your eyes and visualize yourself touching a part of the body, moving it and assessing it. What does it look like or feel like? This may help you as you try to recall information during the exam. I closed my eyes and looked at my own body a lot during the second exam.

      Try this out while taking practice exams first, not on your next MBLEx attempt, to see if it is helpful for you.

      Make sure you are studying and learning the information and not just memorizing questions you see on apps.

      Focus on the subject you are consistently scoring poorly in on the MBLEx.



    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Shameeka. I know many others that have waited to take the exam. I always think it is best to put together a study plan. Think about how much time you have to study each day and which subjects you need the most work on. Start with those subjects. The study program on this site does provide a “Getting Started” area to help those that are feeling overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.

  28. Hollie says

    It really frustrates (and infuriates) me that you cannot go back and change your answers on the Mblex. I’m paying $200 to take this exam. Some of us do not test well, and things hit us at different moments. If they are not going to allow us the freedom to go back and change our answers once we have answered a question, then they need to lower the cost of taking the test, drastically. I’m already in debt with student loans for Massage Therapy school as it is.

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Hi Hollie, I believe they got rid of the going back when the exam transitioned to CAT (Computer Adaptive Testing). Since the exam adapts as you answer, I believe this eliminated the ability to allow testers to go back. The MBLEx is priced similar to most professional exams, although most others make the wait time between testing even longer than the FSMTB. Most professional licensing exams also use CAT testing and do not allow testers to jump between questions.

      I know it is hard not passing and there are many people that do not test well. Focus on your weaker subject areas as well as on your test-taking skills.

      • Olga says

        They should allow people to go back on questions it’s so hard without it because if people don’t know answer then after whole text go back think about other questions that that holds up a lot of questions might know we spend time a lot the questions we might ever Hurd of please hope they change to go back like the FCAT it well passing so much better

  29. Sylvia Hall says

    Good evening, Ivy!
    I graduated massase therapy school in 2014. My dream is to won my own spa. I am so clueless as to where to even begin or how to study. Please help. Thanks!

  30. Nattayamcnamer says

    Hi I. Failing 2 times for 1 point I made 629 for 2 times I can’t believe I don’t know what to do and my English very bad that why I failed I hope next week I going to pass

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Many people that have English as a second language struggle with the MBLEx even when the know the information. It sounds like you are very, very close. Often there are free ESL courses/tutors in most cities that may be helpful.

  31. Tatiana Toruno says

    Hi Ivy how are you . I am going to try again after failing 3 times already. Every time i failed i feel so discourage that makes not wanna do massage again but i feel that its a person challenge to pass this test. I honestly dont know what is but I failed for 9 points the last two times. So i know that I am very close. I purchased this last time but i dont think i used it much because i was using so many materials like books and stuff….Hopefully I get to pass this time.

    • Ivy says

      Hi Tatiana,

      If you did purchase the program, let me know what your username is so I can issue your extension for studying. Also, let me know if there are any areas that you are struggling with on the exam. I can give you some advice. Try studying by subject in each of your books. Do not read each book cover to cover. If anatomy is your weakest area, start there and read the anatomy section in all your books. It will be less overwhelming. Then when you have a good grasp of that subject, move onto the next.

      Nine points is VERY close. If massage is what you are wanting to do, then take the exam again. I have talked to so many people that fail their exam a few times, quit trying for a few years and wish they would have tried again. Make a study plan and stick to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *