It is time for you to take a licensing exam that is required by your state, city, or employer.
There are three groups of people that purchase this program.
Those just finishing up their massage program, or recent graduates.
Others that graduated a year ago and just have not found the time or money to take the exam, or to take it again.
And those that have been out of school so long ago and now find themselves doing something they never thought they would have to do, take an entry level massage exam years of practice.
Whatever your situation is – Welcome!
This exam is a big deal! I get it. My NCETMB test scores from twelve years ago are always within reach of my desk. I remember, after the exam, waiting for the mail and the arrival of my Iowa Massage License.
I understand that you only want to take this once.
I do not want to waste your time making you learn a lot of things you do not need to know for this test.
The first thing I want to you to know is that you can pass this exam. To pass this exam, you need to treat it like professional entry-level examination. This is not a high school anatomy exam. It will require preparation, time and focus.
Your time is valuable and your massage career is waiting.
Let’s get started!
Decisions, Decisions ~ Choosing the Best Exam for You!
If you have not decided which exam to take, then let me introduce your choices for massage licensing exams:
• Possible State Exam
As of November 1st, 2014, the NCETM and NCETMB will no longer be offered by the NCBTMB. The only exam offered by the NCBTMB is the new BCTMB. The BCTMB is not and entry-level licensing exam.
Click below to verify which exams are accepted by your state massage board.
• States that accept the MBLEx
The MBLEx is administered by Pearson VUE at test centers across the country.
Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination
Overseen by: Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
Background: The FSMTB was established in 2005. They released the entry level exam (MBLEx) in 2007.
Eligibility Requirements: Anyone can take the MBLEx, even before graduation from massage training.
Exam Fee: $195
Exam: 100 multiple choice questions
Time limit: 2 hours (110 minutes for the exam)
There will be five minutes allotted for a survey and 5 minutes allowed for a security agreement.
Passing Score: 630 on the test scale of 900 possible. This is a sliding scale. Different questions are weighted differently. 630/900 is 70%. However, since questions are weighted differently, it does not mean if you answer 70 questions correctly, you will pass. You will never see a definite number of correct answers you need to pass the MBLEx.
The Content Outline for the MBLEx:
Application: Application Online or Printable Form
Next Step: After you send in your application, an NTS (Notice to Schedule) will be emailed to you from the FSMTB. After you have your NTS, you may set up an appointment to take the exam with Pearson VUE. You must take the exam within 90 days of receiving the NTS, or you will be required to go through the application process again, including fees.
*If your state board sent in your eligibility information, you will get a payment voucher. You will need to return that in order to receive the NTS.
TIPS Leading Up to Exam Day
Study regularly for several weeks before the exam. Being prepared will help you approach the exam with confidence.
DO NOT MEMORIZE PRACTICE QUESTIONS
If you are using a study guide with practice questions, do not memorize the questions. I have never heard of someone say “I memorized all the questions and passed”. The questions will not be in the same format as the MBLEx. You need to know WHY you got a question right or wrong so you can apply that information to any question on the MBLEx.
UNDERSTAND MULTIPLE CHOICE STRATEGY
STUDY YOUR WEAKEST AREAS FIRST
Study those areas you do not understand the best first. When you feel you have a good grasp on
AVOID NEGATIVE NELLYS.
Avoid speaking with any fellow students who have not prepared, who express negativity and are pessimistic, and who will distract you as you prepare for the exam. Even avoid colleagues in the field who will tell you they are “so glad they never have to do that again,” or how “horrible” it was to take the exam.
USE SOME VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES.
Imagine how relaxed and prepared you are going to be for this exam, not how tense, stressed, and unprepared you are going to be on test day. Remember, you are doing your best right now to prepare.
Do not try to cram for this exam. This “technique” is rarely effective. If you do not know the information you need to know the night before the exam, you are not going to know it after a day or night of cramming. Avoid thinking you need to cram just before the exam.
GET YOUR REST.
Go to bed at a decent hour the night before the exam. Get some sleep, or just relax the day/night before the exam.
WATCH YOUR DIET.
No need for carbo-loading; this is not a marathon or race. Do not eat a sugar/carb-loaded meal or drink a lot of caffeine before your exam. For many, doing this will only add to existing exam anxiety.
EXPECT SOME ANXIETY.
Maybe, like many others, test anxiety has got the best of you. The thought of taking one of these exams makes you nauseous.
For most people, Anxiety is a great reminder that you want to do your best, and your body can provide the energy. Just try to keep it manageable. If you feel like you have exam anxiety that is debilitating, please seek the help of a licensed health care provider.
TIPS for Test Day
DRESS FOR ALL TEMPERATURES.
If you are distracted by being too hot or too cold, dress in multiple layers when you go to take your exam so that you can take off what is not necessary if you are too warm. And a word of warning: You are going to have your picture taken after the exam—lesson learned. I still laugh at the picture every time I pull it out.
Do not go to the exam with an empty stomach. Whatever you choose to put in your stomach, choose wisely. Make sure it is nothing that will cause sugar highs, lows, anxiety, or fatigue.
FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING.
Days before your exam, look at a map of the testing center location and arrive early to eliminate the stress of being late. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the testing facility on time.
SHOW UP EARLY, NOT LATE.
Show up on time! Being late is not tolerated, and you will have to reschedule your exam and pay the fee again.
JUST GO NOW.
Once your arrive at the exam center, use the restroom before you start the exam. Taking breaks during the exam will eat up the 110 minutes you are allowed.
During the Exam — What Happens?
• You typically will be asked to show up at the exam to register thirty minutes early. I have heard that tardiness is not tolerated. If you are late, you will have to reapply, pay the fee again, and reschedule for another day.
• Expect the exam facility to use some type of biometric verification or scans. They may scan your palm when you register, before you walk in the exam room, when you leave the exam room, and when you pick up your scores. Prepare for lots of scanning!
• Most exam facilities have lockers for other personal items.
• You can only bring your photo ID, a piece of paper and a pencil or a dry erase board that you are provided, and your locker key into the exam room.
• Exams are given on computers. You may also be provided with noise cancelling headphones.
TIPS for the Exam
• Test questions are ALL multiple choice.
• You will not know if you got a question right or wrong after you choose an answer. After answering, you will just move on to the next question.
• You can no longer save, or “flag,” or save questions you are unsure about and review those at the end. You must answer the questions in the order presented.
• Unanswered questions are wrong. Answer every question.
• Do not cheat! Your exam will be different than the person before you, next to you, and the person who takes it after you. Many other professionals will be in the exam room with you. Most will not be taking the MBLEx.
• Remember, exam anxiety is normal.
• Relax; you are in control. Take slow, deep breaths.
• Use caution with questions that contain words like always, except, or never. Keep an eye out for words that put limitations on a potential answer.
• Read the entire question completely. Then re-read it.
• There are four possible answers to each massage question on both exams. Most of the time, two of the answers can often be quickly eliminated. Once those two answers are excluded, choose the best possible answer.
• Do not add words that are not in the question.
• Budget your test taking time. Remember, there is no reward for finishing early. You are given two hours to complete the exam.
• You have been through massage training: Use any relaxation techniques you have been taught.
o Take a short break to relax your shoulders or stretch your neck.
Time’s Up. You Are Done!
• You will find out your results immediately following the exam once you leave the testing room.
• You can then leave the testing room. You may have your palm or fingers scanned again for security reasons.
• The exam monitor will provide you with a printout of the documents you need based on exam outcome (passing/failing) and what you need to do next.
• You are done!
I passed. Now what?
Contact your state board. EVERY STATE IS DIFFERENT. Check your state’s website to find out what you need to do next to get your license in hand. My exam scores were sent directly to Iowa. My application was waiting in the board office, and then my license was mailed to me.
I did not pass this time. Now what?
I have a lot more to say about this and you can read that here. I also recommend reading the post if you have previously failed the MBLEx or NCETM. It will give you instructions on how to give yourself time to grieve (shortly), but then to regroup. You will then need evaluate your past study habits and to develop a new plan to pass the MBLEx.
Most importantly remember this- not passing this exam is not an indicator or your future success as a massage therapist. Many people, great therapists, have failed these tests before passing them. I have been to many of them!
If you do not pass the MBLEx…
The good news is you can take it again. The bad news is, beginning July 1st, 2014, you must wait 30 days before you sit for the exam again. A new application and fee is required.
Now that we know what could happen, let’s get back in a positive frame of mind and focus on passing and doing well on the exam. Positive thinking goes a long way!
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
You can do this!