Each year, thousands of people nervously pick up their exam score from the front desk at their Pearson Vue testing facility and find out they did not pass the MBLEx.
This result can bring on a lot of different emotions.
You are likely dealing with feelings of personal disappointment, or even jealousy of those classmates who passed their exam.
You also may feel as if you let those who have supported your massage endeavor down.
And the thought of taking and failing the MBLEx again may be consuming you with fear or anxiety.
But life is full of challenges like this; and challenges come our way to be hurdled, defeated, and make us stronger.
First, you need to decide if you want to take the MBLEx again.
And if you do, I want to help you better prepare yourself so you can pass this licensing exam and move forward with your massage career.
If you are willing, I would love to share a few of my tips and suggestions for taking (and passing!) the MBLEx on your next attempt.
Give yourself time and permission to be disappointed
Dealing with this test result may be one of the hardest things you will experience in your professional massage career.
Give yourself a couple of days (not weeks or months!) to be disappointed, upset, jealous, or frustrated.
Then it is time to let it go and move forward.
Own this Result
It’s natural to look for external factors to blame for our own poor performance.
And quite often, some of those excuses we come up with really did affect our performance.
However, taking accountability for this test result is a required step to getting over it.
Otherwise you will continue to find new excuses for not being fully prepared, and you’re really just repeating the cycle of your prior failed attempt.
Decide if and when you are going to take the MBLEx again
“Failure is not always a mistake – it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” – B.F. Skinner
Maybe you are questioning taking the exam again, or if massage is really for you.
After helping many people coming off this disappointing experience, I can say this is a pretty common reaction.
The exam now seems like an insurmountable task.
The MBLEx works as a gatekeeper between you and the massage career you desire, and I hate gatekeepers.
If you want your massage license, it is time to re-commit to passing the MBLEx and getting your license.
Failure is often thought of as the end of the road, when really, it’s only a hurdle on the path toward your goal.
Set a Goal Date
The FSMTB requires that you wait 30 days between exam attempts, but I recommend not waiting too long before you reschedule.
Yes the exam does cost a lot of money. But, the cost of study material and the exam fee is something you can make back in your first few licensed massages.
Sit down and evaluate how much time you honestly and realistically need to prepare now that you have a better idea of what to expect.
Better Prepare Yourself
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
You likely do not want to study in the same way you did before.
Now that you have seen what is on the exam, you are at an advantage to study more efficiently.
Bonus: How to Avoid the #1 MBLEx Study Mistake – Free Lesson and Practice Quiz
Evaluate Your Weaknesses
What went wrong the first time?
Did you study enough? Honestly?
Were you unprepared for the long client assessment-type questions (A client comes in with [insert condition], what is the next best step?) or the anatomy and physiology portion?
Spend additional time studying those on those areas, but do not abandon studying the other areas you will be tested.
Analyze distractions that may have hindered your preparations or performance.
Many massage students also work part-time jobs, have kids and families, plus other stress factors to deal with in addition preparing for after their exam.
Try to find a balance in your life between your other responsibilities and the time you need to prepare.
If English (or Spanish) is not your first language, consider taking an ESL class to help you with your English comprehension during the exam.
Some people experience exam anxiety, or just test poorly.
If this applies to you, it is very easy to be self-defeating and sabotage your preparation.
You may even find yourself a little bit more nervous this time around.
Just remember this is a sign that you want to do your best.
A little anxiety is even useful; just do not let it get out of hand.
With a little research, you can find ways to help you help you relax, relieve stress, and manage anxiety; whether that is aromatherapy, meditation, prayer, exercise, or even maybe a massage.
Fear of the Unknown
This was probably a major source of anxiety for you the first time around.
However, since you have already taken the MBLEx, this fear no longer applies to you.
You Are Legitimately Under-Prepared
It is quite possible you didn’t study enough for your first MBLEx attempt.
The good news is now that you have a better feel for what is on the exam, you have a second chance to adequately prepare yourself.
Before you choose a study guide or exam prep service, you need to ask yourself a simple, but important question:
How do I learn best?
There are several different ways to learn, and it is important to understand what is the most effective method for you.
Here at Massage Exam Academy, I have tried to implement the most effective methods of learning and retaining information.
- Review the exam material with comprehensive category Study Guides
- Visual learning with Muscular and Skeletal Body Charts
- Focus on weak areas with category specific Practice Quizzes
- Get comfortable with the pace of “the real thing” with the Exam Simulator
If you’re interested in learning more about a prep service subscription, you can check it out right here.
Put this exam in perspective
I know from personal experience this exam is not easy.
But I also believe with proper preparation, you can pass this test.
The most important thing I want you to remember is this test does not indicate future success in your massage career, how smart you are, or forever label you as a failure.
It is simply an entry-level massage licensing exam.
I know many smart, successful massage therapists who did not pass their licensing the first (or second/third) time.
You aren’t the first person to fail the MBLEx, and I promise you won’t be the last.
Do you have a question about preparing for your next exam attempt? I’ve probably heard it before, and would love to help!
Do you have an experience or success story that you would like to share?
Please use the comments section below to ask your question, share your experience or even just vent about origins and insertions!
I’d like to turn this comment section into a community that will show each new reader:
You’re not alone.
Your fears aren’t new or invalid.
Overcoming this obstacle is totally possible!
I look forward to answering your questions, reading about your experience with the MBLEx, as well as helping you prepare and move forward with your goals!
Image Credit: Thomas Shahan