The MBLEx (Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination) is governed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards FSMTB). It is designed to provide a standard examination for students of Massage for entry-level professional scope of practice in gaining licensure. The FSMTB was established in 2005 with the intent to build a support system for the Member Boards. Their goals from the beginning were to work towards cooperation in implementing regulations and procedures for the requirements to establish safe and effective Massage Therapy and Bodywork practices.
Check your Status of MBLEx Application
The MBLEx is not set up to trick or deceive the test taker. There is only one real answer to a test question. You will have 2.5 hours to answer 125 multiple-choice questions. If you take breaks your time doesn’t stop. The examination is scored on a scale starting at 300 and ending at 900. A passing score of 630 implies a minimum standard for competent practice as a Massage Therapist. The diagnostic information for each category and your numbered score will be given to you at the testing center when your exam is completed.
The exam has eight concentrated areas of content: Client assessment and treatment plans, Benefits and Affects of Techniques, Pathology with Contraindications and Cautions, Massage History, Ethics- Boundaries--Laws & Regulations, Guidelines for Professional Practice, Kinesiology, and Anatomy & Physiology. The Content Outline for the MBLEx breaks down further the categories used for establishing the questions in the MBLEx.
The breakdown of the 125 massage questions on the MBLEx is as follows:
20-22 questions on Client assessment and treatment plans 17% (Assessment)
20-22 questions Benefits and affects of techniques 17% (Application)
15-17 questions on Pathology with contraindications and cautions 13% (Pathology)
5-7 questions on Massage History 5% (CAM)
15-18 questions on Ethics, Boundaries, Laws & Regulations 13% (Professional)
11-13 questions on Guidelines for Professional Practice 10% (Professional)
12-15 questions on Kinesiology 11% (A&P)
16-18 questions on Anatomy & Physiology 14% (A&P / Body Systems)
for a total of 125 questions
$195.00. If you fail the exam you will have to apply and pay the fees again.
So on average the MBLEx:
Assessment: 17% or 21 questions
Application: 17% or 21 questions
Pathology: 13% or 16 questions
History (CAM): 5 % or 6 questions
Professional: 23% or 28 questions
A&P/Kinesio/Body: 25% or 28 questions
This breakdown allows you to see where the MBLEx focuses their content, creating a focus for your studies. The highest concentration is in the A&P/Kinesio/Body and Professional sections, followed closely by the Assessment and Application (as it should be). The Pathology and history questions are good to know because they help with the knowledge of your client's conditions so that you are able to make connections on how massage history effects the professional community as a whole today. When you are studying with us, it is important to note the content weight in order to better prepare yourself for the exam.
**Effective July 1st 2014 the MBLEx Content weight will change to:
* Anatomy & Physiology - 12% (reduced from 14%)
* Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue - 14% (reduced from 17%)
* Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, Regulations - 15% (increased from 13%)
* Guidelines for Professional Practice - 13% (increased from 10%)
To use our site effectively it is best to review the content of your graded exams. When you have finished your practice test and have received your score, don’t stop there. Check each incorrectly answered question and find out why you missed it. Was it because you didn't read the question correctly or missed one qualifying word? If you answered the question correctly, it is important to read the rationale, there may be further insights that can help you in the long run with a deeper understanding about the subject, or an easier way to remember the content.
When reviewing your tests, make sure you are breaking down the questions effectively. This is the time to practice reading each word slowly. It also helps, while reading the question, to insert one of the answers into the question to see if it fits or to see if it registers with anything in your knowledge base. If you take your time on each word, focusing on the overall relevancy, you will train your brain to pick out the best possible answer. Visualize the muscle in relation to the body, see the direction of the fibers, recall the origin and the insertion (more moveable attachment) and run through the available actions of that muscle.
Practice using scrap paper to write things down. Sometimes writing them down will trigger the information you are looking for. When you take the exam at Pearson VUE they will give you paper and pencil to use while you take the exam and then they will ask for it back when the exam is complete.
It is also best in your preparations to study at least an hour each day. When you answer a question incorrectly, use that information to find a subject matter you need to learn more about. Read all about it in your books, and look it up online. Try to make deeper connections in regards to the body relationship as a whole. As you continue to do so you will find that you can recall information faster and with more accuracy.
To be qualified to take the MBLEx you must first find out if your state accepts this exam as part of your licensing requirements. If yes, then you may apply directly with the FSMTB or through your state licensing board or agency. The fee required to take the exam is $195 due with the submittal of your MBLEx application. If you apply through your state licensing board or agency you do not need to fill out and send the application to FSMTB, the board or agency will complete that process for you.
Filling out and sending in the application does not guarantee that you are accepted to take the MBLEx. You must wait for an NTS (Notice to Schedule) that will be sent directly from the FSMTB to your email. If your state board or agency has sent in your eligibility information you will get a payment voucher that you must return in order to receive the NTS. Once you have completed this process you can then 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.
MBLEx Application Overview
Step 1: Apply to take the MBLEx
Step 2: Wait 5 business Days for FSMTB processing
Step 3: Receive the Notice to Schedule (NTS) Email Confirmation
Step 4: Call or Schedule online with the Pearson VUE nearest you (can not do this without confirmation code in NTS)
Step 5: Schedule and take Exam within 90 Days (after 90 days you must apply and pay fee again)
Step 6: Receive Pearson VUE email confirmation of Place, Time, and Date
Step 7: Take the MBLEx and receive results at the Pearson VUE's checkout desk (results are automatically sent to your state board listed on the MBLEx application within 24 hours)
MBLEx Candidate Handbook (Bibliography pg. 17)
MBLEx Survey Results
The Massage-Exam.com website is a resource for basic Massage information about our online practice exams and other links to major Massage organizations. We are not affiliated with NCBTMB, FSMTB, AMTA, ABMP, IMA, or AMC. Information gathered from these organizations websites is to help educate and inform our fellow Massage Therapists.
Tips on taking and passing the MBLEx:
These tips have been gathered from dozens of resources. They can be applied to the MBLEx as well as any test structured in the same format.
Taking the MBLEx can be a painless experience if you are prepared with the knowledge of the course material AND an understanding of what to expect of the MBLEx test itself. We have created this page to aid in answering some of the more common questions associated with taking the MBLEx. This includes facts and advice related to taking and passing the exams. It is intended to aid the MT candidate in his or her pursuit of license and registration as a Massage Therapist.
MBLEx is a Static (Summative) Test. It measures what you have learned and is a set of standardized tests with a set amount of time and a set amount of questions.
Facts you need to know about the MBLEx Exam
Advice on how to take and pass the MBLEx Exam
What materials to study for the MBLEx Exam
Before taking the MBLEx Exam
During the MBLEx Exam
MBLEx Question Breakdown
How The MBLEx Exam and Questions are Constructed
Facts you need to know about the MBLEx Exam:
• MBLEx test questions are multiple-choice with 4 potential answers. All questions are created by a team of 15 psychometricians and testing experts along with a core group of 60 subject matter experts. That created a list of all the tasks that a massage or bodywork therapist needs to be able to perform on the job. This list of tasks was then validated by several thousand practitioners (7,646). These testing experts made sure that there is only one "best" or "correct" answer, and that "each incorrect answer has some level of plausibility.” Additionally, each question and answer must be easily found in the MBLEx bibliography of books used in teaching Massage Therapy curriculum.
• The MBLEx is a standard CBT (Computer Based Testing) format. All testing will be performed at a computer workstation at PearsonVue testing centers all over the United States.
• The CBT (Computer Based Testing) that the MBLEx utilizes is called Static (Summative) Tests and each exam is a standardized exam. You will have 2.5 hours and 125 questions to answer in order to complete the exam and receive your results.
• The MBLEx is administered at the Pearson VUE testing center. This CBT or Computer Based Test will deliver questions one at a time to the candidate. Your name will be displayed at the top of the screen and on the top right side will be displayed your time remaining (you also have the option of clicking on the clock icon to get rid of the time count). The progress indicator under the time will show you the question number you are on and then the total number of questions. The bottom left of the screen shows the navigation buttons. You can choose the Previous screen, the Navigator settings, or Next screen. The Navigator button in the lower right corner opens a window that allows you to move freely around the exam questions. The Navigator window also allows you to view the question status (complete, incomplete, or unseen), and items that are marked or flagged for review.
• Items displayed in the Navigator window are sorted by question number. You can sort the questions by Question #, Status, or Flagged for Review by clicking the column heading. Click the heading once to change the current sort order from ascending to descending order; click it again to change from descending to ascending order. An arrow pointing up () indicates that the column is sorted in ascending order; an arrow pointing down () indicates that it is in descending order.
• When answering the question you may click on the bubble to the left of the correct answer or on the answer itself. If you click again, this will remove the selected answer.
• To flag a question for review, click the button in the upper right corner labeled Flag for Review. If you flag an item for review, a flag appears next to that item on the review screen. Review of items must be done during the testing time. You can select items for review whether you have answered them or not. To flag an item for review, use the mouse to click the Flag for Review button. A flag image appears within the flag outline when the item has been flagged for review. To un-flag the item, click the Flag for Review button again and the flag image disappears. When you reach the last item in a section, press the Next button to move to the Review Screen.
• You can move to each question within the review screen by clicking on it or selecting Review all. Do not click on the End Review button until you are satisfied with ALL your answers. The End Review ends your exam; it is located in the lower left side of the screen.
• There may be some questions that have a graphic displayed in order to fully answer the question correctly.
• Exam fees ($195) can be paid online at the MBLEx website, or you can print off an application and send it in with the fee.
• If you do not pass the exam you may fill out the MBLEx Retake Application form and send in the ($195) fee again.
• You will receive the official exam score at the Pearson VUE testing center immediately after your examination. No other report will be sent to you in the mail or email.
• The score will automatically be reported electronically to the state board that you wrote on the application, providing it is a state that accepts MBLEx scores. The score will be reported to this first state at no cost.
• If you need to have your score sent to another state board, or need another hard copy to be sent to either you or another business, you must fill out the MBLEx Mobility Form and pay $20.00 per report.
• You can find an MBLEx testing location on this page of www.personvue.com
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Advice on how to take and pass the MBLEx:
The following advice has been gleaned from dozens of sources. Information contained within has been compiled from interviews with Massage Therapists who have taken and passed the exam, related Massage discussion forums, and nationally recognized test-taking authorities.
Material to study for the MBLEx:
* Realistically you should have a working knowledge of all materials covered in your massage curriculum. There is no secret method to passing the Exam. The Massage-Exam Practice Testing Application will help you become familiar with the format and content of the multiple choice questions. You can solidify the concepts of massage assessment and application by studying the massage answer rationales that accompany every question.
* Even though the MBLEx has a minimum passing threshold, you should strive to learn more than just what is necessary to pass the exam. Reading the rationales that accompany every question on Massage-Exam will help further your knowledge and open your understanding to the concepts taught from your text. This will help build confidence in your personal abilities as a Massage Therapist and add a strong foundation to your new career.
The days before the MBLEx:
* Be sure to eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water in the days before the massage exam. Try to include B vitamin foods in your meals like oatmeal, bananas, and raisins. Get plenty of rest.
* Do not try to cram for the massage exam. This is not an effective way of preparing for any exam. If you don't know the information you need the night before the exam, you are not going to know it after a day or night of cramming. Get some sleep or just relax the day or night before the exam instead of cramming. The rest will do more for you than frantically pouring over your textbooks and practice massage exam questions.
* Do not eat a sugar-loaded meal or drink a lot of coffee before your exam. This will only add to existing test anxiety.
* Study for your massage exam regularly over several weeks to get the best results from your test preparation.
* Download a map of the testing center location and make sure you know exactly where the test center is. Arrive early to eliminate the stress of being late. Being late for the MBLEx is not tolerated and you will have to reschedule. You must be approved and signed up for the MBLEx, you can't just walk in to the testing center and request to take the exam. You can only bring your photo ID and a couple of pencils. Scrap paper will be provided for you in the testing area along with pencils if you are in need. These items must be returned at the end of the exam. Some testing facilities may even have a locker issued to you for your personal belongings to be stored during the exam.
* 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. The temperature of the testing center can change during the day especially if the exam is held in a seldom used room or building.
*Use the restroom before you start the exam. You are allowed to go during the exam, but take care of it sooner rather than later. You will be required to take one form of ID with you while the other stays within the testing center. It will be verified each time you leave and enter.
*You must bring two forms of ID to the exam site. One of the IDs needs to have a photo.
While taking the MBLEx:
* Use caution with questions that contain words like always, except, never, most appropriate, and other words that qualify a question. Watch out for words that put limitations on a potential answer.
* Be sure to read the entire massage question completely at least two times and then formulate the correct answer in your head before you take a look at the multiple choice answers. If you look at the choices of answers before you understand the question entirely, you may be led into choosing an incorrect answer.
* There are four possible answers to each massage question. Two of the answers can often be eliminated right away after reading the question through two times. Once these two answers are eliminated, you only need to decide which answer is the "best possible answer" between the two remaining choices.
* Don't over think or complicate the question. Do not add elements into questions that are not already written into it. These things can cause you to overlook the basics of the question, which is usually what you are being tested on.
* When you have completed the massage exam, review and check your answers if you have time. You are given two hours and forty minutes to complete the exam so you should have a while to review it after you have completed it. There will most certainly be at least one question that you have read incorrectly. Do not spend your review time waiting out in the car for your friend to get finish.
• Look at the breakdown of questions. A large portion of the exam is related to Professional Ethics /Standards (23% or approximately 28 questions), and A&P/Kinesio/Body (25% or 28 questions). The assessment and application sections are close behind with 17% or approximately 21 questions each. Many students overlook this.
The MBLEx may NOT be based upon the textbook you used in your class. The exam is based upon the MBLEx Bibliography (pg. 17) referenced materials.
• Remember, although the MBLEx exam looks at a minimum requirement to pass, nobody wants a "just made it by the skin of the teeth" therapist. Know your stuff.
• Obviously take advantage of the Massage Practice Tests here on our site. There is detailed score tracking and exam review features that let you see your strong and weak areas while you continue to take exams and improve.
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Use this information when studying and preparing for your final exam. Breakdown the subject matter to understand it better:
1. Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, state.
2. Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate.
3. Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
4. Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
5. Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write.
6. Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, defend, estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate.
• Recalling identification and
• Recall of information
o Who, what, when, where, how ...?
• Translating from one medium to another;
• Describing in one's own words;
• Organization and selection of facts and ideas
• Problem solving;
• Applying information to produce a good result;
• Use of facts, rules, and principles
o How is...an example of...?
o How is...related to...?
o Why is...significant?
• Subdividing something to show how it is put together;
• Finding the underlying structure of a communication;
• Identifying motives;
• Separation of a whole into component parts
o What are the parts or features of...?
o Classify...according to...
o How does...compare/contrast with...?
o What evidence can you list for...?
• Creating a unique, original product that may be in verbal form or may be a physical object;
• Combination of ideas to form a new whole
o What would you predict/infer from...?
o What ideas can you add to...?
o How would you create/design a new...?
o What might happen if you combined...?
o What solutions would you suggest for...?
• Making value decisions about issues;
• Resolving controversies or differences of opinion;
• Development of opinions, judgments, or decisions
o Do you agree...?
o What do you think about...?
o What is the most important...?
o Place the following in order of priority...
o How would you decide about...?
o What criteria would you use to assess...?
This is the nuts and bolts of how an MBLEx exam is built. Below is an example of how an MBLEx question is constructed. This will give you some insight into the thinking behind each question.
Steps to Question Writing
A well-designed multiple-choice item consists of three main components: a stem (asks a question or poses a statement which requires completion), key (the correct answer/s), and distracter(s) (incorrect option/s). The following section is designed to enhance the candidate’s understanding of the MBLEx question writing process.
Step 1. Select an area of the test plan for the focus of the item
* Client Assessment
Step 2. Select a subcategory from the chosen area of the test plan
* Acute Injury
Step 3. Select an important concept within that subcategory
* Assess and prioritize the injury, care, and techniques
Step 4. Use the concept selected and write the stem
* Client worked in yard yesterday and their right lower back is in spasms
What are the first questions that need to be answered?
Step 5. Write a key to represent important information the Massage Therapy student should know
* Pain scale, use of hydrotherapy, pain medications and restricted movements
~ ROM is stopped at the pain, don’t let client push through the pain
Step 6. Identify common errors, misconceptions, or irrelevant information
* Differences in pain concepts are individualized
* Name of muscles that are close to the prime mover but do not assist or are antagonist to the ROM focus
* Lack of understanding of expected findings related to specific pathology findings
Step 7. Use the previous information and write the distracters
~ Acute injuries can be manipulated if pain scale is under 4
~ Injury can be worked within 24 hours even with inflammation and spasms present
Step 8. Complete the item using the stem, key, and distracters
The Massage Therapist must be mindful of the client and the client’s pain tolerance. Ask more history questions to have a better understanding of the injury stage.
1. ROM helps to find out the muscles involved in the primary area and the compensating or pain posture offenders (Key).
2. Ask questions to see if the spasms are protecting the injury to determine if the client needs to see a doctor or if you are able to relieve the spasms.
3. Obtain information about what the client is wanting to achieve from this massage and give realistic information about your abilities, what you can and cant do, and why.
4. Create a treatment plan for the massage and give useful homework to obtain more relief.
In this example you can see that the question is asked at the Evaluation level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. That is the highest form of question. It requires you to know information about each answer option, and then weigh each answer against the other to determine techniques and application.
In this sample question you can see that a client can still obtain a massage if acute injury protocol is followed. The right information must first be obtained within the assessment in order to apply helpful techniques. The MBLEx likes to make sure the client’s safety comes first. It requires you to really think about each option and only use the information presented in the question and answers.
Massage-Exam.com would encourage every person to read all the available information on the MBLEx website. They detail for you how their tests are constructed and administered. Knowing this information helps you better prepare and be more confident in your ability to test.
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* Don't forget to breathe!
MBLEx State Info Table