The massage board exam (FSMTB MBLEx), is designed to ascertain expertise in massage therapy. It is broken into 8 categories: client assessment and treatment; benefits and affects of techniques; pathologies, contraindications and cautions; history of massage; laws, ethics, boundaries and regulations; professional practice; kinesiology; and anatomy and physiology. It is 125 multiple-choice questions and your will have 2.5 hours to take it. On a scale from 300 to 900, you will need to score a 630 to gain board certification.
In terms of content, you will have already learned everything you need in massage school to pass the exam. This does not, of course, mean that you remember it all, which is where additional preparation comes in. A guide to the content of the exam, including the percentage devoted to each section, is available from the FSMTB here. Use this as a baseline, but tailor your focus to your own predispositions. Areas you feel stronger in will require less study, and vice versa.
Start well in advance – in other words, don’t cram. Cramming is not good test preparation. It increases nervous tension and does not establish the material firmly in your long-term memory. Study for an hour a day for 1-2 months in advance of the exam. Find a calm, quiet space, set a timer, and don’t pressure yourself to go beyond the allotted 60 minutes. Use a study guide (there are several available), and work methodically and thoroughly through the material.
In the last week, do a full review of the all of the categories, concentrating on those you’re least sure of. Eat healthy, balanced meals, exercise moderately and get full-nights of sleep. Foods high in B vitamins will help with concentration.
When it comes to the test itself, read each question carefully, make sure you fully understand it, then answer. If you’re not sure of an answer, leave it blank, move on and return to it when you’ve completed all of the questions you know. For these remaining questions, read for categoricals: ie, “always,” “never,” “everything,” “nothing” – these can rule many choices out. And keep in mind that 2 of the 4 choices can usually be ruled out easily. Of the remaining 2, make the choice that seems most correct.
Following these simple practices and techniques will make the board exam less stressful and lead to better results. Good luck and study hard!
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