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Top 5 Strategies to Passing the MBLEX

Are you worried about passing the MBLEX? Many students face fear, test taking anxiety and/or good old fashion jitters when they think about taking the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam.  At the Business of Bodywork, we have helped to prepare hundreds of students to pass the MBLEx.

I’m about to reveal 5 of our proven strategies to passing. Ready, set, go!

1. Have a written study plan

The ABMP has a nice study guide to help you know what to study on what days.

mblex, mblex practice exam, mblex study guide

Create a study plan or use this one. Thanks ABMP!

However, you will need to plan to be studying 5 days a week, 1-3 hours a day. 40 hours of studying is estimated to be needed to pass the test. That’s 8 weeks, 1 hour a day. Have quiet uninterrupted space to study…or find some. Use flash cards. Study terminology-be able to explain key terms in your own words. Study real world situations and associate consistent images with real world concepts.

2. Don’t be scared of the CAT-Computer Adaptive Test

The Computer Adaptive Test tests your knowledge much like a treadmill tests your fitness. For example, let’s imagine our friend Renee needs to pass a fitness test. She will pass if she is able to average a 10:00 minute mile pace. She could run many different speeds to make this happen. Renee could warm up with a walk, then jog at a 12 minute/mile pace, but later she would need to run faster to bring her average back to a lower 10 minute mile pace. Make sense?

Likewise the C.A.T. wants you to average at least a 630 out of 900 to prove your competency. This score is an indicator of your ‘massage fitness’. To warm up the test will give you some simple questions, but those questions are not worth as many points as if you were ‘running faster’ with more difficult questions.

Some students have asked, Do the questions get harder when I answer them right? Yes, because if you can walk, the test wants to know if you can jog. If you can jog, the test wants to figure out if you can run. The MBLEx tests competency thru mixing up the questions, difficult and easy, to determine if you are ‘fit enough’ to practice.

Still not clear or want more details? Watch this 2 min video:

3. Understand your testing center experience

The MBLEx Study Guide outlines many details about the Testing Center experience. Many students study and prepare only to be told they can’t test because they didn’t arrive early or didn’t have the proper ID. Here is a checklist to prepare you for Testing Day:

Do a trial run to the testing center. They don’t care that you got lost or couldn’t find parking. Know where you are going and get there on time.

Leave really early. I mean really early. You must be at the testing center a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the test start time on your registration or they won’t let you start. For real.

Stay awake as you watch this exam security video. According to the FSMTB security is, “hugely, massively, enormously important!” Did ‘the Donald’ write that? Very boring, but good to know the rules explained is this 4 min video re: what you can and can’t do.

Bring 2 forms of ID. This is the most frequent reason candidates are turned away from testing. If you don’t test, you forfeit your exam fee. The 1st ID needs to include a photo and signature. It must be current, not expired and not temporary. The name must match the MBLEx application. The 2nd ID must have a signature, be current, not expired and not temporary. Both names must match the MBLEx application.

Breathe. You will enter a silent room full of computers. Other people are taking other tests. You will not be able to bring anything into the test room: No pen, paper, hat, jacket, phone or purse. The proctor even examined my ring to see if it was a hidden camera. You will be provided a dry erase marker and a dry erase tablet and instructed not to erase anything you write on it. That will be handed in at the end of the test.

Settle in. This is a 100 question test. 120 minutes (2 hours) are given for the test, however 5 minutes to get started and 5 minutes to complete a survey after the test. That means you actually have 110 minutes to do the test.

-During the test, eliminate two wrong answers and take your best guess. You cannot skip a question or go back. Stick with your first answer; its normally right.

Go to the bathroom before you begin. At the end of the test, or at any time during the test, if you need to leave the room you must signal the proctor thru the window from your seat and they will accompany you out of the room.

Visualize a number higher than 630 and lower than 900. Visualize your passing score!

4. Take longer tests

One of the most important secrets to passing the MBLEX is to build your test taking stamina. Find a site that offers you a MBLEX Simulation Exam, and take a weekly 100 question simulation exam. There are lots of sites out there-some free, some for pay: massagetests.com, massage-exam.com, ABMP, AMTA. Print the quizzes and deconstruct the questions you got wrong. Practice multiple choice questions written in the same format as the MBLEx. Then create your own quiz questions. Find a study buddy if you can. By taking longer exams and deconstructing the wrong answers you begin to understand your test taking habits and build your test taking muscle.

It’s true: sometimes exams get frustrating. If you need a rust-buster class on the MBLEX content, go to http://www.jodischoles.com/mblex/ or https://businessofbodywork.digitalchalk.com/dc/guest/login and use coupon code STUDENT50 to take $50 off any course ($24.95) Get 1 free class by emailing jodi@jodischoles.com SUBJECT LINE: free MBLEx Review class. Muah.

5. Congratulate yourself

Small rewards go a long way to build enthusiasm when meeting your study goal every day. It sounds silly, but it works! I look forward to the small rewards (ice cream cone, chocolate, long walk, sleeping in, movie) By stacking up the days, you create momentum and that consistency turns into passing results.

Finally some quick do’s and don’ts

  • Don’t read your school text book or your class notes. That won’t work.study-plans-for-the-test-page-002
  • Don’t underestimate the power of sleep and positive people. Get plenty of both.
  • Don’t be a Lone Ranger. Get outside help. ABMP, AMTA, Business of Bodywork all have exam support.
  • Do stick to your study plan. (weeks 5-8 in this image) If you miss a day, commit to the next day.
  • Do the work: Be confident. Breathe. Use affirmations.
  • Do Pass.


Best of luck!


Jodi Scholes has been a massage therapist for 22 years. She uses her experience to teach and coach. She teaches massage school graduates how to pass the MBLEX with her online review course. She coaches owners of massage centers how to have a drama free clinic.


  1. Hannah says:

    How am I supposed to study 5 days a week 1-3 hours a day when I work all day and go straight to school?? I study every sec I can which is all weekend. Do I not have a chance because I have a job?

  2. April Novoa says:

    Great article. I am going to be reinstating after 7 years out. I have been out of school since 2002 and had a solid practice for many years before I took a break. What would you recommend taking prep wise to pass the MBLEX for an old timer like myself? Thank you.

    • Jodi says:

      LOL ‘Old timer’!? I’d recommend a little refresher course. You’ll probably just need what I call rust buster study sessions. What are you doing right now? Anything? Im happy to give you more guidance if you are interested.

  3. Crystal leilani Anderson says:

    I have already faIled the exam twice. I was a practicing therapist in California , now we love on Oregon and I have to pass to practice again. I have a one year old son and this is very difficult. I am so angry I cannot work to help support my family bc of this test. I worked hard and completed 750 hours in school!! I don’t know what to do. I’ve wasted so much money already and I can’t seem to find a local study group , I have reached out to the local community college . Any suggestions?

    • Jodi says:

      Hi Crystal,
      I can help. In Oregon the Board requires 625 hours/25 quarter credits/15.74 semester credits of education. Im guessing you didn’t take the NCE in California, right? I can help! We have an online community. Tuesday nights 8pm Eastern on Facebook live (massageprofit) and on Zoom.us I’ll shoot you an email too. Let’s get you back to work!

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