Study Guide for Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy Study Guide & Review Book for Massage Therapy and Bodywork for NCBTMB and MBLEx examsAbout the BookAbout the AuthorsTable of ContentsPreparing for the ExamSample QuestionsPurchase a Book
Preparing for the Exam 

Recently, the National Certification Board created two different examinations for licensing massage professionals:  the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM).  The NCETM covers only the basic approach for Western massage techniques while the NCETMB covers the basic approaches for both Western and Eastern massage and bodywork techniques.  

No matter which exam you wish to take, the Review for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Study Guide will help you be fully prepared.  If you do choose to take the NCETM exam, just don't study Chapters 20 or 21.  The content of those chapters won't be on your test.

Both examinations contain 160 multiple choice test questions.  Each test question has only 4 multiple choice answers.  Of those 160 questions, 30 questions are "pre-test questions" (questions that are being evaluated for their validity or accuracy).  You will not know which questions are the "pre-test questions" but these questions will not be counted in your score.  You will have two hours and 40 minutes to complete your exam.  Grades are made available immediately after completing your exam but your Certificate may not be received for another 4-6 weeks. 

We recommend each person preparing to take an examination obtain a copy of the National Certification Examination Candidate Handbook published by the NCBTMB to receive more detailed information about both the NCETMB and the NCETM examinations. 

Need a FREE copy of the Candidate Handbook? 
You can get one by following this link.   CLICK to Download (in .pdf format)

TIPS for Taking the Test

  • Start preparing the night before.  Eat a good, healthy dinner the night before the exam.  Set out what you need to take to the testing center the next day including any forms, picture ID, etc., so you aren't rushing at the last minute or forget something. 
  • Exercise the day before.  Give your body a workout so you can relax the next day.
  • When possible, take the test in the morning.  Your mind will be more rested and less distracted.
  • Get a good nights sleep the night before exam.  Cramming before this test won't help your score much...but a good night sleep and clear mind sure might.
  • Wear your favorite outfit the day of the test.  Hey, looking good makes you feel more comfortable.  What can I say? :)
  • Once you are in the testing situation, pace yourself.  You have 2 hours and 40 to take the test.  Don't rush things too quickly.  (Hopefully you have taken a practice test or 2 already and know how long it usually takes you to complete the entire test.)
  • Read each question completely before answering.  Make sure you are answering the right question by understanding what they are asking.
  • If you come to a word you don't recognize, see if you can break it down into components.  For example the word "osteoma" is really "osteo-" meaning bone, + "-oma" refering to a tumor.  If you recognize those two components, you can figure out that the word "osteoma" refers to a bone tumor.  Need help going through those terms?  Brush up on Chapter 19: Medical Terminology.
  • Don't leave any answers blank.  Make sure you answer every question.
  • If you are unsure of your answer, stick with your first response.  It's usually your best guess.

More questions?