MBLEx Test Prep: Your Guide to Practice Tests
Are you ready to become a professional massage therapist? Massage can be a demanding occupation. But, the physical demands it places on you as a practitioner are usually far outweighed by how satisfying and rewarding it can be. You get to work with clients from all walks of life, formulating customized treatment plans designed to address their own unique set of issues. When a client looks and you and thanks you for relieving their pain and stress, it’s hard to imagine a better profession.
Before you can dive into the world of massage, you’ll need to obtain your license to practice. In most states, attending an accredited massage program is the first step on the road to licensure. If you’ve finished school, though, the vast majority of states will require you to do one last thing: take and pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). It doesn’t matter how well you did in school: you’ll need to pass the MBLEx before you can get your license.
Do you feel prepared to take the MBLEx? Even if you scored high on the various tests that were administered as part of your massage education program, the MBLEx is a different sort of exam. It’s a standardized test, and it’s meant to assess every aspect of your preparedness for performing therapeutic massage.
If you’re not a big fan of standardized tests, you’re not alone. Many people find standardized tests to be quite challenging, especially when compared to other forms of testing. For a lot of people, even the term “standardized test” alone is enough to bring back stressful memories of studying for and taking the SAT (or any number of other standardized tests).
Fortunately, though, passing the MBLEx is far from impossible. In fact, with the right kind of MBLEx test prep, scoring high on the MBLEx is totally realistic. Preparing for the exam ultimately comes down to ensuring that you take the right approach to test prep. You might be asking yourself, though: how exactly should I study for the test? What’s the best way to prepare myself?
There are all sorts of ways to go about studying for a test, and you probably used some combination of them while in school for massage. You can review notes from classes; go back through the textbook; use memory-aid techniques; put together flashcards; or any number of other study techniques. That said, though, the best way to approach MBLEx test prep is simple: practice tests. When it comes to studying for a standardized test like the MBLEx, nothing beats practice tests.
What should you look for in a practice test, though? Are all practice tests created equal? Couldn’t you just follow other study approaches instead? If you’re like to prep for the MBLEx, where can you find top quality practice tests that will give you the best return on your investment of time?
This blog post will address all of these questions and more. Let’s dive in.
Preparing for the MBLEx
Before we dive in to the topic of practice tests and other study approaches, let’s take a minute to talk about what the MBLEx is and how it’s structured.
The MBLEx exam is comprised of 100 questions. These questions are divided up according to topic into 8 individual sections. Each of these questions is multiple choice and presented to you (the test taker) on a computer screen. It’s not possible to skip a question and come back to it later, unlike in some standardized tests. Instead, you have to deal with each question as it’s presented to you. There’s also a time in the corner of your screen, counting down from the two-hour mark.
Does this sound like any of the tests you took while in massage school? Probably not. Your massage school exams likely included a mixture of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. You may have even taken a few practical exams where you had to demonstrate various techniques. The MBLEx is different and understanding that is important. Reviewing the information that’s covered on the MBLEx is important, but simply studying alone isn’t enough to adequately prepare you for the exam. You have to practice actually taking the test itself in order to do well. That’s where practice tests come in.
That said, practice tests aren’t the only study option, right? Let’s take a moment to review some alternatives to practice tests.
Study Aids for the MBLEx
At Bamboo™, we firmly believe that practice tests are the best way to prepare for a standardized test like the MBLEx — and the data agrees with us. But, before we go into what you should look for in a practice test, let’s take a moment to look at some other approaches to studying for the exam.
No matter what the subject, an incredibly common way to review for a test is to simply go back and reread your notes (plus any relevant material from your textbook). This is probably the most straightforward way to study for an exam, and it’s something that many of us have done since we were young.
Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work all that well for a standardized test like the MBLEx. Remember, the MBLEx follows a fixed format and contained a predetermined range of content. If you simply go back through notes and textbooks from your time in massage school, you may end up reviewing content that’s not even included on the MBLEx.
On top of this, simply going back over material isn’t the same thing as going through the motions of taking a multiple-choice test. The fact that you’ve looked over the material doesn’t mean you’ll be able to recall it when you need to and in the context that it appears on the exam.
Have you ever used flashcards to study for a test? Under the right conditions, they can be pretty effective. To create a deck of flashcards, you start with a blank stack of notecards. On one side, you write a prompt or question of some kind. On the other, you right the answer or associated information. You then make your way through the stack, seeing if you can remember what’s on the other side of each card using the prompt (without flipping the card over).
While flashcards have their place when it comes to test prep, they’re simply not as effective as practice tests. Why spend the time necessary to make the cards and go the trouble of reviewing material away from a computer, when you could test yourself with practice questions similar to those that’ll appear on the test — and in a format identical to the real exam? Flashcards are closer to a testing format than simply reviewing your notes, but they’re still inferior to practice tests.
Rather than simply reviewing material, you might consider trying to commit it to memory with any one of a variety of memory techniques. Some people use the Sherlock-popularized “memory palace” technique (yes, it’s a real thing), while others opt for a simple mnemonic device. Either way, memory techniques can be helpful for memorizing massive amounts of information.
However, memory techniques aren’t necessarily all that helpful when taking a standardized exam. Taking the time to actually use a memory technique during a timed test can be problematic, and the content you’ve committed to memory might not translate well to the multiple-choice format of the MBLEx.
So, we’ve convinced you that practice tests are the way to go. With that in mind, though, it’s still worth reviewing the content that’s going to be covered on the MBLEx. Going back to review certain material might make sense for you, particularly if some of the items on this list are a little fuzzy for you (or if you had a lot of trouble with them while in school).
As we mentioned above, the MBLEx is divided up into 8 sections. Each section covers a number of subtopics. The main sections and subtopics covered on the MBLEx include the following.
Professional practice guidelines
- Massage therapy hygiene
- Self-care for massage therapists
- Body mechanics, equipment, preventing injury
- Safety in the workplace
- Facility safety, client safety, personal safety
- How to use and sanitize equipment
- Draping in massage therapy
- Business practices
- Business planning, managing an office, how to hire employees, marketing techniques, keeping records, and documentation
- Health care terms and business
- Range of motion
- Resistant, active, passive
- Joint structure and function
- Muscle contraction
- Component and characteristics of muscles
- Locations, attachments, actions, and fiber directions of muscles
Anatomy and Physiology
- Structure and function of body systems
- Includes each system of the human body: special senses; urinary; skeletal; respiratory; reproductive; nervous; muscular; lymphatic; integumentary; endocrine; circulatory; digestive
- Energetic anatomy
- Injury and repair of tissue
Areas of caution, contraindications, pathology, special populations
- Tools, special applications, site-specific contraindications, pathology-related contraindications
- Overview of pathology
- Classes of medications
- Special populations
- Areas of caution
Assessment, reassessment, and treatment planning for clients
- Clinical reasoning
- Contraindications, setting goals, evaluating client treatment response, creating treatment strategies
- Visual assessment of clients
- Collecting data
- Client range of motion
- Evaluation and consultation with client
- Verbal intake, health history
- How to organize a massage session
Soft tissue techniques and benefits
- Soft tissue techniques
- Types of techniques and order of application
- Soft tissue massage benefits
- Heat and cold application
- Psychological benefits of touch
- Physiological impact of soft tissue techniques
Laws, regulations, ethics, boundaries
- Ethical behavior
- Sexual misconduct
- Professional boundaries
- Regulations and laws related to massage
- Code of ethics violations
- Dual relationships
- Therapeutic relationships
- Massage therapy scope of practice
- Professional communication
- Ethical principles
- Client confidentiality
Massage therapy history and culture
- Current modalities
- Contemporary massage technique
- History of the discipline
Where to Find the Best MBLEx Practice Tests
At this point, you’ve got a good sense of the breadth and depth of what’s covered on the MBLEx. It’s a lot of information! And, you know that practice tests are the way to go when it comes to MBLEx test prep. With all that in mind, the question is: where should you look for the best MBLEx practice tests available online?
What Makes Bamboo the Best
There are a lot of things you need to look for when choosing an MBLEx practice test provider. There are plenty of options online, but the vast majority of them fall short when it comes to preparing you for the real thing. Here’s what makes Bamboo the right choice.
Tons of practice test questions
Practice tests do more to prepare you for the MBLEx than any other approach to studying. But, not all practice tests are created equal. In fact, a number of online practice test providers offer a very limited number of potential questions. You could work your way through all of the practice questions in a relatively short period of time, leaving you with nothing else to study. Bamboo is aware of how important it is to have access to as many questions as possible. That’s why our practice tests are comprised of over 5,100 unique questions.
No limits on testing
Imagine paying for a practice testing service and then being limited on how many tests you’re allowed to take. Sound silly? We agree! But a lot of practice testing companies do exactly that. Not Bamboo, though. With us, you can take as many practice exams as you like!
Before you get started with taking practice tests, it can be helpful to briefly review the content covered on the MBLEx. That’s why Bamboo has put together engaging, informative, animated review courses to help you go over the most important parts of the material.
Custom test questions
At Bamboo, we recognize that no two students are alike. Depending on your prior education, professional experience, and more, you may need to focus on particular aspects of the MBLEx more than others. If every student were presented with the exact same set of practice test questions, that would do a disservice to the needs of each individual learner. While this is what a lot of companies do, Bamboo is different. Practice test questions are adapted as you go based on your prior performance. That means more time spent with questions that you have trouble with, and less time wasted reviewing material that you’ve already mastered.
Practice tests are only helpful if you spend enough time taking them. We recognize that not everyone has the time to sit in front of a desktop computer for long stretches, and that’s why we’ve made all of our MBLEx test prep mobile compatible.
Want to learn more about Bamboo’s practice test options? Click here to get started.