RBT Exam Study Guide: How To Pass

This RBT exam study guide should help you prepare for (and pass) the RBT exam.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
November 11th, 2022
min read

What Is The RBT Exam?

Understanding the RBT exams requires familiarization with the profession that it's made for. As important medical professionals, Registered Behavior Technicians have proficiency in ABA therapy.

They're dedicated to what they do and the countless people they help daily are proof of this. Abbreviated as RBTs for short, they're overseen by the Board of Certified Behavior Analysts, or BCBAs for short.

Playing a supervisory role for RBTs, BCBAs are tasked with getting reports on, reviewing, and assessing their work. However, rarely will a client interact with the BCBA. Instead, the patients are treated by RBTs.

ABA therapy is primarily used for the treatment of conditions like autism and those directly related to it.

It seeks to find understanding in unwanted behaviors and to teach clients aware of them.

In this process of doing this, patients can learn behavior that is suitable for themselves and the people around them.

ABA therapy is proven to heighten the client's ability to learn multiple skills, including socializing, gross motor skills, and the ability to talk to people normally and without poor reactions.

These are issues that many with autism have problems learning among themselves, especially without help or therapy. This is why the RBT exam is important for both patients that need ABA therapy and the analysts that take part in it.

RBTs work with all manner of people, some of which could be in situations that make them susceptible to hurting themselves or others around them.

They must have the proper training to work with and administer plans that are put out by their superiors. It's one reason why the bar for therapists is constantly being set higher, where requirements are raised to ensure that people new to the profession are up to speed with other seasoned analysts.

As of right now, a single BCBA looks over the work of several therapists. Here are the primary requirements needed to be an RBT:

  • Prospective therapists must be at least 18 or older. With this in mind, it's highly recommended that students think of starting a career in ABA therapy as much as they can during high school.
  • A general background check is required. This can include a soft inquiry into one's credit history. It's no different from a background check done by health professionals in similar fields, or that of teachers at public and private schools.
  • A 40-hour training course. During the course, applicants must turn in documents that pertain to their certification. Once the certification is evaluated a notification is sent on whether or not applicants can move forward with the RBT exam.
  • A test on the competency of the applicant

Once these steps are completed, the exam must be passed. Once the exam is passed, an applicant can begin searching for jobs in the RBT field. Yet the need for further certification doesn't end.

Many therapists continue with certifications for the entirety of their careers. To stay updated with the certifications needed for an RBT, the position must be supervised by a BCBA.

Strict codes of ethics must be followed as per what's required by the certification board. Additionally, certifications are required to be updated every year.

More About RBT Certification

The RBT certification is accepted widely by BCBAs throughout the country. It shows companies that run clinics, and the parents with their children in them, that the therapist can professionally administer ABA therapy to clients under the supervision of their superiors.

The majority of preparation for the RBT exam is done in the initial 40-hour long course.

It's here that the fundamentals of the job are introduced and learned, though applications should already have familiarization with most of the subjects.

Once the date comes close to the exam, information about the course should be studied, as should practice questions. It's recommended that study material be created and completed at one's initiative, such as using cards.

Assistance with a friend or someone else that's taking the course is strongly advised. Everything in the task list should be understood. If this is adhered to, the applicant has a good chance of passing the exam on the first try.

How To Prepare For The RBT Exam

Below are some additional recommendations to help applicants prepare for the RBT exam:

  • Make time for study - Testers should set up study time for themselves before going in for the test.
  • Get rid of distractions - There shouldn't be any distractions during the study. Music is fine, though in moderation. If music before is too distracting, turning it off is recommended.
  • Study relevant information - the RBT task list is a crucial part of passing the RBT exam. Therefore, applicants should be thoroughly knowledgeable about each part of the list.
  • Learn to retain necessary information - Things like flashcards, mini-quizzes, and an individual practice test can help in difficult areas.
  • Stay motivated - Having a vision or clear picture of the immediate benefits of passing the exam should stay in the minds of applicants to keep them motivated.
  • Rest easy - Studying and an essential part of preparing for an exam, but so is adequate bed rest. Without proper sleep, applicants may come into the exam feeling fatigued and unable to focus on questions they wouldn't have had any issues answering.

Can You Retake The RBT Exam?

Yes, you can retake the RBT exam as many times as you like, however, you are limited to eight attempts within each one-year authorization period you are granted.

If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you're allowed to retake it. Around 50% of candidates who decide to retake the exam pass on their next attempt, so make sure you study hard for the retake exam.

If you do not pass the exam after eight tries but there is still time left on your 12-month authorization period, you're required to wait until the year is complete and then reapply for certification.

How To Retake the RBT Exam

The RBT exam retake procedures are as follows:

  1. Within 48 hours of failing the exam, you'll find an Examination Retake Application available in your online BACB account.
  2. Once you've submitted the Examination Retake Application online, you will receive a new examination authorization within 48 hours.
  3. You're required to wait at least seven days between exam attempts.

What The Exam Measures

The RBT exam is overseen by the testing company that hosts different websites where the exam is featured. Students can take the exam with confidence in knowing that their information is secured and won't be sold to third parties.

Since the test is done on a computer over the web, the format is typical of other academic tests done using the same manner. The RBT test will reveal competency in ABA through a task list. It totals six lists developed by the BACB:

  • Measurement - Analysts are required to gather data from sessions done, work on various graphs and data sets, and give assessments on different behaviors exhibited by people with autism.
  • Assessment - An assessment of preference is done with the backing of applications that change from person to person.
  • Skill acquisition - ABA technicians are also required to pinpoint the fundamentals of acquisition plans and steps as they pertain to what the clients need.
  • Behavior reduction - A thorough description of the different functions regarding the behavior of patients and how interventions are prepared.
  • Reporting and documentation - Applicants should be able to talk with their superiors and find medical suggestions quickly. At the same time, a complete understanding of the law and guidelines on conducting therapy sessions is tested.
  • Scope and practice and conduct - All RBTs are mandated to build good relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and clients. When feedback is given, they should make a quick effort to respond.

On the exam, there are over 80 multiple-choice questions, with over 70 making up the final score of the tester. Some of the questions do not affect the total score. Testers are given one hour and 30 minutes to complete the exam.

What To Expect On Exam Day

When it comes time for future therapists to take the exam, they should arise as early as possible. 30 minutes prior is the recommended time.

The tester should have identification, two forms at the very least. This guarantees that the steps needed to sign up for the test go by smoothly.

Personal items such as backpacks, books, and mobile phones are not allowed in the testing area. Testers can put them in a locker or relevant storage area.

Food and beverages are also prohibited. Eating should be done before the test begins, to ensure that all focus remains on the exam at hand.

The exam is done on a computer, meaning that each exam has a set of randomized questions, though in identical categories. This reduces the likelihood of cheating by having questions sent to a test bank.

The exam undergoes frequent updates for this reason as well.

Every question on the exam must be read carefully.

However, care should be taken not to linger too long on one single question. Time management is key, ensuring that testers have ample time to answer everything without rushing.

How The RBT Exam Gets Scored

After the test is completed, testers will immediately receive a notification on whether the exam has passed or not. When a passing grade is earned, the certification is sent out via email.

Wait times usually take no less than a week to be sent. And once the email comes through, applications to respective jobs can begin with an RBT.If the exam isn't passed, a request can be administered to retake it.

Since the final quarter of 2020, the BACB allows RBT applicants to retake the exam at least eight times, almost consecutively.

This can be done within one year.

The waiting time between retaking the exam is typically a week, sometimes less. Applicants are not required to apply again for the exam. An email detailing instructions about scheduling is sent, showing the time and place where the exam will be given.

With that is provided data showing the parts of the exam that applicants have the most trouble with, a good way to see where attention should be given on an upcoming test.

The majority of applicants will pass the exam the first time that it's taken. A little over half of the applicants passed the exam on the second try after failing the initial exam.


  1. https://www.test-guide.com/rbt-practice-exam.html
  2. https://rbtexamreview.com/rbt-exam-practice-questions/
  3. https://quizlet.com/134151947/rbt-exam-prep-flash-cards/
steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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