RBT Exam: How To Prepare and Pass

Reviewed by:

May 17, 2022

The RBT exam measures the ability of a Registered Behavior Technician to perform the six primary duties defined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. The RBT exam is administered under Pearson VUE through a computer-based testing format. 

After the exam, candidates will know whether they qualified or not immediately after completion. However, those who did not achieve the required score can retake the exam at a later date.

Who are RBTs?

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are medical professionals practicing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. These trained therapists work under the supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to provide therapy. ABA therapy is intended to teach children positive behaviors while seeking to curb maladaptive ones. This therapy effectively improves areas in which these children often face difficulties, such as motor skills, communication skills, learning skills, and social skills.

How do RBTs work?

RBTs provide therapy, take notes, and report to their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). BCBAs take feedback from these notes to determine whether a child is improving or needs to change the therapy session.

RBTs work directly with vulnerable individuals. That is why it is crucial for them to receive training before implementing their supervisor’s care plans. However, organizations have witnessed a shortage of ABA therapists in recent times.

To become an RBT, an individual must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Obtain a high school diploma
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete the 40-hour training program
  • Complete the competency assessment
  • Pass the board certification examination

An individual that does not meet the minimum qualifications cannot appear for the exam. It is mandatory to attend the 40-hour training program to learn ethics and other specific job requirements.

What does an RBT exam include?

An RBT exam consist of six primary tasks that candidates must master:

  • Measurement - Describing the environment and behaviors in measurable terms, collecting data and graphs throughout the sessions to adapt care plans
  • Assessment - Conducting assessments and assisting in behavioral procedures
  • Skill acquisition- Identifying what constitutes a skill acquisition plan while implementing teaching procedures intended for maximum child growth.
  • Behavior reduction - Determining interventions based on the significant functions of behavior
  • Documentation and reporting - Connecting with supervisors and seeking therapeutic direction while complying with all guidelines
  • Professional conduct - Maintaining strong professionalism while communicating with the caretakers and responding to feedback

The RBT exam is a computer-based test that includes 85 multiple-choice questions. These categorized questions are equally weighted to check one’s eligibility to be an RBT. Examinees are allowed 90 minutes to complete the exam.

The questions are broken down into these divisions to cover the aforementioned material: 

  • Ten unscored pilot questions to improvise scores in future exams.
  • Ten questions on measurement.
  • Eight questions on the assessment.
  • Twenty-four questions on skill acquisition.
  • Twelve questions on behavior reduction.
  • Ten questions on reporting and documentation.
  • Eleven questions on the scope of practice and professional conduct.

What are the rules when attending the RBT exam?

On the day of the RBT exam, the examinee must arrive 30 minutes early while carrying two valid forms of identification.

Candidates are not allowed to take personal items, food, or beverages into the exam room unless they have a specific form of accommodation with approval from the test administrator. Proctors will provide a storage area or a locker for storing all belongings.

It is important to read the questions carefully when taking the RBT exam. Taking time to understand the question before attempting to answer it and using time-management skills to allocate appropriate time for each question will ensure the best opportunity for success. 

What happens after an examinee attempts the RBT Exam?

An examinee gets notified whether they have passed or not on the same day. If successful, they will receive the certification within a week and can then apply for RBT jobs.

If unsuccessful on the first attempt, applicants can retake the test because the BCBA allows applicants to attend RBT exams up to eight times a year. There must be a period of a full week between examination attempts. 

Fortunately, a re-applicant need not apply again. They will receive an email providing instructions for how to schedule their next exam along with feedback on their performance and opportunity areas. This vital information can help prepare for their next attempt.

An examinee can file an appeal with the BCBA if they discover any discrepancies or exam irregularities.

How to prepare for an RBT exam

Organizations including Pearson VUE do not promote any study material for the RBT exam. Rather, this exam involves understanding the RBT task list. Preparing for this list will improve performance while using study techniques that are suited for the individual.

Here are some pro tips to prepare for an RBT exam:

  • Set some time on your calendar so that you get time to prepare yourself.
  • Ensure a distraction-free environment around you.
  • Collect materials such as the RBT task list to help with preparation.
  • Try taking a practice test or having a flashcard session ahead of the exam.
  • Eat healthy foods and get enough sleep to promote health.
  • Focus on the difficult areas, but make sure to review all information.
  • Ask someone to help review the content.

What is the importance of RBT certification?

RBT certification indicates that an individual should be able to provide ABA therapy under the guidance of a supervisor or coordinator. As this certification plays a significant role in providing ABA therapy, examinees acquire much of the required skills during their 40-hour training course. This is where they learn all the information necessary to succeed on the exam.

Conclusion

RBT exam helps individuals qualify to become Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) who can assist in ABA therapy. They must undertake the 40-hour training course and review the RBT task list before qualifying for the exam. They can prepare for the course material by creating study guides, practice questions, and flashcards ahead of the exam date. Checking the RBT task list and ensuring full  understanding of each concept is beneficial. Proper preparation will ensure success – once certification is granted, newly certified therapists may apply for jobs immediately.

If you are an RBT looking to help provide children’s autism care, contact Songbird to learn how you can join the team.

Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them.

Get started with care from Songbird — covered by insurance