Registered behavior technician (RBT) certification requires a passing score on the RBT exam. You can retake the exam as many times as you like, though you are limited to eight attempts within each one-year authorization period you are granted.

Passing the RBT Exam

In order to become an RBT, you must pass the RBT exam created by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The test is meant to ensure that you have the necessary skills required to provide applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy upon passing the exam.

The majority of candidates who qualify to take the RBT exam pass on their first try. Historical RBT examination results provided by the BACB show that 84% to 88% of candidates taking the exam between 2016 and 2020 passed on their first try.

If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you still have options.

Can You Retake the Exam?

Since all BACB exams are offered via computer-based testing (CBT), you are notified of your test results as soon as you complete the exam. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you are able to retake it. Of the candidates who decide to retake the exam, roughly 50% of them pass on their next attempt.

You can retake the exam as many times as you need to in order to pass it. You are only permitted eight attempts, however, within the one-year period that you are authorized to take the exam. If you do not pass the exam after eight tries but there is still time left on your 12-month authorization period, you must wait until the year is up and then reapply for certification.

The RBT exam retake procedures are as follows:

  • Within 48 hours of failing the exam, an Examination Retake Application will be available in your online BACB account.
  • Once submitting the Examination Retake Application online, you will receive a new examination authorization within 48 hours.
  • You must wait at least one week between exam attempts.

Currently, you do not need to pay an additional fee to retake the exam. If your 12-month exam authorization period expires before you pass the exam, you will need to pay to reapply altogether for RBT certification.

How to Better Prepare for the RBT Exam

To be fully prepared for the RBT exam, you must have a solid understanding of all items listed on the RBT Task List (2nd edition). The task list is provided by the BACB as a basis for RBT training and the exam. In order to prepare for the exam, the BACB recommends studying both the RBT Task List and all materials provided during your required 40-hour training.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your studying:

  • Start studying early.
  • Revise notes from your course so you can easily study from them.
  • Organize your time and schedule exactly when you will study.
  • Take breaks while studying to avoid fatigue.
  • Rewrite course notes in your own words to enhance understanding and memorization.
  • Give yourself practice questions to test your own knowledge.
  • Clarify terms you don’t know before studying general concepts in which they are included.
  • Attack one chunk of information at a time rather than trying to study everything at once.
  • Set study goals for how much you will accomplish in each study session, as well as how often you will study.
  • Form a study group.
  • Review past exams, papers, and practice tests.

In addition to the above study skills, it is important to know what type of learner you are, such as visual, auditory, or interactive. Play to your learning style by creating diagrams and pictures if you respond best to visuals or by listening to audio recordings if you are an auditory learner.

If you are not sure which type of learner you are, try out a variety of learning styles to see what works best. Often, a combination of learning approaches is the most effective.

RBT Exam Prep Resources

Beyond the materials gained through your RBT training course, there are many resources available online to help you prepare for the exam. Many sites offer free practice quizzes, flashcards, video tutorials, and glossaries to help you master the RBT Task List.

Here is a selection of helpful RBT exam prep resources:

There is a large variety of both free and for-purchase study materials available online for the RBT exam. Exploring what types of resources are available and what fits your study needs will help you ace the RBT exam.

Testing Resources Provided Through Pearson Vue

In addition to gaining a better understanding of the content on the RBT exam, familiarizing yourself with the CBT format of the exam will help you feel more prepared. Pearson Vue, the company responsible for administering all BACB tests worldwide, provides an overview of all BACB certification testing procedures as well as a CBT demonstration video.

Studying the material provided by Pearson Vue will increase your confidence going into testing day and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises. Helpful information covered by Pearson Vue includes:

  • What to expect with online proctored testing.
  • Available test centers.
  • Information on completing the certification application.
  • A computer-based testing demo.

In response to COVID-19, remote testing became available in April 2020. Security concerns of such testing have led to restricted testing availability in some areas, so it is best to frequently consult the Pearson Vue website to make sure you are fully prepared for whichever test version is available to you.

Becoming an RBT

Becoming certified as an RBT is the first step in what is bound to be a long and rewarding career in the field of behavior analysis. You can start working as a non-registered behavior technician prior to passing the RBT exam, but passing the exam is the only way to become an RBT.

Passing the RBT exam can feel daunting, but with the right amount of studying and by taking advantage of exam prep resources, you will be on your way to becoming a RBT in no time.

References

BACB Certification Testing. (February 2021). Pearson Vue.

Examination Information. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

RBT: Registered Behavior Technician Handbook. (November 2020). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

RBT Task List (2nd edition). (December 2018). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Tips on Studying for Exams. (October 2019). UNSW Sydney.