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RBT® Exam: What to Expect

Updated: 1 day ago

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If you've landed on this article, you're likely preparing for your RBT final exam. This is the last component required to become certified as a registered behavior technician (RBT) through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). To best prepare for your exam, be sure you have a thorough understanding of what the RBT exam will entail.

Read on to learn more about the RBT exam, including the following

  • What is the format of the RBT exam?

  • What content does the RBT exam cover?

  • How long does the RBT exam last?

  • What score do you need to pass the RBT exam?

  • How do you prepare for the RBT exam?

  • And more!


Haven't taken the RBT 40-Hour Training yet?

How much does the RBT exam cost?

There are two fees associated with taking the RBT exam. The first fee is a $50 application processing fee. When applying for your RBT examination, a $50 fee is due to the BACB. Once you are approved to sit for the RBT exam, another fee is due in order to schedule your examination appointment. A $45 fee is required to schedule your exam, which you will pay to Pearson Vue.

If you are currently employed in the ABA field, ask your employer about exam reimbursement. While not all companies reimburse the costs associated with the exam, many do. It's worth asking!

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What is the format of the RBT exam?

The RBT exam consists of 85 total questions. Each question includes four possible responses. 10 of the questions are not scored as they are pilot questions for future exams. However, there is no indication of which 10 questions are not scored. Therefore, you'll want to dedicate your full attention and effort to each of the 85 questions.

How long does the RBT exam last?

You have a total of 90 minutes to take your exam. This equates to roughly 1 minute per question. As you're preparing for the exam, keep this time requirement in mind. You'll want to not only answer accurately but also quickly. Developing fluency in the terms will help ensure you can complete the exam in the allotted time.

What content does the RBT exam cover?

The RBT exam entails questions related to the 2nd edition RBT task list.

RBT Exam Breakdown

The questions on your RBT exam will include the following distribution of the RBT task list.

Task List Section

Number of Exam Questions

Percentage of Exam

A. Measurement



B. Assessment



C. Skill Acquisition



D. Behavior Reduction



E. Documentation & Reporting



F. Professional Conduct & Scope of Practice



This breakdown includes 75 questions. As previously mentioned, there are 85 total questions, but you won't know which 10 of them are pilot questions.

You will need to have a strong handle on the concepts and how to apply them. Questions may be concept-based or scenario-based. Anything covered under the RBT task list may potentially be on your exam.

Sample exam question

Julie records 7 occurrences of her client banging his head. What type of measurement is this? A. Partial interval recording B. Duration C. Count

D. Permanent product recording

Answer at the bottom of the article!

What score do you need to pass the RBT exam?

Your exam is scored on a scale of 0-250 points. You need a score of 200 to pass the exam. Many people take comfort in knowing exactly how many questions they need to correctly answer to pass the exam (or the reverse-how many questions they can get wrong without failing). Unfortunately, it's not quite a black-and-white answer. Each exam has a specific passing score developed based on the modified Angoff method.

What percentage of test takers pass on their 1st try?

The BACB annual data reports show a decreased trend in first-time pass rates, with significantly fewer RBT exam takers passing on their first try. This indicates people are considerably less prepared for the exam than in previous years--whether due to ineffective training, lack of study efforts, or perhaps a combination of the two. When choosing a 40-hour training program, be sure to pay attention to the program's pass rate.


First-Time Pass Rate











What happens if you fail the exam?

If you don't pass on your first try, don't sweat it. You can retake the exam 7 times in a 12-month period (8 total tries). However, you will have to pay another $45 fee to Pearson Vue for each retake. It should also be noted that the re-take pass rate is significantly lower, with 44% of people passing on subsequent tries.

If you do not pass your exam, you will receive an exam score, including a breakdown of how you scored in each section of the task list. Use this to guide your study efforts in preparing for your test retake. If you pass your exam, you will simply get a passing score. They will not provide you with your exact score.

Is the RBT exam hard?

The difficulty level of the RBT exam is subjective. Many people report it as being relatively easy and straightforward. However, others take several attempts before passing. Based on the decreasing pass rates over the last few years, it is reasonable to assume that there is some level of difficulty involved in this exam. Those who have more experience in the field and those who thoroughly review the task list and study to prepare are more likely to position themselves for passing the first time.

How long should I study for the exam?

Most people spend 1-4 weeks of studying before taking the RBT exam. If you've been in the field for a while or you feel very confident with the content, you can likely spend less time studying than someone who is brand new to the field. With increasing rates of candidates failing the exam, it is clear that many could benefit from dedicating extra time toward preparing. Try not to be in too much of a rush!

Can I take the RBT exam before the 40-hour course?

You must take the 40-hour course and competency assessment before you can take the RBT exam. There is no way to fast-track the process or skip over the course.

How can I prepare for the RBT exam?

There are many ways to study to thoroughly prepare yourself for your exam.

  1. Review the RBT Handbook.

  2. Study your 40-hour training notes.

  3. Use an RBT study guide to thoroughly study each aspect of the task list.

  4. Watch Youtube Videos of BCBAs breaking down the task list.

  5. Improve your fluency in key concepts by using SAFMEDS/Flashcards.

  6. Do mock exams to prepare for the format of exam questions.

Need more study prep tips? Check out RBT Study Prep Tips!

Sample exam question answer: C-Count!

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