Hi again! I want to share something I’m very proud of: this summer, I successfully passed the CBMT exam and officially became a board-certified music therapist!
For those of you who are not familiar with the exam, it’s a three-hour test consisting of 150 multiple choice questions. 130 of those are scored, and you must get 95 or more correct to pass. Upon passing, you are able to use the MT-BC title, standing for Music Therapist Board-Certified. It can be very stressful!
For this blog post, I’m sharing some of the unique study tips that really helped me conquer this exam.
Confession: I’ve always had bad test anxiety. Tests have always scared me and this test was absolutely no exception. Since so much was depending on me passing this, I knew I needed to conquer this test anxiety and develop some unique study habits.
- The first and most impactful thing I did was see a counselor in my area who specializes in test anxiety. She really changed my mindset going into the exam and even though I only had two visits, I really owe so much of my success to her!
- Next, I broke down all the info I wanted to brush up on down into flash cards. I meticulously color coded these, using colored flash cards and coordinating colored pens. I gathered the information from the New Music Therapist’s Handbook by Susan Hanser as well as several websites and journal articles, depending on what I needed to study. This all seems like pretty common study stuff, but wait…
- I recorded myself repeating the flash cards and ‘teaching’ myself this information. I did about one recording a day, and listened to them whenever I could- on my commute, when out for a walk, while cooking dinner, anytime I had some free time.
- Then, I transcribed these recordings into a notebook. Hearing myself and writing it down incorporated different learning styles and helped me to solidify this information.
- Almost every night, I called my mom and ‘taught’ her what I had reviewed that day. Since she isn’t a music therapist this was all new information for her, and she asked questions that helped me solidify the information even better.
- I made sure that I stopped making new flash cards about a week and a half before the exam. For the rest of the time I focused on listening to recordings, transcribing, and really getting that information down in my brain.
If you are taking the CBMT exam soon, I hope some of these study tips can help you. If you aren’t taking it soon, I hope these tips can at least help you for other exams in your life, no matter how big because these strategies can be applied to so many other subjects and situations.
To all MT students and interns: I wish you nothing but the best of luck! This exam is absolutely passable, so please don’t get discouraged. You know this information- it’s just a matter of refreshing it.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any comments, concerns, or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Molly Robitaille, MT-BC
Thank you for these strategies. Aside from understanding the material, what strategies might you have to understand the way the language is used to ask the questions. An actual test is harder than the practice one from the Association. I was Grandfathered in, then because of $, my CEU Units lapsed. I have taken it several times without being able to pass. Sometimes missing a passing grade by just 1 or 3 points. Any advice would help. Thank you