What is the Best MBLEx Study Guide?

Woman sitting at the computer preparing for the MBLEx

Are you interested in taking the MBLEx exam and becoming a massage therapist? The MBLEx Exam is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. You will have two hours to complete a 100 question multi-chose exam on a computer. Not completing the MBLEx exam within the allotted time is an automatic failure. All applicants that apply to take the MBLEx exam must have completed an accredited massage therapy program.

What is an Accredited Massage Therapy Program?

Completing a massage therapy program offered at a vocational school will not only earn you a diploma and prepare you for the MBLEx exam but you will get well needed experience completing lab work and participating in a student run spa. This program is mandatory to becoming a massage therapy but can be completed in as little as 13 months, attending part-time.

During this program you will learn the many different massage techniques as well as the science behind massage. From anatomy and physiology to kinesiology and pathology, you will learn about the structures of the body and how they function. You will learn the business practices behind how to manage a massage business or become a manager in a franchise spa. Most importantly, you will receive a large portion of experience in a student run spa. So, once you finish the massage therapy program at a vocational school, how do you study for the MBLEx exam?

How Do I Study for the MBLEx Exam?

The best way to study for the MBLEx exam is to first take notes and ask many questions during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. These programs are taught, “to the test.” They prepare you for all the knowledge you will need to take the MBLEx exam. These programs will also have you perform the skills and massage techniques you learned on real people. Knowing how to do something is one thing but actually performing the massage techniques and doing the assessments will cement the knowledge and skills in your mind so you can become a successful massage therapist. What are some other ways to study for the MBLEx exam?

Give Yourself Enough Time to Study

Take the time to prepare for the MBLEx exam. Complete your massage therapy program and learn as much as you can, while asking questions of instructors along the way. Also, give yourself enough time to study. Cramming the night before an exam is not the best use of your time. Guide yourself through the process and study with friends that are also looking to become massage therapists. Study early and often.

Create a Study Group

The best part about taking a massage therapy program is that you will meet like-minded classmates that are also preparing for the MBLEx exam. You can create a study group that will help guide you and your fellow classmates through the exam topics, testing each other in the process. You will hold each other responsible for preparing for the exam. It is always easier to study with a buddy, knowing that they are also making the sacrifice.

Create a Mnemonic Device

A great way to study for the MBLEx exam is to create easy-to-recite acronyms out of the information that you will need to remember for the exam. Mnemonic devices are an easy way to remember a large amount of information.

FSMTB Online Study Guide

The association that administers the MBLEX exam offers an outline that talks about all the topics that you will be tested on during this exam. Below, you will learn about all the topics and the content that each topic covers. This will help you study for the MBLEx exam.

What is on the MBLEx Exam?

The FSMTB offers a study guide of the MBLEx exam so you can prepare for the content you will be tested on. From anatomy and physiology to the benefits and physiological effects of massage, you will be tested on everything you learned and practiced in the accredited massage therapy program.

Anatomy & Physiology

This section of the exam covers the body systems structures and functions. These systems include the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproduction, respiratory, skeletal, special senses and urinary systems. This section also covers tissue injury and repair, and the concepts of energetic anatomy.


Studying for this section of the exam will help you understand components and characteristics of muscles, muscle contractions, proprioceptors, and the locations, attachments, actions and fiber directions of muscles. Further, this section tests you on joint structure and function and the three types of range of motion: active, passive and resistant.

Pathology, Contraindicators, Areas of Caution and Special Population

It is important to study an overview pathology, contraindicators, areas of caution and special populations as they have to do with massage therapy. This exam will test you on the elements of contraindicators including site specific, the pathologies related, special population contraindicators, tools and special applications. Finally, this section will test you on the different classes of medications.

Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue

There are many benefits and physiological effects to massage. The MBLEx exam will test you on your ability to identify the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation, the psychological aspects and benefits of touch, the benefits of soft tissue manipulation for specific client populations, soft tissue techniques including the types of strokes and sequence of application, hot and cold application and an overview of the massage techniques.

Client Assessment, Reassessment & Treatment Planning

During a massage therapy program, you will learn how to assess clients and create a treatment plan to achieve the client’s massage goals. For the exam, you will need to study about the organization of a massage session, client consultation and evaluation including verbal intake and health history forms, and written data collection. You will be tested on your ability to assess a client visually as well as an assessment of palpation and range of motion. You will also need to study about your clinical reasoning for a treatment plan that focuses on your ability to rule out contraindications, achieve client treatment goals, evaluate the progress of the treatment and formulate a treatment strategy.

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations

Ethics, boundaries, laws and regulations are important to adhere to and you will be tested on these subjects during the MBLEx exam. You should study about ethical behavior, professional boundaries, code of ethics violations, the therapeutic relationship, sexual misconduct, massage related laws and regulations, your scope of practice, how to communicate professionally, and proper confidentiality and principles.

Guidelines for Professional Practice

The final section of the MBLEx exam that you will need to study for includes the proper and safe use of equipment and massage supplies, proper hygiene, adhering to proper sanitation and cleanliness standards and practicing massage safely for both you and your clients. You will also need to study body mechanics, protective gear, self-care, injury prevention and other care practices. This section includes proper draping techniques. Draping is important for you to learn for the client’s safety. This section will also test you on business practices including writing a business plan, office management, marketing, hiring, interviewing, and proper documentation of records. Finally, this section of the exam will test your knowledge of healthcare and business terminology.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know you want to become a massage therapist and need to take the MBLEx exam, it is time to study. Of course, the first step you will need to take is completing a massage therapy program. Instructors will guide you through the program offering plenty of practice on real clients. Many vocational schools will have a student run spa so that you can practice your massage skills. If you take the time to review study guides and come together with classmates, you can build your confidence and knowledge base to sit for the MBLEx exam.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 13 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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