EXAMINATION INFORMATION

BACB examinations are offered to individuals seeking BACB certification. Before taking a BACB examination, you must first apply to the BACB and provide the requested documentation showing that you have met all eligibility requirements. After receiving authorization for the examination, you may register and pay for your examination through Pearson VUE testing centers.

BACB examinations are only available at authorized Pearson VUE testing sites worldwide that meet the security requirements necessary for administration of high-stakes examinations (i.e., Pearson Professional Centers). The BACB currently has authorized the availability of testing sites in 37 countries, and evaluates the addition of new sites routinely and by requests made via our contact form.

The examinations are administered using a computer-based testing (CBT) format by Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE’s website offers:

RBT

Please refer to the Examination section of the RBT Handbook for comprehensive information about our certification examinations, including preparation for the examination, policies and rules, and what to expect after passing the examination.

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019*
Number of Candidates Tested
First Time n/a 9,420 20,445 22,609 30,578
Retakes n/a 956 3,208 3,867 5,605
Percentage of Candidates Passing
First Time n/a 88% 86% 87% 87%
Retakes n/a 51% 49% 54% 52%

*Due to anomalous RBT-related activity in one geographic region, its testing data have been removed from this column. The RBT data for all regions are as follows for first-time test takers: # tested = 37,615, pass rate = 80%; and for retakes: # tested = 15,981, pass rate = 28%.

You will be notified of your results at the testing site as soon as you complete the examination. The BACB will confirm your results via email and they will appear in your BACB account within approximately one week of completing the examination.

BCaBA

The purpose of the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) examination is to assess knowledge of the BCBA/BCaBA Task List (4th ed.) at a level consistent with that of an entry-level behavior analyst. Before taking the BCaBA examination, you must apply to the BACB and provide the requested documentation showing that you have met all eligibility requirements.

The BCaBA examination is comprised of 140 multiple-choice questions, 10 of which are ungraded pilot questions. Each question has four possible answers. You will have four hours to complete the examination. Examination content is based on the BCBA/BCaBA Task List (4th ed.).

Complete applications* are accepted on a continual basis. When your application for initial certification is approved, you will receive an “authorization to test” email, which will include scheduling instructions. Once you receive that email, you may schedule your certification examination online with Pearson Vue and select a date, time, and location that works for you.

*A completed application includes:

  • Full payment received
  • Online application submitted and complete
  • All supporting documents (e.g., university transcript, Experience Verification Forms) and any additional documentation (e.g., degree equivalency evaluation documentation, coursework evaluation documentation, degree evaluation documentation) received.

The BCaBA examination appointment fee is $125. The re-take application fee is $120. Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable.

Pearson VUE charges a fee of $125 for every BCaBA examination appointment. This fee is in addition to application fees paid to the BACB and is paid directly to Pearson VUE when the appointment is made. You may be required to pay applicable sales tax, value-added tax, GST, or similar tax required by law in the country or locality in which you are testing. If taxes are applicable, Pearson VUE will collect them at the time of scheduling.

Veterans who qualify for the GI Bill can receive reimbursement for BACB certification examination fees from the Department of Veterans Affairs, regardless of whether they pass the examination. Learn more about this benefit on the GI Bill website.

You are strongly encouraged to prepare for the BCaBA examination. The BACB has developed the following resources to assist you:

1. Sample Examination Questions

These five questions have appeared on previous administrations of the BCaBA examination and represent content areas that are currently on the examination. These questions are provided to offer you insight into the format of the BCaBA examination and do not represent actual examination questions.

1. As part of a human resources performance plan, an office worker agreed to increase her positive self-statements. Whenever she made these statements, the staff working with her immediately said, “It’s nice to hear you say good things about yourself.” Over the past few weeks, the rate of these self-statements has gradually increased. Which principle of behavior is MOST likely responsible for this change?

  1. establishing operation
  2. rule-governed behavior
  3. positive reinforcement
  4. stimulus control

2. Peter’s mother wants to teach him how to identify coins. She temporarily colors each type of coin differently. Over time, as Peter handles the coins, the colors wear off. By the time the colors have worn off completely, Peter has learned to identify coins. What is this teaching strategy called?

  1. response prompt fading
  2. response generalization
  3. stimulus generalization
  4. extra-stimulus prompt fading

3. In classical condition, which of the following is elicited by a conditioned stimulus?

  1. neutral stimulus
  2. conditioned response
  3. unconditioned stimulus
  4. unconditioned response

4. Which would be the BEST approach to gathering descriptive data for intervention development?

  1. client self-report
  2. caregiver report
  3. functional assessment
  4. preference assessment

5. Following a baseline, an initial treatment effect was observed. However, the target behavior soon thereafter increased dramatically. Which graph BEST displays this description?

  • Option 1

  • Option 2

  • Option 3

  • Option 4

2. Task List

Content on the BCaBA Task List serves as the basis for the examination. This list is provided mainly as a resource for instructors and a study tool for those taking the examination. You should have a thorough understanding of the topics and tasks listed.

3. Examination Review Courses

Examination review courses and providers can be found online. The BACB does not recommend or endorse third-party examination review course providers or coursework, but acknowledges that some candidates may find a review course helpful in preparing to sit for the BCaBA examination.

Content Area Number of Questions
Basic Behavior Analytic Skills
A Measurement 14
B Experimental Design 11
C Behavior-Change Considerations 3
D Fundamental Elements of Behavior-Change 24
E Specific Behavior-Change Procedures 13
F Behavior-Change Systems 8
Client-Centered Responsibilities (will include at least 2 questions addressing ethics per section)
G Identification of the Problem 9
H Measurement 6
I Assessment 12
J Intervention 18
K Implementation, Management and Supervision 12
Total Number of Questions 130

The BCaBA examination reflects the best practices in behavior analysis. Industry experts develop the examination, which is based on the results of a formal Job Task Analysis. The BACB follows nationally accepted standards for test development that include the use of subject matter experts and extensive surveys.

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of Candidates Tested
First Time 541 812 1,012 1,253 1,450
Retakes 334 341 493 751 989
Percentage of Candidates Passing
First Time 71% 65% 65% 61% 62%
Retakes 38% 37% 35% 32% 36%

BCBA

The purpose of the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) examination is to assess knowledge of the BCBA/BCaBA Task List (4th ed.) at a level consistent with that of an entry-level behavior analyst. Before taking the BCBA examination, you must apply to the BACB and provide the requested documentation showing that you have met all eligibility requirements.

The BCBA examination is comprised of 160 multiple-choice questions, 10 of which are ungraded pilot questions. Each question has four possible answers. You have four hours to complete the examination.

Complete applications* are accepted on a continual basis. When your application for initial certification is approved, you will receive an “authorization to test” email, which will include scheduling instructions. Once you receive that email, you may schedule your certification examination online with Pearson Vue and select a date, time, and location that works for you.

*A completed application includes:

  • Full payment received
  • Online application submitted and complete
  • All supporting documents (e.g., university transcript, Experience Verification Forms) and any additional documentation (e.g., degree equivalency evaluation documentation, coursework evaluation documentation, degree evaluation documentation) received.

The BCBA examination appointment fee is $125. The re-take application fee is $140. Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable.

Pearson VUE charges a fee of $125 for every BCBA examination appointment. This fee is in addition to application fees paid to the BACB and is paid directly to Pearson VUE when the appointment is made. You may be required to pay applicable sales tax, value-added tax, GST, or similar tax required by law in the country or locality in which you are testing. If taxes are applicable, Pearson VUE will collect them at the time of scheduling.

Veterans who qualify for the GI Bill can receive reimbursement for BACB certification examination fees from the Department of Veterans Affairs, regardless of whether they pass the examination. Learn more about this benefit on the GI Bill website.

You are strongly encouraged to prepare for the BCBA examination. The BACB has developed the following resources to assist you:

1. Sample Examination Questions

These five questions have appeared on previous administrations of the BCBA examination and represent content areas that are currently on the examination. These questions are provided to offer you insight into the format of the BCBA examination and do not represent actual examination questions.

1. An employee is having difficulty staying on task at his job. His supervisor wants to graph the employee’s time on task. Based on these data, what would be the appropriate labels for the vertical and horizontal axes?

Day Minutes on Task Number of Minutes Observed
Monday 45 60
Tuesday 45 65
Wednesday 42 60
Thursday 35 45
Friday 28 55
  1. number of minutes on task; number of minutes observed
  2. number of minutes on task; time of day observed
  3. percentage of minutes on task; day observed
  4. percentage of minutes on task; number of minutes observed

2. Delivering a potential reinforcer one-half hour after the occurrence of a response to be strengthened is:

  1. generally effective for low response-effort behaviors
  2. effective provided the individual understands the contingency
  3. most effective with high-frequency behaviors
  4. inconsistent with best practices in applied behavior analysis

3. If Terry puts his dishes in the sink after dinner, he earns computer time, which he enjoys. However, Terry does not consistently put the dishes in the sink. Near the end of dinner, his dad says, “Remember, you only get to use the computer if you put your dishes in the sink.” Terry finishes dinner and puts his dishes in the sink. Dad’s reminder is an example of which of the following?

  1. motivating operation
  2. verbal prompt
  3. positive reinforcer
  4. negative reinforcer

4. Injections reliably cause Johnny to cry and scream. Originally, Johnny liked the doctor, but because of frequent pairings of the doctor with painful injections, the sight of the doctor walking into the examination room came to elicit crying and screaming. In the respondent paradigm, the crying and screaming elicited by the sight of the doctor would be called a(n):

  1. conditioned response
  2. discriminative stimulus
  3. generalized fear response
  4. unconditioned response

5. Randy is rarely aggressive. However, when he is, his behaviors are extreme in their intensity. Emergency procedures have been developed to ensure the safety of Randy and others. One essential component for addressing the problem behavior should be to:

  1. make a referral to a psychiatrist to access PRN medication
  2. immediately implement a behavior reduction program
  3. perform a functional assessment to determine antecedents and consequences to the target behavior
  4. perform social validation to establish the staff’s tolerance and willingness to continue the procedure

2. Task List

Content on the BCBA Task List serves as the basis for the examination. This list is provided mainly as a resource for instructors and a study tool for those taking the examination. You should have a thorough understanding of all the topics and tasks listed.

3. Examination Review Courses

Examination review courses and providers can be found online. The BACB does not recommend or endorse third party examination review course providers or coursework, but acknowledges that some candidates may find a review course helpful in preparing to sit for the BCBA examination.

Content Area Number of Questions
Basic Behavior Analytic Skills
A Measurement 15
B Experimental Design 11
C Behavior-Change Considerations 3
D Fundamental Elements of Behavior-Change 26
E Specific Behavior-Change Procedures 15
F Behavior-Change Systems 8
Client-Centered Responsibilities (will include at least 2 questions addressing ethics per section)
G Identification of the Problem 14
H Measurement 9
I Assessment 12
J Intervention 23
K Implementation, Management and Supervision 14
Total Number of Questions 150

The BCBA examination reflects the best practices in behavior analysis. Industry experts develop the examination, which is based on the results of a formal Job Task Analysis. The BACB follows nationally accepted standards for test development that include the use of subject matter experts and extensive surveys.

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of Candidates Tested
First Time 3,323 4,096 4,785 6,124 6,884
Retakes 2,748 3,251 3,297 4,454 6,327
Percentage of Candidates Passing
First Time 67% 66% 65% 65% 63%
Retakes 32% 28% 31% 28% 27%

Examination Scoring

The BACB uses the modified Angoff method for establishing the passing score for each base examination form. New base examination forms are created approximately every five years or whenever there is a significant change to the examination content, such as the introduction of a new task list. The BACB maintains a large pool of questions, which can be used to generate many different forms of each examination equated to the passing score obtained from the base examination form.

The modified Angoff method is a criterion-referenced method that relies on the judgment of a panel of subject matter experts who hold BACB credentials and approval from the BACB Board of Directors. Your performance on the examination will not be compared to the performance of others taking the examination.

The BACB is committed to reporting uncompromised and valid examination scores. On rare occasions, circumstances may invalidate examination scores. The BACB reserves the right to cancel or withhold examination scores due to suspected or documented misconduct during testing at a PearsonVUE site or violation of the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. Invalidation may also occur due to situations beyond your control—or that of the BACB’s—at the testing site. Should this occur, you are encouraged to submit an administrative appeal.


BACB maintains a large pool of questions, which can be used to generate many different forms of each examination. For security reasons, the examination forms are updated on a regular basis. Furthermore, multiple forms of the examinations are in use during each testing window and candidates are randomly assigned to these forms.

BACB uses statistical data on how each question performs to evaluate the difficulty of each examination form. The examinations are carefully constructed in order to minimize variations in difficulty from one form to another. However, it is possible to have slight variations in difficulty based on the particular combination of questions that are selected for each examination form. This is taken into account when the passing scores are set so it does not matter which examination form each candidate takes.

Every BACB examination undergoes psychometric statistical equating to assure that scores on different forms are adjusted for any difference in the levels of difficulty. Therefore, the actual number of correct answers required to pass each examination may vary depending on the form and level of difficulty of that examination. Thus, because the passing score may vary from one examination to another, the raw number of questions answered correctly is not reported.

Passing candidates receive only notice that they have passed the examination and no additional report is provided. Failing candidates are provided with reports regarding their performance. For the BCBA and BCaBA examinations, the report includes the percentage of questions answered correctly and total number of questions within each of the primary examination content areas. For RBT examinations, the report provides a list of the RBT Tasks for which the candidate answered items incorrectly. This information is provided solely for the purpose of guiding future study efforts.

Please see our passing scores information which describes the method used for setting passing scores.

Scaled scores are created when the number of questions that candidates answer correctly is mathematically transformed so that the passing score equals a certain point on a scale starting at 0 and ending at a number that equals the highest possible score. For BCBA and BCaBA examinations, the scale starts and 0 and ends at 500, with the passing score equal to 400. For RBT examinations, the scale is 0 to 250, with the passing score equal to 200.

This transformation is very similar to converting inches to centimeters; for example, a 10-inch ribbon will be 25.4 centimeters long. The length of the ribbon has not changed, only the units of measurement that were used to describe it.

The use of scaled scores allows us to directly compare scores from one examination form to another because the passing standard will always be the same (i.e., a scaled score of 200 for an RBT examination, or 400 for a BCBA or BCaBA examination). In the long run, this process will make the scoring of the examination easier to understand for all concerned. No matter which form of an examination a candidate takes, the scaled passing score will remain constant.

The scales used on the BCBA, BCaBA and RBT examinations are similar to scales used by other large testing programs, such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE. The scales have more points than there are questions on the examination.

The use of scaled scores does not affect whether or not an individual candidate passes or fails the examination. The pass/fail decision is always made by comparing the number of questions answered correctly to the passing score that was established using the criterion-referenced process. All candidates who correctly answer more items than are required to pass the examination form that they took will obtain scaled scores that are between the scaled passing score and the top of the scale (i.e., between 200 and 250 for RBT, or between 400 and 500 for BCBA and BCaBA). Candidates who did not answer enough items to pass will obtain scaled scores between 0 and just under the passing score (i.e., between 0 and 199 for RBT, or between 0 and 399 for BCBA and BCaBA). Scaling also does not affect the rank ordering of candidates. A candidate who answers more questions correctly than another candidate taking the same examination form will always obtain a higher scaled score.

No, the BACB will not report the number of questions answered correctly or the overall percentage of questions answered correctly. However, failing candidates will be provided with examination reports as described above. This information is provided to assist failing candidates with targeting areas for further study.
View RBT, BCaBA, and BCBA sample score reports.

Information on your performance is provided to assist you in identifying areas for additional study. However, you should use caution when interpreting this information. The number of items asked about each task is relatively small and therefore may not be predictive of your understanding of the task. When you prepare to take the examination again, you should study all of the content. If you study only the areas for which you answered items incorrectly, you might perform better on those areas but worse on others.

Examination Accommodations

To request examination accommodations:

  • Complete a Request for Accommodations form and combine it with your required documentation into a single PDF.
  • Submit the PDF file online through the legal document submission form using the “accommodations requests” or the “accommodations questions” categories.

After the BACB receives your request and supporting documentation, it will conduct a review of the requested accommodation. This review is typically completed within 10-14 days. If the BACB requests additional documentation, however, the review of your request may take longer.

The BACB is dedicated to complying with all accommodation requirements, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. While the BACB does not offer an official accommodations handbook or guide, we encourage you to refer to the following sources for examples of appropriate supporting documentation for your request:

ADA Revised Title III Regulation
Request Behavior Analytic Terms Translation for Examination Support
United States Medical Licensing Exam Guidelines for Test Accommodations
ADA National Network Guidelines

Documents

Translated documents are available on the translated documents page.

General Examination Information

Examination Content and Structure

Examination Forms