How to Prepare for the Music Therapy Board Certification Exam


Resources for Preparation

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of how this is going to go, it’s time to prepare! Read on for some helpful resources:

1. CBMT’s Board Certification Domains 

So what are these domains we’ve been talking about? You’ve already seen them during assessments for practicum and internship! The Board Certification Domains are all the skills a music therapist should possess to be considered “competent” at our profession, as decided by CBMT. This could be a helpful place to start your prep: with a note taking tool, walk through the outline and rate your confidence in completing each skill. Your notes here can guide what topics you give the most time as you start studying.

2. CBMT’s Self-Assessment Examinations

CBMT offers two different Self-Assessment Examinations (practice tests) that you can take online. After taking them, you not only receive the correct answers for each question, but a detailed explanation on why each answer choice was right or wrong. You will also receive a copy of the test via email, which you can continue to review even after you’ve taken the practice test. This can help you identify which domains are your strengths – and which ones you need to give more attention. Also – keep in mind when utilizing these Self-Assessment Examinations that you can only take each exam one time. You might consider spacing them out during your period of preparation.

3. CBMT’s Self-Assessment Examination Bibliography 

The Self-Assessment Examination Bibliography is a reference list of books, journals, and other materials provided by CBMT to “familiarize you with some textbooks and reference materials available for practicing materials.” It is not an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping off point for reputable sources and relevant content.

Remember when we mentioned identifying which domains need extra prep? Once you do that, you could come to the resources here to target specific areas.

4. Notes You Took in Class

Your coursework was all created with the goal of preparing you for the board exam  don’t forget to utilize it! Reviewing notes from classes can help refresh the knowledge you already have. Consider refamiliarizing yourself with the processes and language associated with various therapeutic approaches, basic music theory elements, music history, common medical and psychological diagnoses, and principles of music therapy.

During the Exam

Here are a few more miscellaneous tips for ya!

  • The testing software includes a feature to mark questions to revisit later; don’t be afraid to note which answers you’re not totally confident in. You can easily go back to just those questions after you complete the others to review your answers.
  • Scratch paper is your friend! Use it for basics you might want to reference easily – like the circle of fifths, the fret layout of a guitar neck, or a few principles of prominent theoretical approaches. You could even get creative and use your scratch paper to manage your test anxiety! Write down affirmations, guided breathing prompts, grounding techniques, or a list of other coping skills you can use inside the testing room.