How Many Questions Are on the BCBA Exam?

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam is a critical step for those seeking certification in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Understanding the structure of the exam, including the number of questions, can help candidates better prepare and approach the test with confidence. This blog post will provide an overview of the BCBA exam, focusing on the number of questions and the content covered.

Exam Overview

The BCBA exam is designed to assess the knowledge and skills necessary to practice as a behavior analyst. It is a computer-based test administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and is taken at authorized Pearson VUE testing centers.

Number of Questions

The BCBA exam consists of 185 multiple-choice questions. However, only 160 of these questions are scored. The remaining 25 questions are unscored pilot items that are included to evaluate their effectiveness for future exams. These pilot questions are indistinguishable from the scored questions, so it’s important to approach each question with equal attention and effort.

Exam Content

The questions on the BCBA exam cover a wide range of topics within ABA. The content is organized into the following major areas, known as the BCBA Task List (5th edition):

  1. Foundational Knowledge (FK): This area includes basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis, such as reinforcement, punishment, and stimulus control.
  2. Applications (AP): This section covers the application of behavior-analytic principles in various contexts, including behavior change procedures and interventions.
  3. Ethical and Professional Conduct (EC): This domain focuses on the ethical guidelines and professional standards that behavior analysts must adhere to in their practice.
  4. Measurement, Data Display, and Interpretation (MD): Questions in this area assess knowledge of data collection methods, data analysis, and interpretation.
  5. Assessment (AS): This section includes questions on behavioral assessment techniques and tools used to identify and analyze behavior.
  6. Intervention (IN): This domain covers the design, implementation, and evaluation of behavior change interventions.

Exam Format

  • Multiple-Choice Questions: Each question has four answer choices, with only one correct answer.
  • Computer-Based Testing: The exam is taken on a computer at an authorized Pearson VUE testing center.
  • Time Limit: Candidates have 4 hours to complete the exam. This time frame is designed to allow sufficient time to carefully read and respond to each question.

Scoring

  • Passing Score: The passing score for the BCBA exam is determined using a criterion-referenced approach. This means that the score reflects the level of knowledge and skills required to practice competently as a BCBA. The exact passing score can vary slightly for each administration of the exam due to the inclusion of different sets of questions.
  • Scaled Scores: Scores are reported on a scale, and candidates will receive a pass or fail result along with a scaled score.

Preparation Tips

  1. Understand the Exam Content: Review the BCBA Task List to familiarize yourself with the content areas and specific tasks that will be tested.
  2. Use Quality Study Materials: Invest in reputable study guides, textbooks, and practice exams that cover the BCBA Task List comprehensively.
  3. Practice Time Management: During your study sessions, practice answering questions within a set time limit to get comfortable with the pace of the exam.
  4. Join Study Groups: Collaborate with peers to discuss difficult concepts and share study strategies.
  5. Seek Supervised Experience: Gain practical experience through supervised fieldwork to reinforce your understanding of behavior-analytic principles and applications.

Conclusion

The BCBA exam consists of 185 multiple-choice questions, with 160 scored and 25 unscored pilot questions. Understanding the structure and content of the exam is essential for effective preparation. By familiarizing yourself with the BCBA Task List, using quality study materials, and practicing time management, you can approach the exam with confidence and increase your chances of success.

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