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RBT Study Guide: Ace the Competency Assessment with ABA Wizard

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Nervous about preparing for your RBT® competency assessment? Don't worry, you've come to the right field of science! Behaviorists know how to not only change others' behavior, but give tips on how to change your own. We can apply that same scientific approach to preparing for your RBT® Competency Assessment. Let's explore what effective "exam study" means for you and how ABA Wizard can support your success.

woman in red holding laptop

1. Create a Solid Study Plan to get ready for your RBT® Competency Assessment

A well-structured study plan is your foundation for success. It consists of three crucial elements: your study routine, study content, and study materials. To ensure a thorough plan, consider documenting it. Your study routine should specify the days and times dedicated exclusively to exam preparation. Make sure this time is distinct from work or homework.

The study content for the RBT® exam is outlined in the Task List provided by the BACB®. ABA Wizard's study materials are meticulously aligned with the current Task List, making them an excellent choice for your study plan.

2. Optimal Study Session Length

Distributed practice, involving shorter, frequent study sessions, is more effective than massed practice with longer, less frequent sessions. Research in ABA and general psychology supports the use of distributed practice for efficient learning and exam preparation.

Instead of marathon study sessions on Saturdays, consider shorter, daily study sessions. It's akin to your gym routine – daily, shorter workouts yield better results compared to a single, lengthy, and exhaustive session. Slow and steady wins the race!

3. Self-Testing: Key to Proficiency

As you study, incorporate self-testing, which includes practice questions. Taking the RBT exam involves answering multiple-choice questions. Train your skills by answering as many Task List-based questions as possible. ABA Wizard offers a vast selection of practice questions, allowing you to learn from your mistakes and improve.

Our RBT® study app and expertly crafted mock exams are invaluable resources. There have been studies where they have some learners study and take a practice test and compare it to their peers' scores who studied and did not take a practice test. Those how took a practice test scored on average much higher than those who did not (Butler, 2010). See the graph below comparing test scores between those who took a practice test and those who did not.

table showing more students passed the real exam if they took a mock exam while studying

4. Program Common Stimuli

In ABA, "programming common stimuli" involves incorporating elements of the exam day into your study sessions. This includes studying on a computer, in a quiet environment similar to the test setting, wearing exam-day attire, and studying at the same time as your planned exam.

5. Building Fluency with TAFMEDS

Behavior analysts excel at helping people build fluency. One of the well-researched methods for doing this with relation to exam preparation is the use of flashcards (TAFMEDS/SAFMEDS). SAFMEDS are well known to help students become fluent in key terms. Say All Fast Minute Every Day Shuffled is the acronym encouraging students to go through the flashcards daily, trying to accurately say each term faster and faster. TAFMEDS is also discussed in the literature where the key terms are “Typed” instead of “Said” (Lovitz, 2020). This type of learning should be a part of your study plan. ABA Wizard has TAFMEDS available for a low subscription price.

6. Prioritize Sleep

Don't underestimate the importance of sleep. Sleep-deprived studying is less effective, hampers attention, and hinders your ability to comprehend and remember material. Prioritize quality sleep to enhance your study efficiency and long-term memory (Blissit, 2001).

To maximize your exam preparation, avoid rereading and highlighting as primary study activities. Research suggests that these methods aren't as effective for retaining information.

With these strategies and ABA Wizard's resources, you're well-equipped to tackle the RBT Competency Assessment and advance your career as a Registered Behavior Technician. Your commitment to science-based learning is your greatest asset on this journey.


- Blissitt PA. Sleep, memory, and learning. J Neurosci Nurs. 2001 Aug;33(4):208-15.

- Butler, A. C. (2010). Repeated testing produces superior transfer of learning relative to repeated studying.

- Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques.

- Lovitz ED, Cihon TM, Eshleman JW. Exploring the Effects of Daily, Timed, and Typed Technical Term Definition Practice on Indicators of Fluency. Behav Anal Pract. 2020 Nov 30;14(3):704-727.

Prepare systematically, follow these research-backed strategies, and achieve RBT certification with confidence.

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