Site reviews: Free, online NCE preparation questions

Practice tests for the National Certification Exam (NCE) online are difficult to find.  Up until a smart marketer at Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins (LWW) figured out that selling the available, free, and online 170-question practice test is more profitable, there was an easily accessible and excellent resource for promising, proactive, and no-so-test-savvy massage therapists and bodyworkers.  Now, it is not so easily accessible, but available none-the-less.  I have personally referred students and colleagues alike to their site, of course, in hopes they will find the test preview useful, and possibly buy the partner book that the test was emulating.  Current marketing of the LWW version of the practice NCE test appears as 3, 150-question tests on a CD included with the preparation book.  A great bargain at the listed $36.95, but isn’t there a way to easily access FREE preparation testing online and get a good feel for the kinds of questions on the NCE?

It is very difficult, without ethically stepping over boundaries, to help applicants taking the NCE to understand the nature of the questions, without actually getting the questions directly from the test.  The National Certification Board for Massage Therapy and Bodywork (NCBTMB) provides the quintessential study guide and test-taking advice to its applicants, including several questions included in the instructions for applying to take the test.  Many organizations and authors attempt to give an excellent representation of the method, content, and nature of the information that the NCBTMB is certifying its successful test-takers, but few independent organizations have taken the reins like LWW, which is why the online journey to discovery and use has to be more careful than ever.

LWW had some errors in the answers to the questions in their online version.  I personally took their test(s), verified my answers, verified my wrong answers with the information they supported as the correct answer, and found theirs wrong.  I reported the few inaccuracies to LWW and they never responded.  As a professional, instructor, and pretty anally-retentive person when it comes to my profession, how I represent myself, and integrity of information taught, I was keen on making sure about my answers before I called them on it.

You must also understand that it is not my mission in life to debunk any test-creators, but to make test-takers aware that not every organization or author is 100% correct.  And some are more correct than others.  Test prep sites’ evaluations of test-takers can be more-or-less a means for a test-taker to evaluate their knowledge:  “more-“ because most test questions are relevant and accurate (compared to their answers), and “-less” because test-preparers’ answers can be incorrect, thereby creating the evaluation to appear to the test-taker as the test-takers inability to answer correctly.  Bottom line:  Question the integrity of the practice test before telling yourself that you don’t know enough information to pass the real test.

In my search to add more resources to the famed LWW lengthy, 99% accurate, and most complete practice test for the NCBTMB’s National Certification Exam, I have found a few additional online versions of what test-takers may find useful as a study guide version of what some test questions may look like on the NCE.  I must say that I cannot personally vouch for the 100% integrity of all the referred links, but I can say that I’ve done enough research on them to give the subsequent review regarding FREE preparation test questions:

Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins: – 170 randomly-chosen questions in two modes:  study and test.  Emulates the NCETMB in the relevance, content, and number of questions available in a practice testing session.  Although the LWW version does not exactly emulate the NCE (there are 150 questions on the NCETM/NCETMB and the test is timed), the computer format and accuracy of the type of wordings and relevancy rate it very highly.  4.5 of 5 stars.

Test Prep Review: – 15 questions and evaluation of your answers.  These questions are relevant and pertinent to the style and content of what the NCE requires.  A couple of questions are directed toward nurse practitioner testing (taken from nurse test preparation questions) and seem irrelevant, but can be considered pathology knowledge for massage therapists.  Answers were 100% correct compared to their questions. 4 stars of 5

Massage Practice Exams: – 90 questions in 6 categories, does not evaluate your answers.  These questions are more stylistic of the actual exam questions – reading comprehension and relative knowledge of specific answers are a must.  This site does not evaluate your responses without purchase of their product, but gives an excellent idea of how the questions will appear on the NCE.  2 stars of 5.

Massage Therapy Exam: – 30 questions, evaluates and explains answers question by question.  Excellent format:  timed (or not, your choice), mostly-relevant, worded mostly like the NCE (in fact, the wordings I dislike severely were even there, i.e.  Which statement is not true?  The ____ is not part of the ____…).  The question “What planet is influenced by the planet Saturn?” is not my idea of what massage therapists have to deal with professionally.  There are separate (but equal) professions that deal with astrology and energy for which this question is more appropriate.  Some of the ethics answers (as always) were not clear enough in their explanation, so the “best” answer may not be the best question.  One down-side is that you have to register with your email address, giving explicit permission for them to send you emails for the next 7 days (or indefinitely, as I suspect) about their product.  Another down is that the question “Which emotion is associated with the Heart Governor meridian?” was answered “Love, Joy, Peace” but incorrect according to the test:  the “correct” answer was “none” which is incorrect in every source to which I investigated this answer:  Joy and Happiness are the emotions associated with the Heart meridian. 4.25 stars of 5 – 25 questions in 5 categories, evaluates 5 subject-specific questions at a time.  Best referenced answers – each question has a bibliography reference, and by industry-recognized authors.  Correct answers come immediately, are untimed, and are examples of a product to buy from the website.  I obviously need to study, as most of my “out of 5” correct answers were 2 and 3.  There are 50-cent- and $1-words here, maybe not as much as the NCE will reveal, but the information is relevant and timely.  The types of questions (from different categories that the NCE emulates (either the -TM or -TMB version) are limited to physiological and assessment/practice-type information, although purchase of the module for your home computer touts that you will be tested on all aspects of the NCETM/TMB.  4.5 stars of 5

Study Guide for Massage Therapy: – 12 questions, answers at bottom of page.  Relevant and well-represented questions for all aspects of subject of the NCE.  A few examples that the product they are selling on this site features. 4 stars of 5.

Massage Prep: – 60 questions in 3 formats (practice, exam, and final exam), immediate answers.  Relevant, mostly anatomical and pathologically-related questions.  Answers were 100% correct when compared and researched.  4 stars of 5

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