Oh No, You Failed the MBLEx—Don’t Panic!

how to pass the MBLEx exam

Oh no! You failed the test. This unexpected result probably feels a little overwhelming, and you may be filled with self-blame, frustration, and even heartbreak. But try not to panic. You will be OK. In fact, 30 percent of those who take the MBLEx don’t pass on the first try. What can you do to make your next attempt a success? What you do now is up to you, and we want to support you. Let’s get back on track and pass! Here are seven tips to help you do just that.


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  1. Make It Your Priority: Commit right now to passing the MBLEx and make it your first priority. Tell your friends and family you need their help. Ask them to support you by picking up extra responsibilities at home or by giving you the space you need to study consistently. Involve them by having them help you with study sessions. Put everything else on the back-burner and focus, focus, focus.
  2. Reapply for the Exam: If you’ve taken the test and need to take it again, you must submit a new application online or by mail, along with a new application fee. Reapply now to ensure you stay motivated and focused on passing the exam. You will not be issued a new “Authorization to Test” until 30 days has elapsed from the date of the failed examination attempt. When you receive it, schedule your testing date—don’t put it off. Reapply now!
  3. Identify Areas of Weakness: When you received your score for the MBLEx, you were given a numerical scaled score total, as well as information indicating your performance in each content area. Review this information and determine your areas of weakness. Focus the majority of your study on these topic areas.
  4. Consider ABMP Exam Coach: ABMP Exam Coach is an online exam preparation product developed to help people pass the MBLEx. It saves you study time because it has definitions and audio pronunciations of more than 2,400 terms, automated flash cards, topic-level quizzes, and full-length practice examinations. As a bonus, your $75 purchase of ABMP Exam Coach is automatically applied toward your first year of professional membership with ABMP. Membership includes liability insurance, which you will need to protect your practice and which is required by many employers. ABMP Exam Coach is probably the most efficient way you can study for the MBLEx. Try out the demo here.
  5. Learn the Language: One of the primary reasons people fail the MBLEx is that they haven’t mastered health-care and anatomic terminology. If you don’t have ABMP Exam Coach, use your textbook and identify topics that appear similar to the MBLEx topics where you performed poorly. Mark the pages related to this content with paper clips. Now skim through a chapter and highlight every key word or unfamiliar word you encounter with a highlighter pen. Now, make flash cards from these terms by writing the term on the front and the definition of the term on the back of an index card. Learn the terms and then carefully read the chapter. You’ll find your comprehension of content has increased dramatically.
  6. Get a Tutor: Approach your school and ask if there is someone who can tutor you for the MBLEx. You might also contact your former classmates and ask someone who passed the exam to spend three or four study sessions supporting your study process. Sometimes having someone to discuss content with you can greatly improve your retention.
  7. Press On: Everyone experiences failures. Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Stay positive and get down to work! You can do this, and your new career is calling you forward.

—Anne Williams, ABMP Director of Education

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