Does everyone take the same exam?

No. BACB maintains a large pool of questions, which can be used to generate many different forms of each exam. For security reasons, the exam forms are updated on a regular basis. Furthermore, multiple forms of the exams are in use during each testing window and candidates are randomly assigned to these forms.

Is one exam form easier than another?

No. BACB uses statistical data on how each question performs to evaluate the difficulty of each exam form. The exams are carefully constructed in order to minimize variations in difficulty from one form to another. However, it is possible to have slight variations in difficulty based on the particular combination of questions that are selected for each exam form. This is taken into account when the passing scores are set so it does not matter which exam form each candidate takes.

Every BACB exam undergoes psychometric statistical equating to assure that scores on different forms are adjusted for any difference in the levels of difficulty. Therefore, the actual number of correct answers required to pass each exam may vary depending on the form and level of difficulty of that exam. Thus, because the passing score may vary from one exam to another, the raw number of questions answered correctly is not reported.

Passing candidates receive only notice that they have passed the exam and no additional report is provided. Failing candidates are provided with reports regarding their performance. For the BCBA and BCaBA exams, the report includes the percentage of questions answered correctly and total number of questions within each of the primary exam content areas. For RBT exams, the report provides a list of the RBT Tasks for which the candidate answered items incorrectly. This information is provided solely for the purpose of guiding future study efforts.

How is the passing score determined?

Please see this page for information about the method for setting the passing scores.

What is a scaled score?

Scaled scores are created when the number of questions that candidates answer correctly is mathematically transformed so that the passing score equals a certain point on a scale starting at 0 and ending at a number that equals the highest possible score. For BCBA and BCaBA exams, the scale starts and 0 and ends at 500, with the passing score equal to 400. For RBT exams, the scale is 0 to 250, with the passing score equal to 200.

This transformation is very similar to converting inches to centimeters; for example, a 10-inch ribbon will be 25.4 centimeters long. The length of the ribbon has not changed, only the units of measurement that were used to describe it.

Why scale the scores?

The use of scaled scores allows us to directly compare scores from one exam form to another because the passing standard will always be the same (i.e., a scaled score of 200 for an RBT exam, or 400 for a BCBA or BCaBA exam). In the long run, this process will make the scoring of the exam easier to understand for all concerned. No matter which form of an exam a candidate takes, the scaled passing score will remain constant.

Why does the scale not reflect the number of questions on the exams?

The scales used on the BCBA, BCaBA and RBT exams are similar to scales used by other large testing programs, such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE. The scales have more points than there are questions on the exam.

Does scaling the scores affect who passes or fails the exam?

The use of scaled scores does not affect whether or not an individual candidate passes or fails the exam. The pass/fail decision is always made by comparing the number of questions answered correctly to the passing score that was established using the criterion referenced process. All candidates who correctly answer more items than are required to pass the exam form that they took will obtain scaled scores that are between the scaled passing score and the top of the scale (i.e., between 200 and 250 for RBT, or between 400 and 500 for BCBA and BCaBA). Candidates who did not answer enough items to pass will obtain scaled scores between 0 and just under the passing score (i.e., between 0 and 199 for RBT, or between 0 and 399 for BCBA and BCaBA). Scaling also does not affect the rank ordering of candidates. A candidate who answers more questions correctly than another candidate taking the same exam form will always obtain a higher scaled score.

Can I find out how many questions I answered correctly?

No, the BACB will not report the number of questions answered correctly or the overall percentage of questions answered correctly. However, failing candidates will be provided with exam reports as described above. This information is provided to assist failing candidates with targeting areas for further study.

Should I only study the areas or tasks on which I performed poorly?

Information on your performance is provided to assist you in identifying areas for additional study. However, you should use caution when interpreting this information. The number of items asked about each task is relatively small and therefore may not be predictive of your understanding of the task. When you prepare to take the exam again, you should study all of the content. If you study only the areas for which you answered items incorrectly, you might perform better on those areas but worse on others.