Schools do a great job preparing students for a career in massage therapy. But many students need a little help and guidance to pass licensing exams.

Here is what I have found works BEST.

1) Use practice exams. Utilize practice exams when possible. Pen and paper is fine, but also have computerized exams available because this is the media used when students/graduates actually take the exam.

I use an exam with fewer questions first (50 items), gradually progressing to exams with more questions (75 items, 100 items, 125 items, 150 items). This reduces the “overwhelm” factor and also gives them confidence as scores improve with subsequent exams. Yes, scores improve over time.

MEMO: I have students record their scores along with the exam dates. Because practice exams begin before they graduate (90 days before), a score of 40-50% is not unusual. But each practice test yields higher scores. By graduation, scores are 80-90%. Ask students to focus on their progress, not early test scores.

2) Analysis results. Use individual scores to discover a particular student’s content weakness.

3) Remediate. Once a student’s weakness is revealed by test scores, suggest remediation strategies. For example, if Sally frequently marks kinesiology questions incorrectly, ask her to reread those chapters in her textbook, retake end-of-the-chapter assessments, and review videos online. Use all resources available.

Be sure to ask Sally what methods work best for her when suggesting remediation strategies.

Use this video when thinking about learning methods. It’s a promotional video, but gives a great overview of what types of resources are available for most instructors.

4) Then retest and remediate. Repeat this process of retesting and remediating until the student’s percentile score is over 80%.

Massage review programs (massage exam / massage prep) are good. There are more similarities than differences.

I have prepared free textbook resources. One of these resources is a question bank. This program features customizable formats, generates scores, and gives instructors AND students ALL the questions and answers in a PDF that can be viewed and printed.


Go to

If you have an account, log in.

Go straight to registering for Salvo resources and omit the steps in the box below.

If you don’t have an account, click Join Evolve Communities! Follow the prompts.

Type “SALVO” in the top search bar – click SEARCH.

Under “Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice, 4th Edition,” click +Register beneath Resources.

On the next screen, click Register> in the green box.

Follow the prompts.

Once you are registered, log out and log in again (or go to the home page and refresh the page).

On the right hand side of the page under “My Content”, click +Resources.

A drop down menus will appear. Click on Salvo: Massage Therapy, 4th Edition.

On the Book Banner page, click on Resources.

Chapter folders will appear next. This book has 30 chapters.

Click on Chapter 02 – Therapeutic Relationships. However, any chapter folder will do.

Click on Student Resources. Instructors will have an additional “Instructor Resources” folder.

On the next screen, click on Prepare for Exams.

On the next screen, click on Practice Test for Certification and Licensing Examinations.

The next screen is the main menu for the practice exams. Select “10,” “25,” “50,” or “100 Questions.” Then click Start.

Take the test. These screens also have a button with Answer PDF. Clicking on this button will produce the entire exam with answers. There are 550 questions in this bank; 100 printed pages.

Have fun clicking on other folders. The folder entitled Additional Resources, contains the Body Spectrum Coloring Book. Lots of fun!!! This folder also contains Weblinks. Chapter 18 has lots of websites for anatomy and physiology websites. Activities: Flashcards are great, so are the Activities: Chapter Challenge.



  1. Very informative. I do the same thing with students at my school. They should practice with on line exams. This makes it true to life and also allows them to see the areas that they need help.
    Of course they will start out with lower grades in the beginning. They still have lecture material to cover. Once the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together and they start to see repeat in test questions, memorization starts to take over along with critical thinking skills.
    I tell my students that you will notice that over time your scores will become better and better. Take short practice exams and work up to more questions. This will help you to remember answers to questions you didn't know. It also helps to prepare you to answer questions that might be worded in a different way.
    Just remember, your instructors have been down the same path as you! 🙂


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