Changes to the NBCOT® Exam Format: What This Means
As the saying goes, “The only thing constant in life is change.” As of January 2, 2024, the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) will usher in a series of updates to the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR)® certification exam. These changes ensure candidates are tested not only on their knowledge, but also on their ability to make informed decisions and apply their skills effectively in real-world scenarios. This helps align the exam with the ever-evolving landscape of occupational therapy.
Let’s dive into what these updates entail and explore effective strategies for preparing for the most current NBCOT® exam format.
NBCOT® OTR Exam Overview
The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) Certification is designed to ensure that practitioners have the necessary knowledge, skills, and competence to provide high-quality care to clients. Passing this exam is a necessary step in the process of becoming a certified occupational therapist. These occupational therapy certifications signify a dedication to quality care and a commitment to the highest standards of public safety, ethical conduct, and ongoing professional growth.
The NBCOT® certification exams are pass/fail with scores ranging from 300 to 600. This is because the exam is designed to gauge whether or not a student has at least the minimum level of competence to practice as a certified occupational therapist. In order to successfully pass the exam, students must receive a score of at least 450.
What’s New to the NBCOT® Format
As part of its effort to continually ensure practitioners are equipped with the knowledge necessary to provide the highest level of patient care and align content to a constantly evolving healthcare landscape, the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) conducts a practice analysis every five years. Here is a high-level overview of the updates to come for the OTR® exam as a result of the 2022 analyses.
- New Exam Vendor: The NBCOT® has decided to transition the administration of the OTR® exam from Prometric to Pearson VUE after December 18, 2023. This change enhances the overall exam administration process by addressing the unique testing accommodation needs of candidates effectively.
- More Items: As part of the new format, the OTR® exam will consist of 180 items timed at four hours. These items include a blend of three- and four-option single-response multiple-choice questions, as well as six-option multi-select scenario sets.
- Scenario-Based Items: The exam will now feature single-response multiple-choice items and scenario sets. These scenario sets are designed to evaluate the same core knowledge areas as the previous CSTs (Clinical Simulation Tasks) but come with a fresh approach. Each scenario set begins with an engaging opening scene, followed by four related items. These changes aim to create a more robust assessment experience while also improving accessibility for testing accommodations.
NBCOT® Exam Prep Strategies
As changes approach in the new year, it’s natural for occupational therapy students to feel a bit uncertain about what lies ahead. With the OTR® exam playing a pivotal role in your journey to becoming a certified occupational therapist, TrueLearn has proactively taken the initiative to align our Occupational Therapy Question Bank to the new NBCOT® exam format.
The OT SmartBank is a comprehensive preparation tool with over 1,800 practice questions mapped to the NBCOT® exam content outline and memorable 2-3 minute videos proven to increase performance by 331%. Scenario-based questions are just one of the newest enhancements to match the new format. To get a sneak peek at all the exciting developments coming to the OT SmartBank and to enjoy an exclusive discount, download our PDF today.
*OTR® is a trademark of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). This content is not endorsed or approved by NBCOT®.