5 Best MBLEx Prep Books (2022)

The Best Books to Prepare for the MBLEx

You’ve put a lot of time into finishing all your practical training. Now it’s time to get ready for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam.

With two hours to answer a 100 questions, you have to make sure you know your stuff. While you’re probably confident with hands-on practice, these study guides will act as a refresher course for all of the more detailed questions.

Remember that the MBLEx was revised in 2018, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the most up to date study guide for your upcoming test.

The new test does not include the culture and history section, and there is an expanded section on the physiological effects of massage that incorporates the former modalities section.

This revision means that older study guides often include chapters that have no relevance to the new test. If you are using an exam book released before 2018, you may be studying information you’re no longer expected to know.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your study guide, here are a few of our top picks.

Top 5 Best MBLEx Study Guides

Everyone studies differently, so make sure you’re finding the study guide with techniques that work the best for you. Also, consider how much time you have to study. Some of these books are meant for extensive study and might not fit a tight schedule.

1. MBLEx Test Prep – Comprehensive Study Guide and Workbook, 2021

This book is the most thorough resource you’ll find when looking for an MBLEx study guide, perfect for readers who feel like they need intense review.

Publisher: Wanderer Studios

Year: 2020

Number of Pages: 365

Our Final Grade: A+

The Wanderer study guide is the most comprehensive review book you will find when studying for the MBLEx. This book makes sure that students of all learning types have a way to study. It includes subject review that aims at being in depth while being concise.

There are over 700 practice questions in the book, and unlimited practice exams available online. This guide includes crossword puzzles, matching games, and other interactive review activities to make studying enjoyable.

The author of this guide, David Merlino, is a licensed massage therapist. He’s been helping students pass the MBLEx since 2011, and continues to work in the field. Merlino even encourages readers to reach out by email with any questions they have. Some students recently confirmed that he responds quickly and thoroughly.

This book has everything you could need to study effectively. There are test-taking tips, practice scenarios, and five complete practice tests. Along with unlimited video lectures, flashcards, games, and practice assignments online.

Reviewers find this a great resource for those who have been out of school for a while and want a variety of resources.


  • Recently updated for the new MBLEx
  • Thorough overview of all test material
  • Full of resources for additional review


  • One of the more expensive MBLEx study guides

2. Test Prep Books’ MBLEx Study Guide 2021-2022

A recently updated MBLEx study guide perfect for the new exam, great for students who need help planning a study schedule.

Publisher: Test Prep Books

Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 164

Our Final Grade: A

Test Prep is one of the most popular publishers for study guides, and consistently releases some of the best test prep options. They offer study tips and schedules to keep you on track as you get ready for your exam.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by how to study or what a study plan would look like, this book takes care of all of that for you. Test Prep is the best source for test-taking tips to ensure you’re retaining the most information you can.

This guide isn’t as long as some of the others listed but is an excellent overview. If you are more interested in practicing what you know and reviewing when you struggle, this is the book to use. There are practice questions with detailed answers and strategies to work on what you’re not understanding.

However, this book requires a lot of online access to get the most out of the review. If you’re looking for something to be your only source for studying, this guide is not for you. You’ll want to check out their online material to get your money’s worth.

This study guide is an excellent resource as a refresher on the material before taking the exam.


  • Concise coverage of all test material
  • Practice questions with detailed answers/explanations
  • Study schedule and test-taking strategies


  • Not for readers who need extensive review

3. Ascencia Test Prep’s MBLEx Study Guide 2022-2023

Ascencia is a great resource for people about to take the MBLEx or for massage therapists looking to start their own practice.

Publisher: Ascencia Test Prep

Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 256

Our Final Grade: B+

Ascencia’s study guide is known for being concise without missing the information you need to pass your MBLEx. It focuses on the ethical and emotional practices of massage therapy while reviewing the more technical aspects of the exam.

This book is perfect for those interested in the interpersonal connection of massage therapy, and are hoping to open their own business. It offers tips and advice on how to make it on your own as a massage therapist. At the same time, it focuses on client and therapist relationships.

Questions about client relations are not the primary focus of the exam, but readers found it helpful as they moved into the professional world. This book also includes real-life scenarios that students found useful for the review, but also in their practice. Ascencia, as a plus, includes the most realistic pictures and diagrams. Another reason to have this book on hand even after the exam.

This guide is a great read for test-takers, but also for people who want to learn more about the emotional work of massage. Many reviewers found that it was a lasting resource as they continued their careers.


  • Written with a specific professional focus
  • Offers practice exams, flashcards, and other resources
  • Uses real-world examples


  • Some challenging vocabulary with no glossary

4. Mometrix Test Preparation’s MBLEx Study Guide 2021-2022

This guide is perfect for readers who want more specific review; it can be very tailored to your needs.

Publisher: Mometrix Media LLC

Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 196

Our Final Grade: B

Mometrix is known for its accessible language that makes it easy for readers to study before their exam. Along with making vocabulary easier to learn than other study guides. This is great for students who don’t have traditional notes to review, or who have been out of school for a while.

It’s also full of practice questions with detailed answers so that you can understand what you need to review. They provide video tutorials online for subjects that readers are having difficulty with, along with lots of diagrams and images for visual learners. This is great for students who know where they are struggling and want some more direct attention on one issue.

However, there is only one practice test, so it’s not for readers who find that practice is their best form of study. Or for those who feel they need to relearn the majority of the material.

This study guide is excellent for those that require more specific vocabulary review or want to learn in a style similar to an academic setting. It works to provide interactive information along with test tips and a detailed review of the MBLEx sections.


  • Mometrix provides great additional resources online
  • Great for any exam on massage and body therapy, not just the MBLEx
  • Broad coverage of all topics


  • Only one practice exam

5. Ascencia Test Prep’s MBLEx Test Prep Book of Flash Cards

Ascencia is the cheapest option for those looking to study quickly and efficiently.

Publisher: Ascencia Test Prep

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 148

Our Final Grade: C+

While not for an extensive review, these flashcards are great for quick study. These lightweight cards are easy to carry around and for writing your own notes. Plus, they’re much less expensive than the more intensive study guides.

Reviewers found that when combined with class notes and other materials, they were the perfect addition to studying. They’re also excellent for people who find rereading material less helpful than active practice.

These make a good secondary resource if you find you need more from your study guide. They’re also great for those that feel well prepared for the exam, maybe you’ve already gone through another one of these study guides. They are perfect for quick review in busy moments and require much less focus than other books.

Overall a great resource, but you’ll definitely need to supplement it with other material.


  • Quick review tool
  • Easy to carry around and markup
  • Inexpensive study guide option


  • Not meant for comprehensive review

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the MBLEx?

Depending on your state, you might not have to take the MBLEx after you complete your training. Some states have their own standardized test that you must pass before practicing as a massage therapist. However, passing the MBLEx will allow you to practice across the country. Check out The American Massage Association to find your specific state requirements.

How many hours of practice do I need before I take the MBLEx?

There is no set number of educational hours or practice hours that you need to complete before taking the MBLEx. The MBLEx is only one part of the licensing process, and the number of hours to complete that process will vary based on state.

How do I apply to take the MBLEx?

To take the MBLEx, you must submit an application to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board. After that, you will pay the $195 fee (the fee will increase to $260 post-COVID), and request that your school submit your education records.

How long do I need to study for the MBLEx?

The amount of time you have to spend studying depends on how comfortable you feel with the material. If you recently finished school, you may find that working through the practice tests or using flashcards is all you need. For those who have been out of school for a while, you may need to review the material more. David Merlino’s and the Ascencia study guides are the best for that.

How much Asian Theory is on the MBLEx?

The old exam had a section dedicated to the history and culture of massage, but the new exam does not contain this section. There will be questions about specific modalities that may have an answer that relates to a particular meridian, but there are no longer any questions specifically on Asian theory.

What is the passing score on the MBLEx?

Since the exam changes, there is no longer a numerical score that will determine if you pass. The MBLEx is now PASS/FAIL.

How do I prepare for the MBLEx?

The best thing you can do is figure out what areas you are struggling most with. A great way to do this is to take practice tests and see which areas you are getting questions wrong in. This will allow you to focus your efforts on what is most difficult for you, instead of spending time relearning everything.

Can I retake the MBLEx?

You can retake the exam 30 days after your test date if you fail. The FSMTB allows you to take the test as many times as you need to pass it, but certain states may have limitations.

Can I begin my practice as soon as I get my results?

Again, it depends on the state. Most states require that you prove you have at least 500 hours of experience. In some states, like New York, it is 1000 hours or more. Make sure to check The American Massage Association to follow your specific state requirements.

How long are MBLEx test results good for?

Once you pass the exam, your results are good for as long as you practice. You will not have to retake the exam at any point.

If I’ve already taken the NCE, do I have to take the MBLEx?

No, not if you are continuing to practice in the same state. If you are looking to relocate, you will probably need to take the MBLEx to begin practicing in a new location.

Acing Your Exam

The MBLEx can be challenging for new massage therapists, so make sure you pick a study guide that is right for you. What makes the exam particularly difficult is that it is a computer adaptive test. You must answer each question in the order they are given to you, and they get progressively more difficult.

This makes it even more important to ensure that you are choosing study tools that make sense for you. Don’t hesitate to preview the material, and make sure you are using other resources such as practice tests or flashcards.

Make sure to check out what other resources are coming with your study guide; often, if you look online, you’ll find that your study guide has a code to more practice questions or other review guides. Or you can find other study resources on sites related to the MBLEx.

You’ve already shown dedication in your practice; with just a few more hours of patience and study you’ll be ready to ace this exam.

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Michelle Tsou

Contributor at ExamCave. Michelle graduated with a BA in English from Portland State University. She hopes to one day run her own test-prep organization.