The National Certified Medical Assistant Exam is intended for anyone wishing to become a certified medical assistant. If you meet the eligibility criteria and pass the exam, you’ll be able to get certified and begin a new (or advance your existing) career in medical assisting.
Who Is Eligible to Take the National Certified Medical Assistant Exam?
Before you can take the National Certified Medical Assistant exam, you need to establish your eligibility. The National Center for Competency Testing offers three eligibility routes to taking the test. So if you fulfill one of the following three sets of criteria, you can apply for approval to test:
- Academic Route
- You are a current student or graduate from an authorized medical assistant program
- You have a diploma, certificate of completion, or official transcript to prove that you have successfully graduated (or expect to graduate).
- You have paid the exam fee of $90 (or $135 if you are test appointment is more than six months after your graduation date).
- Work Experience Route
- You have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- You have at least two years (4,160 hours) of full-time work experience as a medical assistant directly supervised by a licensed physician or primary care provider.
- That two years of experience occurred within the past five years
- You have paid the exam fee of $135
- Military Route
- You have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- You have a SMART transcript or a DD214 showing that you successfully finished a formal medical service training program with the United States Armed Forces.
- The SMART transcript or DD214 is dated within the last five years.
- You have paid the exam fee of $90.
National Certified Medical Assistant Practice Test
What Subjects Are Covered on the National Certified Medical Assistant Exam?
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There will be 165 multiple choice questions on the National Certified Medical Assistant exam. That includes 150 questions that will count toward your final results and 15 unscored questions that won’t affect the final tally and are just included because they are being considered for use on future versions of the exam.
The questions will be split up into different categories based on what is most important to know as a medical assistant. Here is an overview of what topics the questions will cover:
- Pharmacology – 13 scored questions
- Infection, exposure control, and safety – 13 scored questions
- Patient care – 19 scored questions
- Phlebotomy – 20 scored questions
- Electrocardiography (ECG) – 9 scored questions
- Diagnostic tests (excluding the ECG) – 7 scored questions
- Communication – 9 scored questions
- Medical office computer applications – 7 scored questions
- Scheduling – 9 scored questions
- Medical records – 14 scored questions
- Medical office general management – 8 scored questions
- Office financial management, billing, insurance – 7 scored questions
- Law and ethics – 8 scored questions
What Score Do I Need to Get to Pass the National Certified Medical Assistant Exam?
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The minimum passing score is reviewed and revised every three years. Currently, the minimum score needed is 430. This is a scaled score but there is no publically available information about what the range of possible scores is. However, the pass rate for first time test takers is only about 60% meaning this exam is no walk in the park. So if you are hoping to pass on your first attempt, you definitely need to put in the study hours, even if you already have tons of academic or professional experience.
You will find out immediately after you complete the exam whether or not you passed. However, you may to wait up to five weeks before your official results arrive. Then, you’ll have to wait another nine weeks before your actual certificate arrives.
How Should I Prepare for the National Certified Medical Assistant Exam?
This is a content driven exam that has been designed to measure the practical knowledge that you actually need to know on the job. That means it’s very important to study because it’s not as easy to just guess the right answer. You really need to understand the procedures and processes.
A great way to review all of that technical information is to pick up a copy of the Mometrix Study Guide. You’ll get a chapter by chapter breakdown of each of the topics you need to understand. Then, you’ll get practice questions to prepare you for the kinds of questions you’ll see on test day.
Pair the guide with the Mometrix Flashcards for the ultimate study session. The flashcards allow you to review the material in a more engaging and interactive way. Plus, they come with extra practice questions and the answer key includes great explanations about why the right answer is right. This way, you’ll even be able to learn from the answers you get wrong!
by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: March 11, 2019