Free Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist Practice Test

The Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT) exam may be taken by persons age 18 or over who are Certified Respiratory Technicians, Registered Respiratory Technicians, or high school graduates with two or more years of clinical experience in pulmonary function technology. The experience must have been under the direction of a pulmonary function Medical Director. Eligible individuals must have an associate's degree from a respiratory therapy college-level program accredited by either the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. CRTs and RRTs must be credentialed by the NBRC or National Board for Respiratory Care, the issuing agency for the CPFT certification. There are no application deadlines for scheduling the examination, since it may be taken at any scheduled date.

There are a total of 115 multiple-choice questions within the three major content areas of equipment, diagnostic procedures, and data management. Two hours are allotted for completion of the 115 questions.

The test is administered in all fifty states and in various countries around the world. Registration for test availability can be completed online after the appropriate payments have been made.

The content of the CPFT examination is extensive, and a thorough familiarity with current equipment is vital. The registrant must be familiar with the techniques of setting-up, calibrating, and maintaining an array of equipment, such as blood gas analyzers, peak flow meters, and pulmonary breathing measurement devices.

Aside from equipment operation, function, and maintenance, the test taker must answer questions regarding the necessity and performance of the testing procedures. When tests are conducted, the CPFT must vouch for the validity of the results and manage the data appropriately.

Data management includes a familiarity with reference ranges and the accurate extrapolation of results. The CPFT must have control over laboratory management practices to ensure patient and client satisfaction.

Immediately after taking the exam online, the candidate will receive pass/fail results from the exam administrators. Raw scores will also be reported for multiple-choice examinees. The entry-level passing score for this exam is a composite scaled score of 75.

CPFT Practice Questions

1. A young adult with a history of chronic lung disease is being evaluated for cystic fibrosis. Which of the following findings are consistent with that diagnosis?

1. Reduced FVC
2. Increased airflow rates
3. High ratio of RV to TLC
4. Increased pulmonary diffusing capacity

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 1, 3, and 4

2. A patient has an FEV1/FVC ratio of 45%. The patient's flow volume (FV) curve is displayed below.

Which of the following is most likely true?

  1. The patient is a child.
  2. The patient has a restrictive pulmonary disorder.
  3. The patient has an obstructive pulmonary disorder.
  4. The patient is an older adult with normal lung function.

3. A patient's external pulse oximeter is showing a decrease in SpO2 to 80% although the patient does not appear to be in respiratory distress. The first step should be to

  1. request arterial blood gases.
  2. reposition the pulse oximeter.
  3. replace the pulse oximeter.
  4. place the pulse oximeter on the opposite side.

4. When administering a 12-lead ECG, where is lead V2 applied?

  1. 4th intercostal space on left side of sternum
  2. 4th intercostal space on right side of sternum
  3. 5th intercostal space at midclavicular line
  4. 5th intercostal space at anterior axillary line

5. The technologist is performing pulmonary function tests on a 40-year-old patient with asthma. Findings could include:

1. increased or normal FVC.
2. decreased FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and DLCO.
3. decreased or normal FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and RAW (resistance).
4. increased FRC and RAW.

Which of these findings are consistent with asthma?

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 1, 2, and 4


1. A: Cystic fibrosis is characterized by reduced FVC and a high ratio of RV to TLC related to air trapping as well as reduced airflow rates and reduced TLC. Hypoxemia is often present, and compensatory respiratory acidosis may occur with chronic disease. Cystic fibrosis (mucoviscidosis) is a progressive congenital disease that particularly affects the pancreas and lungs. It is caused by a genetic defect that affects sodium chloride movement in cells, including mucosal cells that line the lungs, causing the production of thick mucus that clogs the lungs and provides a rich medium for bacteria.

2. C: The combination of low FEV1/FVC ratio and the depressed, scooped FV curve are indicative of obstructive disease. Older adults may exhibit some scooping, but the FEV1 values should be in a more normal range. A normal FEV1/FVC ratio is usually between 75% and 85% although older adults may have somewhat lower ratios and children slightly higher. With restrictive disease, the ratio usually remains within normal limits or is increased because of increased elastic recoil; the curve is typically higher than with obstructive disease and with less extension.

3. B: If SpO2 falls, the oximeter should be repositioned, as incorrect position is a common cause of inaccurate readings. The oximeter uses light waves to determine oxygen saturation (SpO2). Pulse oximetry, continuous or intermittent, utilizes an external oximeter that attaches to the patient's finger or earlobe to measure arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2), the percentage of hemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen. Oxygen saturation should be maintained >95% although some patients with chronic respiratory disorders, such as COPD may have lower SpO2. Results may be compromised by impaired circulation, excessive light, poor positioning, and nail polish.

4. A: With a 12-lead ECG, 10 electrodes are applied: 6 precordial leads (V1-V6) on the chest and 4 limb leads, 1 on each arm and leg. Lead V1 is at the 4th intercostal space to the right of the sternum and V2 directly across at the 4th intercostal space to the left of the sternum. Lead V4 is at the 5th intercostal space at the midclavicular line with V5 at the same space but at the anterior axillary line. V3 is between leads V2 and V4 in the 4th intercostal space. V6 is at 5th intercostal space at the midaxillary line.

5. D: These findings are consistent with asthma: Increased or normal FVC, increased FRC and RAW, and decreased FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and DLCO.
Asbestosis: Decreased FVC, FRC, and DLCO and decreased or normal FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and RAW.
Bronchitis: Increased FRC and RAW and decreased FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and DLCO.
Emphysema: Increased FRC and RAW and decreased FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and DLCO.
Sarcoidosis: Decreased FVC, FRC, and DLCO and decreased or normal FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and RAW.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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