Changes to the National MFT Exam in 2020 

Our team at AATBS is committed to keeping you up to date on changes to the National MFT Exam, in order to help you study most effectively to get your license. For 2020, the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) has made some changes to how they score this test.


New National MFT Exam changes

Beginning in 2020, the National MFT Exam will only have 180 questions. This means every question will now be worth a higher overall percentage of the exam, making it even more important to answer as many questions as you can correctly.

During the exam, you’ll get tested on your clinical skills in six different domain areas of competency. The domains each make up a specific number of questions and percentage in every National MFT Exam.

As of 2020, Domain 1- The Practice of Systemic Therapy, is 43 questions and takes up 24% of the examination. This domain tests how well you can incorporate systemic theory into your clinical work. Domain 2 - Assessing, Hypothesizing, and Diagnosing, looks at your ability to do clinical assessments and is 28 items and 15.5% of the exam.

Domain 3 - Designing and Conducting Treatment, will assess your ability to develop a treatment plan and treatment interventions. This part is 24.5% of the exam and 44 questions. Next, Domain 4 - Evaluating Ongoing Process and Terminating Treatment, consists of 22 questions and 12% of the test. Domain 4 evaluates various clinical abilities around ongoing treatment and treatment termination.

Domain 5 - Managing Crisis Situations, is 10% of the test and 18 questions, measuring your clinical responses during an emergency. Lastly, Domain 6 - Maintaining Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards, takes a look at your understanding of legalities and ethics in the field. Domain 6 asks 25 questions and is 14% of your examination.


How the National MFT Exam is scored

 The National MFT Exam employs a unique system called the modified Angoff Method to score exams. In this method, an expert judges’ panel scores a baseline examination, by rating how many licensed MFTs would score each question on the test correctly. The Examination Advisory Committee compares the National MFT Exam used in each exam to the baseline examination.

Because different versions of the exam will vary slightly in how they compare to the baseline examination, different National MFT Exams will have different passing scores. Therefore, rather than aiming for a specific score, focus your studying on learning as much as possible in all six domains.


Why you should study for the National MFT Exam

Before taking the National MFT Exam, it’s important to study. Without preparation, even excellent therapists struggle with the tricky questions on the test. Intelligent students and clinicians still need to learn how to best take the test, to maximize their chances of passing on the first try. 

Furthermore, when you study, you’ll feel more confident going into the exam. You’re less likely to have severe anxiety when you’re well prepared, and as part of your preparation, you can learn strategies for dealing with nerves or fatigue on exam day. 

Many pre-licensed therapists want to study but aren’t sure what to focus on or what strategies to use. That’s where we come in at AATBS. We offer a wide variety of National MFT exam study materials that prepare you to sail right through the exam.

Most importantly, one of our goals at AATBS is to ensure you get an exam preparation experience that closely simulates taking the National MFT Exam. Preparation courses such as the online TestMaster offer sample questions and practice tests that make it feel like you’re in the examination room on testing day.

For more information about the National MFT Exam and the study materials we offer, go to or reach out and contact us directly.

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