Students have already had major success by using our TMC Study Guide. It makes learning the material easy because the language is written in a tone that isn’t boring like your textbooks. And it’s offered at a fraction of the cost of the other study guides out there. Interested in passing the TMC Exam on your first try? Click Here to check it out!

Are you getting ready to prepare for the TMC Exam? In this article, we discuss what the TMC Exam is and how to best prepare for it. We cover the exam rules (what’s allowed and what’s not), as well as a few tips and tricks to help you along the way.

The TMC Exam or Therapist Multiple Choice Examination is known to be one of the most difficult exams to pass in all of the medical field. I’ll be honest with you, you’re going to have to work your tail off. But with the right guidance, it doesn’t have to be all that bad.

About the TMC Exam

The TMC Exam has a total of 160 questions. 140 of them are actual questions that will be graded, while the other 20 questions are just experimental questions for future exams. It is impossible to tell which questions are which, so you much try equally as hard on each and every question.

The TMC Examination is broken into two threshold scores, the low-cut and high-cut. If you pass with the low-cut score, you will be rewarded the CRT credential. If you pass with the high-cut score, you will be rewarded the CRT credential, and you will also now be eligible to sit for the Clinical Simulation Exam. Then, if you pass the Clinical Simulation Exam, you will be rewarded your RRT credential.

TMC Exam Rules

The test is fully computer-based and you will have three hours to take the exam. Do not spend too much time on difficult questions that you do not know the answer right away. Skip them, for now, and you can come back to them later. In your final analysis, though, it is better to guess or at least pick something than to leave the question unanswered.

You have 3 hours to complete the exam.

You will not be able to bring a calculator to use for the exam. A pencil and a sheet of scratch paper will be provided for you. No outside notes or books are allowed. You must return your scratch paper after completing the exam.

No personal belongings are allowed in the testing area. You will need to leave them in your car.

You may leave the testing area at any time to stretch or use the restroom. Keep in mind, though, that your test timer will not stop.

Be on time. If you arrive more than fifteen minutes late, you will not be admitted to take the exam.

You will need to show two forms of identification, with at least one showing a current photograph. Both forms must be current and must include a signature. Forms that are accepted include:

  • Driver’s license
  • State I.D. card
  • Valid passport
  • Military I.D. card

Choose the best answer

The TMC Exam is composed of multiple choice questions with four possible answers: A, B, C, and D. So you must select the BEST of the four answers. That’s right, unfortunately, there may potentially be two answers that could be interpreted as correct. According to the evil NBRC, it’s expected that you will be able to select the best answer of the two. Most of the questions, however, will distinctly have one answer that is clearly the correct choice.

Preparing for the Exam

Plan your study time wisely. You should begin studying months preferably, but at the least, weeks before the exam. Set up a schedule if you have to. Just make sure you keep track of how much time you have left before you take the exam and don’t let time slip away.

Practice with real-life exam questions

This is an excellent strategy to help you learn and understand all the information that is required of you. Going through many test questions was very helpful to me. You can use our TMC Test Bank which has over 1000 questions exactly like the ones you will see on the exam. It also includes the answers, along with detailed rationales explaining why each answer is correct. 

Practicing with practice questions is one of the best ways to prepare for this exam!

Also, we have a free TMC Practice Exam on our website that you should definitely take. It mimics the real thing and is another a great tool for preparation. 

Pace yourself during the exam

You need to make sure you have enough time to get through all the questions. I struggled with this because I ran out of time when I took the exam. I had to go through and guess on about 8-10 questions that I had skipped as the last few seconds ticked away on the timer. Fortunately, I was able to answer enough questions correctly already to pass with the high-cut score. That is why I want to stress this to you, so you can do a better job than I did.

You should shoot for about 55 questions per hour. This should give enough time to answer every question and look over those you aren’t sure about. The computer software will allow you to “bookmark” any questions that you want to skip and revisit.

Use your scratch paper wisely

This strategy is crucial. Before you start your exam, you will have to opportunity to write out anything you want onto the scratch paper they provide for you. You will definitely want to take advantage of this. For instance, I made a drawing of the ‘lung box’ on my scratch paper and was able to use it all throughout the test to answers questions about PFTs. Also, there was a list of several normal values for mechanical ventilation weaning that I wrote out to refer to during the exam.

Just figure out the information that would be useful to YOU. This will be different for everyone. Look over one last time before you enter the testing center and make sure you have it memorized. Then before you begin your test, write it out on your scratch paper to refer to throughout the entire exam. This tip is crucial.

Read each question carefully

It’s natural for us to want to skim the question and rush to select an answer, especially when your brain is tired. You must focus and completely read each question AND answer carefully. You will be able to eliminate at least two choices most of the time.

Interpret only the important data

The NBRC at times will try to throw you off by including information that is irrelevant to the question. Make sure to disregard the unimportant information that does not pertain to the question being asked.

Answer every question

Again, I just want to remind you to answer every question before you submit the exam. It’s okay to skip a question you aren’t sure of to come back to it. But before you hit submit, make sure you at least make a guess because it won’t count against you.

To make it simple for you, if you don’t know the answer, just pick C. Or any other letter option of your choosing. 

Focus on the most heavily tested subjects

You can go through our online course, Hacking the TMC Exam to pinpoint exactly what information you should study the most. This is the best way to get an idea of exactly what information you will see on the test. In the course, I share my absolute best tips, tricks, and insights that we learned while taking and passing the exam. It’s what I used to pass the exam and I want to share it with you so that you can do the same. 

Also, you can review this chart for an estimate of the number of questions for each subject:

ChapterNumber of Questions% of Exam
Patient Assessment129
Infection Control43
Arterial Blood Gases107
Advanced Cardiopulmonary Monitoring43
Oxygen and Medical Gas Therapy107
Hyperinflation Therapy21
Humidity and Aerosol Therapy86
Airway Clearance Therapy32
Cardiac Monitoring and CPR54
Airway Management107
Mechanical Ventilation3827
Home Care and Pulmonary Rehab43
Special Procedures54
Cardiopulmonary Pathology21

Do not Cram!

Try not to cram all the information into your brain a few days before the exam. Especially not the night before. Unfortunately, if you do not know the information by now, then these final few hours probably aren’t going to make that big of a difference. This test requires more time to truly learn and understand all of the information because the questions are application-based, meaning you must apply what you know. Again, shoot for at least two months to fully prepare for the TMC Exam.

Prepare your body and mind

This means you should get a good night’s rest and eat a good dinner. Don’t overdo it with the caffeine. Stick with your normal dose. For me, that’s usually one cup of coffee. Trust me, you will have plenty of adrenaline running through your body as you get ready to begin.

Also, avoid sleeping pills the night before (unless this is normal for you), because you definitely don’t want to oversleep or wake up feeling groggy.


And last but not least, don’t forget to relax! You will have just worked your tail off throughout Respiratory Therapy school. You passed all your classes and graduated college. Give yourself some credit here for a job well done!

Go into the exam with the attitude that you are about to crush it because you are! You will be well-prepared and you know it, so be confident in yourself.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Now you know how to adequately prepare for the TMC Exam. It’s my goal to help you pass on your very first attempt and I know you can do it! 

Use the materials that we have available for you and go into the exam with a confident, positive attitude and you’ll earn your RRT credentials before you know it. Work hard. Study harder. It will all pay off in the end. I wish you the best of luck as you study and prepare, and as always; breathe easy my friend!

TMC Study Guide

The TMC Exam doesn’t have to be all that hard. Do like many other students and use our TMC Study Guide to pass the exam on your very next attempt.