Are you a respiratory therapy student who is preparing for the TMC Exam? If so, you are likely filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness as the exam day approaches.
While the TMC Exam is an important milestone in your career as a respiratory therapist, it can also be a major source of stress and uncertainty.
To help you feel more confident, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what to expect on exam day and how to prepare effectively.
This guide will answer some of the most frequently asked questions from students about the TMC Exam.
Whether you’re looking for information on exam format, content, or scoring, this guide is a valuable resource for anyone ready to prepare for (and pass) the exam.
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TMC Exam FAQs
Discover answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from students concerning the TMC Exam:
What is the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam, also known as the Therapist Multiple-Choice Exam, is a national certification exam for respiratory therapists in the United States.
The exam is designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and competencies of aspiring respiratory therapists and is administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
Successful completion of the TMC Exam is required to practice as a licensed respiratory therapist.
It’s one of two certification exams required to become a registered respiratory therapist (RRT), along with the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE).
What is the Passing Score for the TMC Exam?
The minimum score to earn the certified respiratory therapist (CRT) credential is 86. The minimum score for eligibility to take the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE) is 92.
Therefore, the minimum passing requirement for the low-cut score is 62%. The high-cut passing score is 66%, which makes the candidate eligible to take the CSE for a chance to earn the registered respiratory therapist (RRT) credential.
How Many Questions are on the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam consists of 160 multiple-choice questions that cover a range of topics related to respiratory therapy. This includes:
Note: Although the exam consists of 160 questions in total, only 140 of the questions are scored. The remaining 20 questions are pretest items for experimental purposes.
However, there’s no way to determine which question is scored, so it’s important to treat every question with equal importance and answer each one to the best of your ability.
The exam is designed to test the knowledge and skills required for the effective practice of respiratory therapy, and the questions are based on the latest practices, techniques, and standards in the field.
What is the Time Limit for the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam has a 3-hour time limit.
This is ample time to answer all of the 160 multiple-choice questions, but it’s important to manage your time effectively and not spend too much time on any one question.
Remember: You can always come back to a question later if you need more time to think about it. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam and to practice taking similar exams under timed conditions as part of your preparation.
How to Pass the TMC Exam?
To pass the TMC Exam, you must demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skills related to essential topics outlined by the NBRC.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare and succeed:
- Take Practice Exams
- Practice with TMC Exam Questions
- Know the Exam Rules
- Be Aware of the Time Limit
- Use Your Scratch Paper Wisely
- Read Each Question Carefully
- Use Insider Exam Hacks
- Find Ways to Manage Stress
- Avoid Cramming
- Don’t go at it Alone
We have a full guide that breaks down the best tips for passing the TMC Exam that I highly recommend for all students.
It can increase your chances of success on the exam and help you take an important step toward becoming a registered respiratory therapist.
How Many Times can you Retake the TMC Exam?
Each candidate can attempt the TMC Exam three times without waiting in between attempts. However, after your third attempt, you must wait a minimum of 120 days between subsequent attempts.
Note: If you must retake the TMC Exam, you will need to complete the application process again and pay an application fee for each attempt.
How Much Does it Cost to Take the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam fee is $190 for new applicants and $150 for repeat applicants.
Where Can I Take the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam is administered on Monday through Saturday in more than 300+ testing centers across the United States.
This may exclude nationally recognized holidays.
Once you’re eligible and approved to take the exam, you can schedule your exam date online in an assessment center near you.
Can I Take a Free TMC Practice Exam Online?
Taking practice exams is one of the best ways to prepare for the real thing. They can help you become familiar with the format and types of questions you’ll encounter on the actual TMC Exam.
We have a free TMC practice exam that I highly recommend for all students.
The NBRC also provides a free online practice exam that you should take. Additionally, the NBRC offers a Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) for a fee.
Please don’t underestimate the value of taking practice exams, and make sure to include them as a key component of your study plan for the TMC Exam.
What Topics are on the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of topics related to respiratory care practice. Some examples include:
- Mechanical ventilation
- Airway management
- Patient assessment
- Neonatal/pediatric care
- Pulmonary function testing (PFT)
- Cardiopulmonary monitoring
The exam assesses your understanding of patient evaluation and recommendations, equipment maintenance and quality control, initiation and modification of respiratory interventions, and implementation and monitoring of those interventions.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information you’re required to learn.
That’s why it is essential that you prioritize the most important topics and avoid wasting time studying the wrong things.
We created a video course called TMC Exam Hacks that can help.
When Will I Receive My Exam Scores?
You will receive your exam score and a detailed report moments after completing the exam. You must turn in your scratch paper before the score report is provided.
What are the High Cut and Low Cut Scores for the TMC Exam?
The NBRC established two cut scores for the TMC Exam:
- The low cut score to earn the certified respiratory therapist (CRT) credential is 86/140.
- The high cut score for eligibility to take the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE) is 92/140.
Therefore, if you pass the TMC Exam with a high cut score and then pass the CSE, you will earn the registered respiratory therapist (RRT) credential.
What is the Pass Rate for the TMC Exam?
For new candidates in 2022, the TMC Exam pass rate with a low cut score was 77.3%. The pass rate with the high cut score was 68.1%.
What is the Difference Between a CRT and RRT?
The key difference between a certified respiratory therapist (CRT) and a registered respiratory therapist (RRT) is the level of credential granted by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
- The CRT credential is the entry-level credential for respiratory therapists, requiring the completion of the TMM Exam. After earning the CRT credential, individuals are eligible to take the clinical simulation exam (CSE) to earn the RRT credential.
- The RRT credential is the high-level credential for respiratory therapists and is the highest standard requirement for practicing respiratory care. To earn the RRT credential, individuals must pass the TMC exam with a high-cut score and then pass the CSE.
Note: The RRT credential generally indicates a higher level of knowledge and competency in the field of respiratory therapy and can lead to increased job opportunities and career advancement.
How Long Should I Study for the TMC Exam?
The length of time required to study for the TMC Exam will vary from person to person, and there is no single optimal length of time that works for everyone.
Factors such as prior education, experience, and familiarity with the exam content can all influence the amount of time required to adequately prepare for the exam.
While it’s generally recommended to spend a minimum of two to three months of preparation, candidates may require more or less time depending on their individual circumstances.
Therefore, it’s important to assess your own knowledge and skills, develop a study plan that works for your learning style, and dedicate sufficient time to studying the exam content.
Note: We recommend that you get started as early as possible. One proven method is to begin receiving our daily practice questions via email to learn all the essential topics over time.
What are the Admission Requirements for the TMC Exam?
To be eligible for the TMC Exam, you must be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of an associate degree from a CoARC-accredited respiratory therapy program.
Those with the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) credential are also eligible to take the TMC Exam.
When is the Application Deadline?
There is no application deadline for the TMC Exam. As long as you meet the admission requirements, you can submit your application anytime.
How to Apply for the TMC Exam?
Whether you choose to apply for the TMC Exam online or through a paper application, you must first ensure that you have met the admission requirements.
Applying online and paying the application fee via credit card is the quickest option, with the application being processed immediately.
If you decide to mail in your application and fee, the processing time may take approximately five to seven business days.
How Hard is the TMC Exam?
The TMC Exam is a challenging and comprehensive test that examines the knowledge and skills of individuals seeking to become licensed respiratory therapists.
The exam covers a wide range of topics related to respiratory care and is designed to assess the competency of the candidate.
Overall, the TMC Exam is challenging, but it is a necessary step to uphold high competency standards.
The preparation process requires a combination of hard work, dedication, and the right resources. Our goal is to help make the process easier so that you can earn a passing score on your first (or next) attempt.
By taking the time to familiarize yourself with the information presented in this article, you will be well-equipped and prepared for the TMC Exam whenever that time comes.
From understanding the admission requirements to the cost of the exam and the difference between the CRT and RRT credentials, hopefully, this article has provided information to help you navigate the exam process.
As you prepare for the exam, remember to allow yourself sufficient time to study, utilize our valuable resources, and try to develop strong test-taking skills.
By putting in the necessary time and effort, you can increase your chances of success on the TMC Exam and pursue a fulfilling career as a respiratory therapist.
John Landry, BS, RRT
John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.
- Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). (2021, October 27). The National Board for Respiratory Care.