FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Family Solutions Institute began as a post-graduate training program in the Boston area in 1992, actually training new and experienced in MFTs in an integrative clinical model of MFT that matched MFT models with family type and therapist’s Personal Boundary Profile. Faculty were all Core-faculty at the Kantor Family Institute, a COAMFTE accredited post-graduate training program, teaching a comprehensive 3 year post-Masters Certification Program while training master’s program students from Northeastern University, Boston University, Boston College, Harvard University, UMASS, Mass. School of Professional Psychology and Tufts University graduate programs.

When the AMFTRB exam was introduced in 1993, we worked with specific feedback from  AMFTRB exam creator, Bob Lee, PhD  to create a program that blended the FSI training model with the constraints imposed by a multiple choice exam testing systemic thinking. FSI faculty created our study materials and online resources through our experience as AAMFT Approved Supervisors and Directors of Family Therapy Training Program who have taught in the field for 35 plus years and continue to  train MFTs.  We know how to translate our training to your preparation for this very difficulty exam.

We know Marriage and Family Therapy and most importantly, we know the AMFTRB Exam.  FSI faculty practice Marriage and Family Therapy to this day and are current the the field’s evolution, let alone the AMFTRB Exam changes over the years.

While there are many companies and individuals that claim to be the best test prep company to work with and some do have materials that can be helpful in your preparation, many make promises and offer guarantees that are to good to be true.  Programs that guarantee that you will pass the exam should quickly be ruled out.  Family Solutions does not guarantee you will pass the exam.  It is impossible to make such a claim.  We do guarantee that we will stick with you thought your journey to pass this exam as our Testimonials attest to.

California had a MFT exam long before the National AMFTRB exam was created, hence there are many California based exam prep companies that have retooled their California materials for the National AMFTRB exam, sometimes simply renaming the materials or program as now for the National MFT Exam.  The California MFT exam is not the same as National AMFTRB exam so be careful if using CA exam based materials as they do not adequately prepare you for the AMFTRB exam.

Many of the test prep companies prepare people for multiple licensing exams. Family Solutions does not prepare people for social work, psychology, mental health counselor licensing exams.  We are experts in the AMFTRB exam put all our resources towards helping you with just this exam. You get our full attention when you work with Family Solutions Institute!

Other prep materials claim that a set of flash cards is sufficient to pass the exam, or set of study cards.  At Family Solutions, we know for fact this is not the case.

Some prep programs that offer online exams and lectures are based on social work and presenters do not seem to actually know the model they are speaking about, reading from sheets of paper.  Take a peek at the Virtual Workshop sample to see the difference in both content and quality of presentation to help you make an informed decision.

Finally, to get a sense of how we support our students and the difference of working with Family Solutions, you could also visit our Testimonials or call us directly and speak with Rob Guise, Family Solutions’ Founder at 617.522.6701.  Rob is always available to answer your questions and help you chart a course of study to pass!

Registration for the AMFTRB National licensing exam is managed by each state’s regulatory agency. Check the AMFTRB’s web site at: www.amftrb.org. You can also call your state’s agency that regulates MFT’s. This is usually something like a “Division of Professional Regulation” of the Secretary of State’s office, although some times it is put in a Department of Public Health. If you can’t find the agency, check one of the above web sites and/or call the information line for your state government. It’s often the same agency that regulates Psychologists and Social Workers. You can also check with the officers of your state’s Division of the AAMFT. Visit aamft.org and/or call the AAMFT 202-452-0109 in Washington, DC.

No.You have to apply to your state MFT regulatory agency to be admitted to the exam. You will receive confirmation from the state’s regulatory board directly. Registration for a FSI Workshop does not simultaneously register you for your MFT Licensing/AMFTRB exam. FSI has no official connection to any state’s regulatory system.

Licensure requirements are set by each state in the U.S. individually. All states with the exception of California use the AMFTRB exam and the material provided by Family Solutions can also be very helpful in your preparation even for the California exam.

Check your own state’s licensing regulations. In general, qualifications mirror requirements for Clinical Membership at AAMFT. If you meet the educational requirements for Clinical Membership you should qualify. The number of approved supervision hours, the standards for approved supervision and direct contact hours can vary from state to state. Some states will permit you to sit for the exam after completing your educational requirements, even though you have not yet met all of your clinical and/or supervision requirements. FSI strongly recommends you take this option if it is available to you. It works best for most people, to take the exam as close to their educational training as possible.

Picture your task as having 4 steps : Needs assessment, Planning, Collecting and organizing materials, and
Studying or practicing. In addition, passing the exam requires 2 basic skill areas: Content of the MFT field and Standardized test-taking strategies.

The first 3 preparation steps (assessment, planning and organizing) you will need for both skill sets. In place of studying, which applies to content areas, test-taking strategies can be developed by taking practice exams. No one should take the MFT license exam without having taken at least 2 carefully designed practice tests which correctly simulate the actual exam.

FSI recommends that you begin studying anywhere from 4 months to a full year prior to sitting for the exam, depending on how long you’ve been out of school and your general knowledge of the current models of MFT. You should organize your preparation and budget your time to be consistent. As you get closer to the exam, you should allocate approximately 3-4 hours/week. Aim for somewhere in the vicinity of 75-150 hours of total study time.

Detailed preparation strategies are discussed at the FSI Workshops, are explained in the FSI Study Guide and are available from FSI faculty directly. FSI’s Intensive Track preparation package includes consultation with senior FSI faculty.

First of all, get in touch with FSI. We may be able to help you figure out why you failed. If you are a previous FSI Workshop participant, call your FSI faculty member and discuss the situation. If not, you may want to consider registering for an FSI Workshop.We will help find your weak areas of preparation and help you strengthen them.

Also, if you have already taken an FSI workshop you are automatically eligible to re-take the Workshop one more time for a nominal materials charge, which is usually about $100.00.

Second, you should plan to take the exam again. Get in touch with your state regulatory agency and register to take it as soon as possible, taking into consideration the additional preparation you will need to do. Most states allow you to retake the exam 2-3 times. It will cost you to take the exam again, but your career and confidence in yourself are worth it.

The exam is difficult and changes somewhat each time it is offered. Read our testimonials and discussion forum threads for more details. Generally, many people say the exam was harder than they expected, while some do say it was easier. Almost everyone says it is more a test of academic knowledge in the MFT field, rather than being a good measure of clinical skills.

As the exam questions are kept confidential by AMFTRB it is impossible to tell exactly what questions will be on your exam. Certain patterns exist which is how we at FSI can help you prepare for this exam. The exam questions are multiple choice in format, with many clinical vignettes that you need to understand. Most candidates use the full 4 hours allotted for the exam.

Yes. If you visit www.amftrb.org you can find a wealth of information about exam questions as well as a few sample questions. Both FSI’s “paper-and-pencil” practice exams, as well as our software simulated exams, offer practice questions for you to become familiar with as you study for the exam. Don’t take the exam without first taking a few sample simulated exams.

The purpose of exam is to provide a consistent and quantifiable measure of the licensure candidate’s knowledge level. The AMFTRB has established a knowledge level for licensure as being reflecting “entry level in the field of marriage and family therapy.” For more detailed information regarding the exam’s purpose, please explore the following, http://www.amftrb.org/download.htm.

The exam was created in a collaboration between AMFTRB and PES (Professional Exam Services). AMFTRB has a sub-committee which is responsible for developing exam “items”. This committee meets a number of times per year and follows a carefully designed protocol to develop questions. The exam was not created by AAMFT and has no official relationship to AAMFT or any other professional association.

At the time of the initial creation of the exam, about 1992, the field of MFT was divided into 48 areas of knowledge (now known as the Knowledge Domains) and clinical practice skills, (now known as Practice Domains). Experts in each Knowledge Domain were identified from among senior MFT’s. Each of these experts wrote questions in their area after being trained in the construction of standardized test questions. In 2005, this number was increased to 56 and Family Solutions updated all our study materials to include the changes.

Each question is scored along three criteria: Its importance to the field, the level of knowledge that it tests and its validity. Only those questions meeting guidelines for all three criteria are kept. Originally a bank of about 800 questions was created. Since that time, 100 to 200 new questions are added each year. There are currently about 1500 questions in the PES / MFT exam database.

The exam does seem to be hardest for those out of school the longest. Nevertheless, try to not to panic! Get organized instead.

While there is an enormous amount of material that you are responsible for showing competence in, this test is passable. It does, however, require structure and diligence on your part and the development of a study plan. You could look over the AMFTRB Knowledge and Practice Domains and try to assemble all your old notebooks and texts and put together what materials you have and a list of those additional ones you believe you need to get, or, you can let us help you. We have created a specific study plan included in our Study Guide, as well as many other materials – essentially everything you will need to study and pass.

Call us and let us help you get started.  We are always happy to speak with you and help you formulate a study plan.  Even though AMFTRB reports that a bit over 1:2 people pass the AMFTRB exam the first time, Family Solutions has helped over 60,000 successfully prepare for this exam over the past 27 years, we can certainly help you pass.

FSI has developed specific strategies for those people that historically have not done well on standardized tests or have learning disabilities. Ask us how we might help you personally if this is the case. FSI’s Workshops raise exam candidates test scores considerably. Those least experienced and expert with standardized tests tend to gain the most from the Workshops.

It will not necessarily help and many say it is actually a hindrance. However, if you have practiced according to some of the currently accepted principles of the MFT field you may find some number of questions relatively easy for you. However, keep in mind that this is primarily an examination that tests knowledge more than clinical intuition.

Years of clinical practice tend to distance us from the kind of intellectual hair-splitting and knowledge-based questions which are on the exam. Most clinicians are busy enough “being present” and responding to interpersonal cues that arise in a face-to-face therapy session, rather than being primarily focused on concepts.

In our Workshops, FSI faculty help participants TEMPORARILY “unlearn” some of their own preferred clinical practices, and instead learn to think in terms of the MFT field more generally. As practicing MFTs, supervisors and trainers, all of our faculty are specifically trained to help you with your particular needs. Tell us what they are and we will help you come up with a plan of study.

One of the keys to Family Solutions being so successful with helping you pass the exam is our specific strategy to address translating years of solid clinical experience into the right exam taking stance.  Feel free to call us to learn more about the FSI approach to this potential dilemma.

Since its inception, the AMFTRB exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions, with 4 answers to choose from.  As of January, 2020 the AMFTRB exam has been reduced to 180 multiple choice questions. You still have 4 hours to complete the exam which translates to 1 min./20 seconds per question. The exam is administered under strictly controlled conditions, much like a TSA search at the airport. Many questions are based upon clinical vignettes, some interwoven basing your response on the previous question.  Increasingly, there is a shift towards questions that speak to what FSI refers to as the Generic Model of Family Therapy.

A candidate has 4 hours to complete the exam. We have heard of extensions being granted to those with special needs.

Importantly, over the course of the 4 hours of testing, examinees generally change how they approach questions. Some people tire and become less careful, while others gain or lose confidence. It is important to take a number of practice exams to see how you handle the lengthy session.

The FSI Workshop teaches participants test-taking strategies which include a disciplined approach to each question, over the course of the entire exam.

Computer based testing was instituted in November, 2001. Only basic computer skills are necessary to take the exam.  You will be sitting with people taking a variety of exams on separate computer stations, typically in a large room with a proctor.  Ear plugs may be helpful to reduce distractions.

When you register for the exam with your state board, they will give you details of where and when you may take the exam. The AMFTRB has contracted with Professional Testing Corporation which has numerous locations in each state. You must take the exam at one of these centers during one of the monthly available windows each year.

Family Solutions offers unlimited access 90 day subscriptions to our online practice  exams to simulate your actual exam experience.  The difference though  is that you receive specific feedback through a cumulative Progress Report that highlights your strengths and weaknesses and points you to content you need to continue to work on.  Take the FSI exam as many times as you like during your subscription as this will reduce your Test Taking Anxiety, a key to successfully passing this difficult test.

The exam is now offered  through testing windows each month, so 12 times a year. You must first apply for permission to take the exam through your state board of licensing. You can locate your state board here: Find my state licensing board

Once your application is approved by your state board, you will be instructed to contact the Professional Testing Corporation to  make an appointment to take the exam at a testing site of your choosing. For more information, you can review the 2020 AMFTRB Marital and Family Therapy National Examination Handbook for Candidates

The quick answer is no.  However, you can leave snacks in a locker and take a break to replenish yourself during your exam but remember, the clock is still runnin!