How Many Times Can You Take The TMC Exams?


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As healthcare professionals, respiratory therapists must possess the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective patient care. The Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) Exam is one of the most important assessments for respiratory therapists, as it determines your eligibility for licensure and certification. So, it is a challenging test that requires extensive preparation. 

Knowing how many times you can take the TMC exam helps you plan your preparation to improve your chances of success. This article will explore the frequency with which you can take the TMC exam and provide helpful strategies for improving your score.

What is the TMC Exam?

The TMC Exam, or the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination, is a standardized test for individuals seeking to become Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs) or Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs). 

The NBRC (National Board for Respiratory Care) is responsible for evaluating the competency of respiratory therapists. They ensure that graduates of accredited respiratory care education programs have the opportunity to earn the RRT credential. 

The TMC Exam is a computer-based test that assesses the knowledge and skills required for respiratory therapists to provide safe and effective patient care. It consists of 160 multiple-choice questions and covers patient assessment, mechanical ventilation, oxygen therapy, pharmacology, and patient education. This exam assesses the abilities required of respiratory therapists at the entry level. It determines eligibility for the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE).

What are the requirements for writing the TMC?

The RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential is widely recognized as the “standard of excellence” for respiratory care professionals. Thus, it measures the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of advanced respiratory therapists and is in high demand nationwide. 

If you’re interested in registering for the TMC Exam, there are a few important criteria that you need to meet. First, you must have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited respiratory therapy education program.

Secondly, you must be a citizen of the United States, Canada, or one of its territories, protectorates, or a foreign graduate of an accredited CoARC (Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care) program.

Thirdly, you must hold a valid state license or be eligible for state licensure in respiratory therapy. You must also have current CPR certification from a recognized provider. Finally, you must complete the application process and pay the required fees to the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

The CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) and RRT credentials serve as the basis for licensure in all 49 states that regulate the practice of respiratory care. Therefore, you must earn the CRT or RRT credential to become a licensed respiratory therapist in any of these states.

How many times can you take the TMC Exam?

NBRC has implemented new policies regarding waiting periods and attempt limits for credentialing examinations, including the Therapist Multiple Choice Examination (TMC Exam). According to the new policy, candidates may attempt the TMC Exam up to three times in a single year, after which they will be required to wait a minimum of 120 days before any subsequent attempts.

This policy is in place to safeguard the integrity and value of NBRC credentials and ensure that candidates pass the exams based on their knowledge and skills rather than familiarity with the exam questions.

How to improve your TMC Exam score the next time

Before deciding to retake the TMC exam, you must evaluate your preparation and determine whether you need more time to study. Rushing into retaking the exam without proper preparation may result in a lower score, negatively affecting your confidence and career prospects.

Additionally, retaking the exam too many times can be expensive and may affect your reputation as a therapist. If you did not pass the TMC exam the first time around, here are several steps you can take to improve your score the next time you take the exam:

  1. Identify your weaknesses: Review your previous exam results and identify the areas where you struggled. Make a list of the topics you need to focus on the most and use this to guide your study plan. You can also access your current standing here.
  2. Evaluate your learning style: Determine your learning style, and use study strategies that work best for you. For example, if you are a visual learner, use diagrams, charts, and videos to help you understand concepts better.
  3. Create a study plan: Develop a study plan that includes a timeline, resources, and study strategies. Use materials such as textbooks, practice exams, online courses, and study groups to help you prepare. You can get the perfect study plan here.
  4. Use practice exams: Practice exams can help you familiarize yourself with the format of the TMC exam and identify areas where you need more practice. Take as many practice exams as possible and review your answers thoroughly to understand your mistakes. You can take the free practice exam here.
  5. Review your notes: Review your respiratory therapy program notes and refresh your memory on important concepts and topics.
  6. Use active learning strategies: Use active learning strategies such as teaching the material to someone else. Active learning can help you retain information better.
  7. Manage your time: Develop a time management strategy that allows you to balance your studying with your other responsibilities. Make sure you schedule time for breaks, exercise, and relaxation.
  1. Take care of yourself: Take care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating healthy food. Stress can negatively impact your ability to learn and perform, so prioritize self-care.


The TMC exam is a critical step in becoming a certified respiratory therapist. Knowing how many times you can take the exam is essential to plan your preparation and increase your chances of success. Before retaking the exam, evaluating your readiness and considering the factors affecting your performance is critical. Also, implement effective strategies to help you achieve your goals. Remember, success requires hard work, commitment, and perseverance. Good luck!