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Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Review & Study Guide

Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the RMA Exam the First Time

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In a recent post, we outlined a few of the best Medical Assistant certifications for MAs who wish to advance their careers. We also covered some of the benefits to becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, which can include higher wages, increased job stability, and a positive career outlook.

To help current and aspiring Medical Assistants achieve their goals, we are launching a series of test-prep tips and study guides for the various certifications we covered in our previous installment.

(Click here to learn how to become a Medical Assistant).

This study guide will focus on the RMA, which stands for the Registered Medical Assistant credential. The RMA exam is administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT), an organization that has certified healthcare professionals since 1939! They can also provide you with continuing education, career development, and support opportunities.

If you are considering certification as an RMA, we created this guide to offer you a roadmap to success while preparing for the exam.

How to Pass the RMA (AMT) Certification Exam

Our comprehensive RMA study plan will cover the following questions and topics:

  • What is the RMA exam?
  • How do you pass the RMA?
  • What is on the RMA exam?
  • Is the RMA exam hard to pass?
  • The RMA exam requirements.
  • RMA exam sample questions.
  • General tips and test strategies for passing the RMA
  • Information on RMA test results.
  • What to do on exam day.

But first, let’s begin with a brief refresher…

What Is the RMA Exam?

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The Registered Medical Assistant (AMT) credential attests that a candidate has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely practice as a Medical Assistant.

This credential is awarded to applicants who pass the RMA Certification Exam.

How to Apply for the RMA Exam

Applicants who meets one of the AMT’s eligibility routes must complete the following steps to apply for the RMA Exam:

Step 1. Determine your eligibility to take the exam.

Step 2: Submit your application and fee online.

Step 3: Prepare for the exam by utilizing AMT study resources.

Step 4: Take the exam after you receive approval from AMT.

You can learn more about each of these steps here.

RMA Exam Requirements

What Are the Requirements to Take the RMA Exam?

The AMT’s RMA requirements can vary depending on your situation. Each applicant must meet one of the following qualification routes from the AMT.

Route 1: Education

  • People in this category include recent or scheduled graduates, either from an accredited MA program or a program that is housed within an accredited institution.
  • You must have received 720 hours of instruction, which includes at least 160 hours of an externship.

Route 2: Military

  • In this category, you would be a recent graduate—or scheduled to graduate—from a formal medical services training program of the United States Armed Forces.
  • You must have received 720 hours of instruction, which includes at least 160 hours of an externship.

Route 3: Work Experience

  • You meet his requirement if you’ve been employed as a Medical Assistant for a minimum of five of the last seven years (with no more than two of those years as an instructor in a post-secondary MA program).
  • Your experience must include both clinical and administrative duties.
  • To be eligible, you would have worked full-time at 40 hours/week (a part-time combination isn’t allowed).

Route 4: Instructor

You fall into this category if you are…

  • Currently instructing in an accredited Medical Assisting program.
  • Shall have completed a course of instruction in a healthcare discipline related to Medical Assisting.
  • Shall have a minimum of five years of full-time teaching experience in a Medical Assisting discipline that includes both clinical and administrative competencies.
  • If you are an applicant who has less than five years of teaching experience (but more than one year), you must provide documentation of at least three years of full-time clinical work experience in a healthcare profession.

What Is on the RMA Exam?

Certification with the AMT can be a great step for your career, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you plan ahead and set aside time to study, you should have no problem passing on your first attempt.

Furthermore, AMT provides plenty of study resources, such as: a practice exam, review course, and reference material. Their mission is to help applicants succeed, so it’s best to take advantage of all their resources. (Note: Some of these services require a fee.)

The AMT also provides a detailed content outline for the exam. It highlights the following major categories of the test:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology / Number of items: 46
    • A. Body Systems
      • Identify the structure and function of various systems
      • Disorders and diseases
      • Wellness and nutrition
    • B. Medical Terminology
      • Identify word parts—root, prefixes, and suffixes
      • Define medical terms
      • Common abbreviations and symbols
      • Spell medical terms accurately
      • Define terminology associated with specialty examinations
  1. Administrative Medical Assisting / Number of items: 75
    • A. Insurance
      • Terminology
      • Plans
      • Claims
      • Coding
      • Insurance finance applications
    • B. Financial Bookkeeping
      • Terminology
      • Patient billing
      • Collections
      • Fundamental medical office accounting procedures
      • Banking procedures
      • Employee payroll
      • Financial mathematics
    • C. Medical Receptionist / Secretarial / Clerical
      • Reception
      • Scheduling
      • Oral and written communication
      • Records and chart management
      • Transcription and dictation
      • Supplies and equipment management
      • Computer applications
      • Office safety
    • D. Medical Law and Ethics
      • Medical law
      • Licensure, certification, and registration
      • Terminology
      • Principles of medical ethics and ethical conduct
    • E. Human Relations
      • Patient relations
      • Interpersonal relations
  1. Clinical Medical Assisting / Number of items: 83
    • A. Asepsis
      • Terminology
      • Bloodborne pathogens and universal precautions
      • Medical asepsis
      • Surgical asepsis
    • B. Sterilization
      • Terminology
      • Sanitization
      • Disinfection
      • Record keeping
    • C. Instruments
      • Identification
      • Instrument use
      • Care and handling
    • D. Laboratory Procedures
      • Safety
      • Clinical laboratory improvement amendments of 1988 (CLIA ‘88)
      • Quality control program
      • Laboratory equipment
      • Terminology
    • E. Minor Surgery
      • Surgical supplies
      • Surgical procedures
  1. Clinical Patient Interaction / Number of items: 58
    • A. Patient Education
      • Patient instruction
      • Patient resource materials
      • Documentation
    • B. Vital Signs and Measurements
      • Terminology
      • Blood pressure
      • Pulse
      • Respiration
      • Temperature
      • Patient measurement
    • C. Physical Examinations
      • Medical history
      • Patient positions
      • Methods of examination
      • Specialty examinations
      • Visual acuity
    • D. Clinical Pharmacology
      • Terminology
      • Parenteral medications
      • Prescriptions
      • Drugs
      • Allergy
    • E. Therapeutic Modalities
      • Modalities
      • Alternative therapies
      • Patient instruction
    • F. Laboratory Procedures
      • Laboratory testing and specimen collection
    • G. Electrocardiography
      • Standard, 12-lead electrocardiogram
      • Mounting techniques
      • Other electrocardiographic procedures
    • H. First Aid, CPR, and Emergency Response
      • First aid procedures
      • Legal responsibilities
      • CPR procedures

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What Is the Best Way to Prepare for the RMA (AMT)?

To help you prepare for the RMA (AMT) exam, let’s begin by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the exam itself.

When can you schedule a testing administration time?

When your AMT certification application is complete and all required information has been received by the AMT certification processing department, you’ll receive an email directing you to your homepage on the AMT website. It will also advise you to access your authorization letter containing a toll-free number. You can then contact Pearson VUE to schedule a date and time to take your examination.

Appointments may also be scheduled or changed online at Any changes to your scheduled exam time must be made no later than 24 hours BEFORE the scheduled time of your exam.

How frequently is the RMA test administered?

Tests are available nearly every day of the year except Sundays and Holidays. Contact Pearson VUE for the days and hours of operation for individual testing centers.

How much time do you have to complete the RMA exam?

You’ll have two hours to complete this exam.

How many questions are on the RMA exam?

The computerized exam consists of about 200 to 262 questions covering topic areas that are listed in the RMA (AMT) Certification exam outline.

What is the passing score for the RMA exam?

According to Test-Guide, the passing score for the exam is a 70. It’s a scaled score—based on a range of 0 to 100—and “does not equate to a percentage of questions answered correctly.”

How much does it cost to take the CMA exam?

The RMA exam costs $120.

Fees are non-refundable and include the application, exam, and first annual fee. There is an additional fee of $90 if you need to retake the exam.

How long should you study for the RMA exam?

It really depends on you. Some people require more time to study, while others prefer to take the exam right after they graduate from their Medical Assisting program. In general, you should likely set aside at least one month to study for the exam.

When do you receive your RMA exam results?

Your score is displayed moments after completing your test and the printed report is provided to you before leaving the testing center. The AMT suggests that you retain a copy of this document for your records.

How long is your RMA application good for?

The application is considered active for one year from the date of receipt.

RMA Test Prep

RMA Sample Quiz Questions

A woman taking notes in a virtual classroom

To help you gauge some of the topics on the exam, we compiled a few sample questions taken directly from Test-Guide’s online practice test.

(You can find the answers to these questions at the bottom of the article).

  1. Which of these can be reported to relevant authorities without a patient’s consent?

a) HIV status

b) Illegal narcotics in bloodstream

c) Gunshot wound

d) Blood alcohol level

  1. Tachypnea is generally defined as a patient taking more than how many breaths per minute?

a) 20

b) 25

c) 15

d) 30

  1. Which of the following would be a categorized as a flat bone?

a) Vertebrae

b) Metatarsals

c) Femur

d) Scapula

e) Mandible

  1. What does the word “antenatal” mean?

a) After birth

b) During birth

c) Before birth

d) All of the above

  1. Which of the following would be a direct result of lipid depletion in the human body?

a) The increase in the amount of proteins secreted in the body.

b) The decrease in the amount of estrogen produced.

c) The decrease in the permeability of the cellular membrane.

d) The transfer of nuclear membrane lipids to the cytoplasm.

e) The exchange of cytoplasmic lipids with membrane bound proteins.

  1. If the name of a condition ends with the suffix “-itis”, what does that indicate?

a) Inflamed

b) Shrinking

c) Broken

d) Dying

  1. If a patient makes his/her condition worse by ignoring medical advice, that may be considered:

a) Patient negligence

b) Contributory negligence

c) Patient malpractice

d) Secondary malpractice

  1. If a patient cancels an appointment it is essential that you…?

a) Check if they need to reschedule

b) Bill them for the cancelled appointment

c) Remove their record from the database

d) Mark their record as closed

  1. Which of these is most important when dealing with medical records?

a) Accessibility

b) Confidentiality

c) Legibility

d) Availability

  1. Which of these is the only one entitled to immediate access to patient medical records?

a) The patient’s physician

b) The patient’s lawyer

c) Law enforcement officials

d) The patient’s insurance company

RMA Test Strategies

Young woman sleeping

What to Do on Exam Day

In the days beforehand, be sure to eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. Some may want to do a light study review, while others avoid the material to prevent last-minute stress.

Remember to take deep breaths on the day of the exam—you’re going to do great!

  • First and foremost, bring two forms of valid ID with you. Both must include your signature and at least one must bear your photo. Photo ID is limited to a drivers’ license, state-issued identification card, military identification card, or passport.
  • Dress comfortably. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable or become distracted by your clothes. In some situations, things like hats, scarves, or gloves may need to be left outside the testing room.
  • Arrive early. Make sure you set aside plenty of time the morning of your exam. You’ll want to arrive 30 minutes beforehand, and you don’t want to add any extra stress.
  • Set your pace. Again, you’ll have up to two hours to complete the exam. Review each question and use your best judgment; try not to second guess yourself.

Retaking the RMA (AMT) Certification Exam

You can retake the exam 45 days after a failed attempt. Learn more about this process with the AMT.

How Many Times Can You Fail the RMA Exam?

Candidates for the RMA (AMT) Certification Exam are allowed four attempts. This lifetime limit applies regardless of the number of times a new request is submitted. After failing the exam, it is recommended that you study all areas in which mastery of the material was not achieved—as indicated on the failing score report.

Note: A retesting fee is required.

How to Renew Your RMA Certification

The American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification is a three-year cycle with an annual fee that maintains your status year to year. For RMAs, this annual renewal fee is $60.

If your certification has lapsed, you can complete one of the following routes.

  1. Recertify by CCP
    • Submit a Recertification by CCP Application with supporting documentation and fee.
    • Once requirements are met, a new certificate will be mailed to you.
    • If certification lapsed 10+ years, you MUST recertify by retaking the RMA exam.
  1. Or Recertify by Exam
    • Submit a Recertification by Exam Application and fee
    • Once the application is processed, follow the same steps to take the original exam
    • After you pass the exam, a new certificate will be mailed to you

Shape Your Future as a Medical Assistant

Smiling woman in front of a whiteboard

Our goal for this article was to provide you with practical tips on how to pass the RMA (AMT) Certification Exam. We hope it gives you the knowledge and confidence to take that next step forward in your career.

One benefit of becoming a Registered Medical Assistant is the ability to advance within the field. Some enjoy lifelong careers as MAs, while others build on their experience to apply to nursing school.

Remember: You can change your future with just one step. Take that first step today!



Answers: 1)C  2)A  3)D  4)C  5)B  6)A  7)B  8)A  9)B  10)A