National Certified Medical Assistant Practice Test

Prepare for your test with realistic questions.

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) administers the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam to assess the knowledge and skills of prospective certified medical assistants.

Click “Start Test” above to take a free National Certified Medical Assistant practice test!

NCMA Exam Eligibility

To be eligible for the NCMA exam, you must meet ONE of the following routes of eligibility.

  1. You must be a current student in an approved medical assistant program.
  2. You must have graduated from an approved medical assistant program within the last five years.
  3. You must have obtained at least two years of full-time experience as a medical assistant within the last five years.
  4. You must have completed medical assistant training via the military within the last five years.

NCMA Exam Outline

The National Certified Medical Assistant exam contains 150 questions, 25 of which are unscored, and you will be given a 3-hour time limit. The 25 unscored questions are used by NCCT to validate questions for future versions of the exam.

Most of the questions (92%) are multiple-choice, while *% of the questions are comprised of alternative question types:

  • Multi-select: Choose two or more correct answers.
  • Hot spot: Click on the area of a given image that correctly answers the question.
  • Drag-and-drop: Drag pieces of information to the correct position/order.

The exam is split into four content categories.

exam outline for the NCMA exam

1. Pharmacology and General Medical Knowledge (18 scored questions)

The questions in this category are designed to test your knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Applying basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology
  • Recognizing and interpreting commonly used medical terminology
  • Recognizing common drug classifications
  • Identifying commonly used medications by generic and brand names
  • Understand the “Rights” of medication use
  • Consulting pharmaceutical desk references to check medications
  • Performing basic medication-related calculations
  • Preparing and administering medication using various routes

2. Clinical Medical Procedures (72 scored questions)

The questions in this category are designed to test your knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Following CDC Standard Precautions and transmission precautions
  • Implementing disinfection, cleansing, and sterilization of exam rooms
  • Following patient isolation procedures
  • Practicing sage patient handling and transfer procedures
  • Handling and disposing of chemicals
  • Practicing sage body mechanics and ergonomics to prevent injuries
  • Responding to emergency situations
  • Using PPE
  • Following post-exposure guidelines
  • Identifying the patient
  • Adapting care to patients with special considerations
  • Taking a patient history
  • Obtaining patient vital signs
  • Assisting with minor surgical procedures
  • Recognizing and reporting abnormal screening results
  • Performing ear lavages and eye irrigations
  • Collecting specimen cultures
  • Performing vision screening tests
  • Assisting with respiratory tests
  • Performing suture and staple removal
  • Instructing patients in specimen collection
  • Adhering to standards for patient introduction, identification, and order verification
  • Identifying additives used for blood collection
  • Performing capillary punctures
  • Performing venipunctures
  • Recognizing and responding to complications during blood collection
  • Labeling specimens appropriately
  • Handling laboratory specimens per protocol
  • Following the correct order of draw for blood collection
  • Explaining the ECG procedure to the patient
  • Correcting artifacts and recording errors
  • Pacing electrodes on the patient for the ECG test
  • Adapting technique to patients with special considerations
  • Capturing and recording ECG tracings

3. Medical Administrative Duties (15 scored questions)

The questions in this category are designed to test your knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Directing patients and visitors to the appropriate team member or location
  • Setting up and managing appointments using scheduling techniques
  • Using peripheral devices
  • Managing prior authorizations and pre-certifications
  • Maintaining electronic medical office data
  • Managing medical office electronic data using devices other than computers
  • Using ICD codes to bill for services
  • Answering, evaluating, and directing incoming calls to team members

4. Law and Ethics (20 scored questions)

The questions in this category are designed to test your knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Recognizing legal responsibilities and the scope of practice for the medical assistant
  • Adhering to advance directives
  • Following the protocol on terminating patient care
  • Making corrections and additions to medical records per state and federal guidelines
  • Obtaining patient consent for exams and treatment
  • Maintaining confidentiality and complying with disclosure laws
  • Recognizing and responding to violations of medical law
  • Complying with CLIA, OSHA, and DEA guidelines

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NCMA Exam Registration

To register for the exam, you must create an online NCCT account and submit an application, along with the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility. You will also need to pay the $119 exam fee, which is not refundable.

Once your application is approved, you will be sent instructions detailing how to schedule an exam appointment with Prometric.

Test Day

On the day of the exam, you should arrive at the testing center at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Once you arrive, you will go through the check-in process, which includes providing a valid form of identification.

Once your ID is checked, your picture will be taken, a digital image of your fingerprint will be taken, and you will be asked to undergo a met. You will then be asked to put any personal items in a locker. The only things you are permitted to bring to the check-in station are your ID papers, your locker key, and a pair of foam earplugs in an unopened container.

Once you are fully checked in, you will be given the chance to take a practice exam, after which the real exam will begin.

How the NCMA Exam is Scored

Your NCMA exam score is based on a scaled scoring method, which places your raw score (the number of questions you answered correctly) on a numerical scale of 0-100.

To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 70. You will receive a pass/fail notification before you leave the testing center, and you will receive a formal score report 24 hours after testing.

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How many questions are on the NCCT NCMA exam?


There are 150 questions on the exam.


How long is the NCCT NCMA exam?


The time limit for the exam is 3 hours.


What is the passing score for the NCCT NCMA exam?


To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 70.


How much does the NCCT NCMA exam cost?


The examination fee is $119.

By Kate Nockunas

Kate has been Mometrix’s Nursing and Medical Editor for over four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Vanderbilt University, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Marymount University, and a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins. Kate is a critical care registered nurse who still works occasionally in the ICU and PACU.


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 3, 2024