Please verify with your state or school that you are eligible to sit for the exam. During the application process, prompts will help you determine the exam you are applying to take.
National Board Exam: Candidates must graduate from an ABFSE accredited program with a minimum of an Associate's Degree.
State Board Exam: Determined by state licensing board (MD, OK, TN, TX - school is responsible for eligibility).
Laws, Rules, & Regulations Exam / Other Exams: Determined by state licensing board.
Candidates that have graduated from an ABFSE-accredited program are eligible to take the NBE. Candidates that did not complete an ABFSE-accredited program may be eligible for the NBE depending on requirements determined by their state licensing agency.
Exams are administered year-round at Pearson Professional Centers. Test center hours vary. Contact Pearson VUE at 1-800-709-0180 or visit www.pearsonvue.com/theconference to schedule your appointment Click here to locate a Test Center. All Conference administered examinations can be scheduled at approved Pearson VUE testing locations in the United States.
States will need the official copy of your exam results! These results are sent to the state chosen on your exam application 2-3 business days after you take your exam. However, if you need them resent in the future or sent to another state for licensure, please place an order using the results order form here.
At this time all Conference exams are administered in English.
Once you have submitted your application and payment to The Conference, please allow at least two to three business days for processing – it is possible that we have received your application, but have not completed processing. We may also be waiting to receive your eligibility.
You can cancel/reschedule exam appointments up to 30 days in advance of the scheduled exam free of charge. Any changes made 29 days or less prior to a scheduled exam date will require a $25 change fee. In all cases, changes are not permitted within 24 hours of a scheduled exam.
You may cancel or change your appointment by contacting Pearson VUE at least 24 hours prior to your appointment time at www.pearsonvue.com/theconference or by phone at 1-800-709-0180. It is your responsibility to cancel or change the appointment within the cancellation/change guidelines. It is also your responsibility to keep the email you receive from Pearson VUE confirming the canceled/changed appointment. If a change is made via phone, keep a record of the date, time, and the name of the representative you spoke with. If you do not reschedule or cancel your exam with Pearson VUE at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment, you will forfeit the exam fee if you are absent for your exam. In that case, you will have to re-register for the exam and pay the appropriate exam fees to The Conference. There are no exceptions to this policy.
When you take the National or State Board Exam, you may notice questions on the Arts section that reference science related topics or vice versa. The jobs of funeral directors and embalmers are related, and therefore, the two exams will be related to some extent. However, every question on the Arts exam is tied to a section of the Arts exam blueprint, while every Sciences question is tied to the Sciences exam blueprint. This blueprint can be found in the NBE/SBE Study Guides. In addition to the blueprint, questions are also tied to a book listed in the Help Resources list (also located in the NBE/SBE Study Guides) and the ABFSE Curriculum Outline.
Scaled scores are part of how The Conference makes sure the National Board Exam and State Board Exam are a fair and valid measure of your professional knowledge. The questions are pulled from an item bank in accordance with accepted psychometric procedures. Since some questions are more difficult than others, one form of the exam might be slightly easier or harder than another. Scaled scores take into account the varying degree of difficulty of each question, so that regardless of which version of the test you take, the total score represents an equivalent level of knowledge. Using scaled scores in testing ensures that no candidate receives an unfair advantage by taking an easier form of the test or is unfairly evaluated by taking a more difficult form. It is a complex, but much fairer, method of calculating scores.
Once you have taken an exam The Conference will release your results to the licensing board you indicated on your application. If you would like to have an official copy sent to another licensing board, you can do so by submitting the appropriate order form along with the $50 processing fee for each licensing board. Please allow 2-3 business days for the licensing board to receive your results.
Please visit The Conference's site on Pearson VUE's website, https://home.pearsonvue.com/theconference, to locate test information including test site information. Please click "find a test center" on the right hand side of the site to find locations near you and access specific test center information. We also recommend reviewing Pearson VUE’s “Helpful Resources for Test-takers” to prepare for testing day.
Candidates will have one hour and 15 minutes to complete a form.
There are two forms for the Arts section and two forms for the Science section.
The cost per form is $60.
The exam is a single use exam per registration ($60 per registration).
The forms will have 75 multiple–choice questions each and will be statistically representative of the number of questions in each subsection of the exam blueprint.
Yes, 20% of the items appear on each form.
Vouchers are valid for one year.
A candidate can purchase a single use, 7-day authorization.
A candidate will receive the first form at random. If a candidate has previously taken one form, they will automatically receive the second form for their next administration.
At the conclusion of the practice examination, candidates will receive a score report reflecting their performance and general feedback on content areas in which candidates answered items incorrectly. This feature is designed to give candidates a clear picture of the areas of strength and weakness in preparing to take the NBE/SBE. Candidates can access their score report by clicking “view score report” in their online practice exam account dashboard.
Changes to the exam program go into effect January 1, 2023 and are outlined on our “FAQ – Exam Changes as January 1, 2023” page.
The exam content outline is developed from a Job Task Analysis (JTA) Survey, utilizing a diverse group of funeral service practitioners from across the nation. This survey is conducted every five to seven years by The Conference under the guidance of testing and psychometric experts, and is used to determine the significance/importance of the various activities performed by current practitioners across the country. Through the analysis of this data the updated content outline, also known as the exam blueprint, is developed. This process ensures that the exam is current and testing relevant material that is vital knowledge for entry-level practitioners to serve the public safely.
Every question on the exam is referenced to three resources:
Furthermore, every question is pretested before it becomes a scored question on the exam. This is so that the statistics can be reviewed and approved by psychometricians before a question ever counts for or against someone’s score. These are 20 pretest questions that appear on each section of the NBE
To become eligible for the NBE you must be a verified graduate of an ABFSE-accredited mortuary science program. Acceptable eligibility includes Verification of Graduation, or an official copy of conferred transcripts. Note: Verification of Graduation is the responsibility of your program director.
Your state licensing board/agency may also make you eligible for the NBE if you have met state set requirements to become eligible.
The required waiting period between exams will be 30 days. The 30 day required waiting period will also apply for any candidate changing exam pathways between NBE and SBE. There is no limit to the number of exam attempts per candidate.
Candidates may only have one Arts or Sciences application open at one time, regardless of NBE or SBE designation.
The Conference Board of Directors periodically reviews and revises policies regarding exam administration keeping in mind the security of the exam program as well as best practices within the field of high stakes licensure testing. It is also to the candidates’ benefit to allow sufficient time for study and remediation following an unsuccessful attempt on the NBE.
NBE Arts Section
Funeral Arranging and Directing 51 Items
Funeral Service Marketing/Merchandising 21 Items
Funeral Service Counseling 22 Items
Legal and Regulatory Compliance 36 Items
Cemetery and Crematory Operations 20 Items
Pretest Questions 20 Items
NBE Science Section
Embalming 58 Items
Restorative Art 34 Items
Preparation for Disposition 31 Items
Funeral Service Sciences 27 Items
Pretest Questions 20 Items
The National Board Exam (NBE) is a pass/fail exam and is not designed to distinguish between varying levels of competence, but rather to distinguish whether a candidate has at least the minimum level of competence required to practice as an entry-level Funeral Director and Embalmer. The passing standard is a scaled score of 75; therefore, any score of 75 or higher is a passing score, and any score below 75 is a failing score. The number of questions that have to be answered correctly to achieve a score of 75 can change from form to form, but is generally within a 1-2 question range. If a form of the exam is slightly easier than the form on which the passing score was set, an examinee would have to answer more questions correctly to obtain a scale score of 75. If the form of the exam is slightly harder, an examinee would have to answer fewer questions correctly to pass the exam. This process ensures that we apply the same standard of difficulty regardless of whether the items are a little easier or a little harder than those on another form.
Failed results will be accompanied with a Performance Feedback Chart; which visually represents the candidate’s performance in each section. The Conference does not release numerical score information to candidates. The Arts and Sciences sections of the NBE are scored separately. Candidates must pass both sections in order to be considered passing the NBE. Only the 150 core items are used to calculate scores for each section. The 20 pretest items do not count for or against you.
You will receive a pass/fail results report immediately following your exam at the test center. Numerical scores are not given, however, unsuccessful candidates will receive a Performance Feedback Chart, indicating your performance in each content area. Per Conference policy, NBE scores are only released to state boards for licensure purposes only.
Please note, changes to the NBE/SBE program go into effect January 1, 2023. For more information, please visit the FAQ page specific to the upcoming changes.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to review your test once it has been scored. For study purposes, please refer to the Performance Feedback Chart for guidance on which content areas to review.
Once you have passed the NBE (both sections), The Conference will mail an NBE wall certificate with your name and the year you passed the NBE to the address provided on your application. Allow three to four weeks for delivery. Wallet ID cards are available upon request. Additional wall certificates and ID cards are available for purchase from The Conference. Order forms can be submitted online at www.theconferenceonline.org. Wall certificates can be purchased for $30 and ID cards for $20.
The answer to this question may be different depending on the LRR you are taking. Eligibilities do expire in some states. Please read your candidate handbook carefully or contact your state board if you have questions regarding this. Please note that if you are retaking the examination you are required to wait a period of *30 days before re-examination to allow sufficient time for study.
AR LRR wait period is 15 days. VT LRR has no wait period. In all cases, candidates may only have one open authorization at a time.
The LRR is scored as pass/fail, with the raw number of questions scored correctly and an overall percentage score. A score of 75% (for DE and NV, a 70% is required) or higher must be obtained to be considered passing the LRR. If a score less than 75% (70% for DE & NV) on the LRR is obtained, you are considered to have failed. Per Conference policy, LRR scores are only released to the examinee and the state board for licensure purposes only
For most LRR exams administered by The Conference, it is not possible to review your test once it has been scored. Please refer to the Candidate Handbook.
Once you have passed the LRR, The Conference will mail a wall certificate with your name and date you passed to the address provided on your application. Allow three to four weeks for delivery. The wall certificate is included in your application fee.
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