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Medical Assistant Exam Overview

Passing the Medical Assistant exam is the first step towards becoming a certified Medical Assistant. Because there are several different providers of the Medical Assistance exam, it can be confusing what to expect.

Summary: Learn about the medical assistant exam and the different types. For help studying, consider using a medical assistant prep course.

What are the Different Medical Assistant Exams?

There are several agencies offering different Medical Assistant Exams. The four main exams are:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): Offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): Offered by the American Medical Technologists
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCCT-NCMA): Offered by the National Center for Competency Testing
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA): Offered by the National Healthcareer Association

CMA Exam Breakdown

The CMA exam is computerized, and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. There are four 40-minute segments, for a total of three hours and fifteen minutes.

These are the topics you can expect to encounter:

TopicNumber of QuestionsPercent of Exam
Clinical Competency10659%
Clinical Workflow: Patient Intake and Discharge  
Safety and Infection Control  
Legal and Ethical Issues  
Billing, Coding, and Insurance  
Schedule Appointments and Health Information Management  


There are 20 unscored questions on the exam, to make a total of 200 questions. You can practice for this exam by taking our CMA practice test.

RMA Exam Breakdown

The RMA exam consists of 210 total questions. These questions are split between 4 different topics. Those 4 topics include:

TopicNumber of QuestionsPercent of Exam
Anatomy and Physiology4420.9%
Administrative Medical Assisting5626.7%
Clinical Procedural Tasks3918.6%
Clinical Patient Interaction7133.8%


You can practice for this exam by taking our RMA practice test.

NCCT-NCMA Exam Breakdown

The NCCT-NCMA exam consists of 165 total questions. The topics tested include:

Topic Number of Questions Percent of Exam
Pharmacology 21 14%
Clinical Medical Procedures 28 19%
Phlebotomy 21 14%
ECG and Other Diagnostic Tests 18 12%
General Office Procedures 21 14%
Medical Office Management 25 17%
Law and Ethics 16 11%


Of the 165 questions, 15 will be unscored. You can practice for this exam by taking our NCCT practice test.

CCMA Exam Breakdown

The CCMA exam consists of 180 total questions. The topics tested include:

TopicNumber of QuestionsPercent of Exam
Foundational Knowledge and Basic Science1510%
Anatomy and Physiology128%
Clinical Patient Care8154%
Patient Care Coordination and Education7 or 85%
Administrative Assisting19 or 2113%
Communication and Customer Service7 or 85%
Medical Law and Ethics7 or 85%


Preparing for the Medical Assistant Exam

No matter which Medical Assistant exam you take or what you’ll be tested on, your study methods should remain consistent.

The best way to build your skills is by taking practice exams, which will help you get used to the structure and depth of the exams, and is a great way to understand your weak spots.

Medical Assistant Exam FAQs

There are four medical assistant exams, which are administered by different providers. They are: CMA, RMA, NCMA, and CCMA.

The most common and popular medical assistant exam is the CMA, as it is accepted by a large number of employers and regulatory bodies.

You do have the option to retake the medical assistant exam, but the “fine print” will differ depending on which provider you used.

For example, one provider may allow you to retake certain portions of the exam, while others require that you retake the entire thing.

Jan Olson
Dr. Jan Olson has her Bachelor's degree in nursing, Master's degree in nursing, and Doctorate in nursing.