ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to prepare for the MDCB exam ?

Updated on November 17, 2012

Advice from a fellow C.M.D.

The MDCB exam is a challenging exam that all medical dosimetrist have to pass to attain board certification. With a pass rate in the low 50's, your concern about the exam is justified. Considering that you have already spent $500+ to register the exam, you will want to pass it on the first try.

There are many benefits to writing the MDCB exam, but the main reason that most of you are taking this exam is for the higher pay and better career opportunities. The average salary of a board certified medical dosimetrist was $95,000 (ASRT survey), and candidates who recently passed there exam received an average pay raise of $10,000. The financial incentive to do well on this exam is huge.

Now that we have your attention, let’s offers you a few simple tips about the MDCB exam:

  1. Start early. The exam pulls content from a wide range of subject areas. Many of which are not part of your daily list of responsibilities. You should start preparing as soon as possible.
  2. This exam is not about treatment planning (we wish it was), but it is about physics, dosimetry and a range of related subjects that apply to professionals in radiation oncology. Your ability to treatment plan will not be tested in this exam.The best treatment planners have failed this exam, and the worst treatment planners have passed it with ease. The goal of the exam is to test your native knowledge of physics.
  3. Grading on the exam is relative, and there is no magical number to pass the exam. What happens every year is that the exam test takers are ranked according to percentile. Those in the top 45 percentile are guaranteed to pass. The next 10 percent are borderline, and depending on the cut score chosen may pass the exam. So your goal should be to have a broad and deeper understanding of physics than the average medical dosimetrist taking the exam ( Top 45 percentile).
  4. Make a study plan, because the time between exam registration and the exam is short. Your study plan should focus on your weakness. Some medical dosimetrist plan brachytherapy cases, others do not. Find your weakness and focus on those.
  5. The MDCB has a long list of recommended textbooks. Reading and reviewing the textbooks would be the ideal way to prepare if you have unlimited time to study. For those of us who have limited study time, I recommend using preparation material to help you study effectively.

The MDCB Exam offers two affordable dosimetry review products to help you prepare for the MDCB exam:

1. MDCB Exam Question Bank - which has hundreds of exam question with easy to understand, and detailed solutions.

2. MDCB Exam Study Guide - Includes lecture slides and exam questions.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Felicia Lembesis, CAE, MDCB Executive Director 

      3 years ago

      Many dosimetrists challenge the MDCB exam as a requirement of employment. Medical institutions are more and more beginning to recognize the importance of providing a standard of care.

      1. The exam content test matrix is developed from a Job Task Analysis (JTA) conducted every five years. The JTA is a testing industry standard. Through the JTA a panel of subject matter experts (SMEs), selected from a diverse demographic of CMDs, identify the knowledge and tasks required to perform the job of a medical dosimetrist. A peer reviewed survey of the results of the initial phase of the JTA is subsequently administered to the medical dosimetry population of members of the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists and the MDCB (non-CMDs and CMDs) to confirm the finding of the SMEs.

      2. Dosimetrists who sit for the exam must demonstrate knowledge of the physics on which treatment planning is based.

      3. The exam scoring is based on a cut score determined through the industry best practice of standard setting. A standard setting workshop like the JTA is conducted with the benefit of a representative demographic of practicing CMDs. The standard setting workshop is conducted following the completion of the JTA. Each exam candidate's performance is measured against the same cut score.

      4. The MDCB provides, for purchase, study guides that mirror the MDCB exam questions.

      5. References used for MDCB exam item writing include popular textbooks covering subjects in radiobiology, physics, dosimetry, cross sectional anatomy, and principles of radiation oncology practice such as the following:

      • Khan, Faiz M. The Physics of Radiation Therapy.

      • Khan, Faiz M. Treatment Planning in Radiation Oncology.

      • Perez, Carlos A. and Brady, Luther W. Principles and Practice of Radiation Oncology.

      • Fleckenstein, P. Anatomy in Diagnostic Imaging.

      Other popular texts can be found at the AAMD store and Medical Physics Publishing websites. In addition, item writers draw questions from reports that are relevant to current dosimetry practice published by the AAPM, ABS, ICRU, ICRP and NCRP as well as published RTOG clinical trials and NCCN guidelines. Dosimetrists are expected to be aware of recent advances in the field and have a general knowledge of topical literature including key journal articles that have impacted the practice. In addition, dosimetrists should understand recent technological advances in radiation delivery equipment and imaging such as Cyberknife, TomoTherapy, GammaKnife, cone beam CT, etc.

      Complete details regarding the JTA and eligibility requirements are available at


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)