coach certification

7 Tips To Help You Schedule Your NBHWC Certifying Exam

Nov 19, 2023

Coaches aspiring to take the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) certifying exam face a rigorous process given the extensive requirements to sit for the exam. While completing the exam is a significant achievement, getting to the point of scheduling the exam is also a notable milestone that deserves recognition!

As coaches, we must remember to celebrate each step in our journeys, including the decision to take the exam and the process of scheduling it.

Although there is an abundance of information available for exam preparation, coaches often seek advice on how to schedule the exam. Therefore in this article, I am sharing seven tips to assist coaches in scheduling their NBHWC certifying exam with ease.



1. Allow yourself ample time to prepare for the NBHWC certifying exam.

I often hear coaches who retake the exam say that they underestimated the amount of time required to prepare, which can take weeks or even months. The NBHWC provides resources for coaches to review, including a comprehensive exam content outline. However, to adequately learn and understand each topic and competency requires additional reading and research. While NBHWC-approved programs are expected to cover all the material on the content outline, the extent and depth of coverage varies from program to program. Therefore, it is important for each coach to review the outline and determine how much time they need to study.

The NBHWC provides the following exam study materials to help coaches prepare for the certifying exam:

The NBHWC also shares the following HIPAA Resources:


2. Give yourself enough time to complete the application for the NBHWC certifying exam.

The exam application process requires coaches to upload the necessary documentation and certifications. Do not wait until the last minute to do this! Make sure you allow enough time to locate necessary documentation, especially if you need to communicate with your coaching program(s). Coaches can find the test application periods listed on the NBHWC website.


3. Schedule your exam on a day when you can be physically, mentally, and emotionally present for the entire 4.5-hour test session.

The test session includes a 15-minute tutorial and two blocks of questions. Each block has 75 questions, and coaches have 1 hour and 52 minutes to complete each block. In addition, the test session allows for up to a 15-minute break and also includes a 15-minute post-test survey.

Although you may not need all the available time, allowing yourself to be fully present without other obligations or distractions will optimize your performance.


4. Remember that taking the exam earlier within the same test window does not mean that you will receive your score earlier.

Exam results are not given immediately. The exam take time to grade, and everyone receives their results at the same time. Test results are released to coaches several weeks after the exam window ends.


5. In the event of any unforeseen circumstances, you can reschedule your exam within the same test window itself.

“To avoid an appointment change fee, you must change your appointment (e.g., reschedule, cancel, change test center location) 31 or more days before (but not including) your scheduled test date. Prometric will charge a fee to a candidate who is unable to keep a testing appointment and opts to reschedule. The rescheduled test appointment must fall within the testing window and availability of a seat is not guaranteed.” ~ NBHWC NBME Bulletin of Information Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Exam 2023 (page 21)

For more information, visit the Prometric website and check the change fee and process.


6. Remember that in order to be eligible to sit for the exam, your NBHWC coaching log must be completed after you pass a Practical Skills Assessment within your NBHWC-approved training program.

Coaches must provide a log of 50 sessions, consisting of a minimum of 20 minutes in duration, that also meet the following criteria:

  • “75% of each coaching session must be devoted to coaching facilitation and not education”
  • “Coaching sessions may not be with friends, family, or current classmates”
  • “Coaching sessions can be paid or pro bono”

Please refer to the information provided by the NBHWC for complete information about the Coaching Log.

I recommend that coaches complete their coaching log by the time of their application, if possible. If not, they have the option to apply for an extension to submit the log by a later date specified by NBHWC, but this comes with an additional fee.

Please refer to the NBHWC for more information regarding the Coaching Log Extension.


7. If you require Test Accommodations, please refer to the NBHWC and NBME Bulletin of Information for the Health and Wellness Coach Certifying Examination for more information.

Coaches who require test accommodations, including extended testing time, enlarged text and graphics, and/or permission for use of assistive devices must "initiate the request for accommodations at the same time you complete your registration..." ~ NBHWC and NBME Bulletin of Information for the HWC Certifying Examination (16).

As a national-board certified health and wellness coach, I often share these seven tips that I've learned from personal experience and discussions with other coaches. However, it's important to note that the information in this article is subject to variation based on the policies and procedures of the NBHWC and NBME. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to them directly.


Jessica Singh, MD, NBC-HWC, ACC

November 20, 2023


Disclaimer: This article is written by Jessica Singh, MD, NBC-HWC, ACC, published by the Center for Health and Wellness Coaches, and is not in any way affiliated with the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches or the National Board for Medical Examiners. Please contact the NBHWC directly for questions relating to the NBHWC certifying exam by emailing [email protected].




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