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ISA Relaunches Board
Certified Master Arborist Exam

Returns After Eight-Month Hiatus


The ISA, a nonprofit organization for arborists, has reinstated the revised Board Certified Master Arborist exam, effective February 1.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has announced the relaunch of the newly updated Board Certified Master Arborist® (BCMA™) exam effective February 1. In response to user feedback requesting a better exam experience and accommodation for the global reach of the program, ISA performed an intensive and highly successful review, revision, and assessment of the exam.

The revision process began with the BCMA test committee's evaluation of questions for the updated exam, which included assistance from a test development professional. The committee was provided direction on how to write exam questions that clearly and correctly test the knowledge and skill level required to become a Board Certified Master Arborist®. Test committee chair Larry Costello stated, "The goal was to develop a challenging yet fair exam that accurately tests knowledge in concert with experience in tree management principles and practices."

Once the questions were reviewed and revised, a beta test process measured the reliability of the exam. Beta tests require a minimum number of participants for successful measurement, and ISA was able to double the minimum number required. Those individuals who took the beta test and achieved the new passing score earned the BCMA™ credential. Test takers who did not meet the passing score will be allowed a free retake.

"The relaunch of the BCMA™ exam is very exciting for ISA and the credentialing community. I cannot thank the 300 beta test takers, the BCMA test committee, and ISA staff enough for their efforts to make the relaunch possible," says Kevin Martlage, ISA director of professional development. "I am extremely confident that the team involved with the evaluation and relaunch process addressed the expectations of the board and met the necessary objectives."

As of February 1, ISA is accepting applications for the updated exam. The application handbook is available on the ISA website. For questions regarding the International Society of Arboriculture BCMA™ exam and credentialing program, visit or contact

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May 23, 2019, 3:10 am PDT

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