“By far, the best way to study for your BCBA exam is to come up with examples and non examples of each term. That’s because the exam does not focus on memorizing applied behavior analysis terms and picking out their definitions. It focused on applying the principles of behavior to real life situations. If you can write your own examples of applying terms, you will be able to understand the scenarios on your exam.” Jessica Leichtweisz

This blog post written by Katherine Yohn, models some examples of conditioned motivating operations (CMO-s).


  • Billy walks to his fridge to grab a beer after a long day of work. Billy tried to open the bottle and realized it was not the twist-off kind. Billy reached his hands into the drawer next to the stove and grabbed out a bottle opener. 
  • Kathy was given a survey to at the end of her training. Kathy needed to find a pen to fill out the survey. 


  • Cindy’s teacher announced that it was time to get back to work while Cindy was on the carpet playing with toys. Cindy started crying. 
  • The CEO of the company decided to come into the office for a visit. People enjoy when the CEO comes in for a visit because they usually gain extra sick days or receive gift cards for their hard work. As a result, the employees wanted him to stay.


  • Every day at 11:00 am, you eat your lunch. You came into work late this morning after having met a client for breakfast so you are very filled.  You were busy working at your desk and you looked at the clock to see it say 11:00 am. Due to the clock stating 11 and being paired so many times with food , you wanted lunch despite not feeling hungry.
  • Angela comes home from school and saw her babysitter. Angela started smiling. The babysitter has been paired with fun times.

Citation: Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.).