“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 the verbal operants.


Sally saw a bag of cookies on the table and asked her mom if she could have a cookie.


Kaiden is driving in the car with his mom. He looks out the window and sees a plane in the sky. He points the plane and says plane.


Gabe is working with his teacher at school. She asks him to complete the sentence/or song. The teacher starts by saying “Mary had a little…” and Gabe responds with “lamb”.

Jacob played with Adam today at school. When Jacob got home from school, his mom asked him who he played with today. Jacob said he played with Adam.


Jack was teaching Jill how to say bubbles. He pointed to a bottle of bubbles and said “bubbles”. Jill responded with “bubbles”.


Jasmine is at home with her baby sister. Jasmine says “do this” and touches her head. Her baby sister touches her head.

Listener Responding

While driving in the car, Janet asked her sister to turn down the radio. Her sister turned down the radio.


Chelsea is in a lecture history class in college. Every morning when she arrives to class, her teacher waits 5 minutes for everyone to get out their computer or notebooks. Once the teacher sees everyone is ready, he starts his lecture. Chelsea writes down everything her professor says during the lecture.


Mandee received a birthday card in the mail. She opened it up and read it out loud to herself.


Ben is driving in the car with Megan. Megan was taking Ben to a cool bar she has been to a few times. Megan turned down a sketchy side road and Ben asked her if she knows where she is going. Megan responds “yes, I know where I am going”.

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