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Computer ExaminationWhat is the secret to scoring well on the NPTE?  This is a question that I am frequently asked on my blog, and I always have a hard time answering.  You see, there is no big secret to the NPTE—you just have to know everything!  Unfortunately, it is a common misconception among students to believe that there will be some magic solution to helping them pass the test.  I wrote in an earlier post about how to avoid test anxiety, something that continues to plague many students especially as they prepare for the NPTE.  But when it comes to the content of the exam, make sure you understand that it is all required.  Here are some things that you may or may not already know about the NPTE.

1—The FSBPT Publishes Their Content Outline

Yes, there is a blueprint to the exam!  The FSBPT does not want you to struggle in darkness trying to figure out how to pass the exam.  They have published the FSBPT Content Outline to summarize all of the material that is necessary to pass the exam.

One disadvantage of the Content Outline is that it is so broad, there isn’t really anything specific to help focus your studies.  In the last few months, I’ve created a Study Outline to help you really focus on the most difficult items.  It should be used mostly as a checklist to make sure that you’re hitting every important topic on the exam.  The Study Outline is free to blog subscribers.

[ois skin=”NPTE Study Outline”]

2—The PEAT is a Definite Must-Have

Another great resource is the Practice Examination and Assessment Tool. This is a resource that the FSBPT publishes to help students better understand the format of the NPTE.  In fact, this assessment is made up primarily of retired NPTE questions that are no longer on the exam. Although the price is steep ($99), you definitely get your bang for your buck because you have access to two full practice exams, distributed just like the NPTE. It gives you a breakdown of your performance in each of the content areas, and times you to make sure that you’re pacing yourself appropriately.

3—There is a Scheduled Break During the Exam

The NPTE lasts five hours and can be very grueling. That is why the FSBPT has scheduled a 15 minute break to occur between the second and third sections. This break can be used to grab a quick snack or use the restroom, but does not allow you to access your telephone or other electronic device to do any quick studying. I highly recommend you plan on taking advantage of this break so that you can stand up, stretch, and prepare yourself for the second half of the exam.

In addition to the one scheduled break, you are allowed to take up to three additional unscheduled breaks. The key difference between the unscheduled breaks and the scheduled break is that the unscheduled breaks do not stop the exam clock. This means that any time spent away from the desk is subtracted from your overall exam time. This is not the case for the scheduled break.

4—You Can Postpone Your Exam

If the necessity arises, you are allowed to postpone and reschedule your session for taking the NPTE. Because of fixed date testing, you will be required to wait three months before the next test date, but it is possible to reschedule. This has been the case with several individuals that I’ve worked with due to family emergencies or other concerns. If you reschedule the exam more than 30 days before the exam date, there is no charge. You simply have to contact the Prometric testing center and make the arrangements with them.

If you have to reschedule your exam between five and 29 days, there is a $25 rescheduling charge that will be collected by Prometric.  The good news about all of this is that if during your studies you come to realize that you are not ready to take the exam, you are able to reschedule the exam without great ramifications. This flexibility is exceedingly generous of the FSBPT in the fees are very reasonable. If you have to reschedule your exam less than five days before the exam, you will forfeit the entire Prometric fee.

5—The Scale Score

It turns out that you can get an 800/800 score on the exam without answering every question correctly. The scale score scoring model that the FSBPT employs is primarily useful for distinguishing scores at or around 600 mark. Because the exam can vary in difficulty slightly over the years, the scale score is used to curve up or down based on the difficulty of the exam.  The FSBPT does not disclose their sophisticated method for scoring the exam, but they are clear that 600 points are required to pass the exam.


There you go. Five things that you may or may not have known about the NPTE. As always, if you feel like this information has been useful, please “like” us on Facebook.

Also, if you’re hoping to join the Mastermind Study Group, you must sign up by Friday, June 13. In this course, we discuss all of the questions you may have about the NPTE, and guide you through the vast amounts of material that you must know for the exam.  I wish you all the best in your studies!

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