Hard to believe, but we’re officially 1 week away from the January NPTE. I have spoken with a number of students who are preparing for the exam, and it is extremely common to have great feelings of trepidation and anxiety. The NPTE is a test of vast importance to your career and represents an examination of all the knowledge you learned in physical therapy school. For many students, this will not be their first attempt at the exam—these students in particular express self-doubt and anxiety about facing the test again. In an earlier post, I wrote extensively about the importance of finding some dream or goal that inspires you to persevere, even through the hard times. Anything in life that is really worth doing requires great sacrifice. No doubt, every student of physical therapy has spent countless hours poring over their books and dedicated entire weekends to memorizing the brachial plexus. You just have to make it through this last exam.
All of that being said, here are a few tips that may guide your last week before the NPTE:
- Spend some time every day doing something to help reduce test anxiety. I highly recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise where you do nothing but “zone out” while you sweat. Whatever you choose, do something that allows you to relax.
- Visualize your experience on the exam—spend some time creating a mental picture of yourself doing well on the exam. Think lots and lots of positive thoughts.
- Review the hardest stuff—briefly go over concepts that are the most challenging to you. Go over broad concepts and quickly try to apply them to specific situations.
- Get plenty of sleep and treat yourself right. Whatever you do, DO NOT make other life-changing decisions during this week. Don’t complicate things by trying to swallow too much. If you can delay life decisions, put them off until next Thursday.
- Be familiar with the test day schedule. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your test day (e.g. when you’ll wake up, how far you’ll have to drive, how much time you need). Have a good plan B in place just in case the car breaks down on the way to the testing center.
Again, I hope this helps guide a few of your thoughts during this final week. Remember, the more prepared you are, the less fear and anxiety you will have. As always, if you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact me!
I wish you all the best!