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A Letter to Those Who Failed the NPTE

The NPTE doesn’t define you—it refines you.

In many ways, you will be tempted to consider yourself a failure, but you’re NOT a failure.  I believe there is a great difference between failing an exam and becoming a failure.  Failing an exam is a temporary setback.  It is a tragedy to be mourned.  It is a source of grief, pain, and sorrow.  There is no doubt about the pain you must feel getting your score back from FSBPT and be left wanting.


But it is a far greater tragedy to become a failure.  In my mind, a failure is a person who gives up on their dream.  A failure is a person who does not persevere through the hard times.  Remember this important point: the NPTE does not define you—it refines you.  If you did fail the NPTE, you should give yourself a few days off to recover from the ordeal.  Find a friend.  Go somewhere new.  Get out of the routine and push your “reset” button.  Mourn your loss, but do not linger in grief.  I have spoken to far too many individuals who dwell on their past and do not move on.  Let me remind you of a few things that will be easy to forget:

  1. You are the smart one in your family.  Studying and attending a DPT program is not an easy task.  You had to study hard to get to this point, and you know what it’s like to survive impossible amounts of information.  Your friends and family will not judge you as “stupid” or “incompetent.”  They will mourn with you.  They are your biggest fans and will remind you of these easily forgettable truths.
  2. You love what you do.  Or maybe you don’t.   This is a great inflection point in your career.  You need to dig deep and determine what you REALLY want in life.  If you went to physical therapy school just because it was a good direction, you won’t have the staying power to make it through.  Chances are, though, that you LOVE this field.  You love helping people.  You derive great satisfaction from the successes of your patients.  You almost cry every time you encounter tragedies in the lives of your clients.  Find motivation as you think of all the people you helped on your clinicals.  They are praying for your success because they appreciate you.
  3. Anything really worth having in life does not come easily.  There is a difference between seeing pictures from the top of a mountain and actually climbing one for yourself.  This is not an easy path you have chosen, but will pay huge dividends in the years to come.  The obstacles you overcome now will bless you and your family for generations.  This is worth the struggle.

I know this essay may sound superficial to some, but I really do care about the successes and failures of those who pass through these WordPress doors.  The reason I started this website was to help.  I have had my own fair share of failures along the way.  I have been reprimanded by several individuals who in unkind ways let me know that what I was doing was worthless.  They pressed me to quit and just give up.  I admit that those comments really cut deep.  But each time, I look back on the emails from students who thank me for my small contribution.  They tell me that they appreciate the time, effort, and resources that go into this blog.  I keep going for them.

My Inspiration

My advice to you is to find your reason. Find your motivation. As always, let me know what I can do for you. I would really appreciate if you emailed me on this post to let me know your story. You are awesome. Trust me, it can be so incredibly frustrating and isolating to fail the NPTE. We can help. Try one of our fun, interactive NPTE prep courses and take the guess-work out of studying. You’ll be so glad you did!