With the January 2014 NPTE in the rear-view mirror, our focus now turns toward the April NPTE. The April NPTE is the second-most popular time to take the exam and will be a focal point of many students about to graduate this spring. I remember well my final weeks before taking the NPTE.
I graduated in 2011 from the University of Utah. The final semester was comprised entirely of clinical rotations, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about the exam. We had completed all of our coursework in December of 2010, giving us almost 5 months to forget everything we ever learned. In 2011, the FSBPT still allowed continual enrollment for the NPTE, and I opted to take the exam in May. I had already secured a contract to begin working for a critical access hospital in Idaho, but I had a little anxiety about how I was going to fit my studies for the exam in among all of the hours required for my clinicals. On top of that, we had moved cross-country to be with my wife’s family in North Carolina, and I had a generous commute in the Charlotte area. Frankly, I didn’t have time. When April came, I still had not had enough time to really study. Plus, I didn’t even know where to start. I had the Scorebuilders book, but it was just too intimidating to open it up and start reading. So I focused on the exams. I took each exam multiple times and spent lots of time looking up questions that I did not understand. Having gone through over 600 questions, I had reviewed most of the material in the book at least once. I still felt unprepared.
When the exam date arrived, I remember feelings of anger looking at some of the questions and shouting in my mind that it was an arbitrary question with subjective answers. I had no idea how I had done on the exam when I finished. Five days later, I had the results in—I had passed with flying colors.
As I look back on my experiences, I recognize that there are several things that I could have done better.
- I wish that I had attacked the material in a more organized fashion. Going over test questions was ok, but I had no way to judge where the holes in my knowledge were.
- I wish that I had gone over a full practice exam in “test mode.” No peaking at the answers and learning how to pace myself according to the time constraints.
- I wish that I had started a little earlier. If I had started 6-8 weeks ahead of time, I would have felt much more comfortable.
I have pondered my experience deeply, and that is the reason that I began this website in 2012. I wanted to pass on the knowledge of what I wish I had done. That idea evolved into the Mastermind Study Group that I started in July 2013. Many people have asked me what the differences are between this course and others available. Here are a few:
- The Mastermind Study Group (MSG) is designed to be a mentored study group that meets weekly (5 sessions) to go over test questions and strategy.
- I feel that the best way to learn material is to thoroughly digest it. Some of the other test prep courses focus on just presenting material. I focus instead on organization and understanding of the material.
- I provide a mentored framework to attack the material on the NPTE. We do go over everything, but there is a huge emphasis on personal accountability.
- I give students prompt and personal attention. Give it a try—send me an email and see how long it takes to get a response.
- Many students I have worked with feel alone and isolated. Having a coach to guide you through the material is invaluable.
- Pass rates: 90% for full participants that thoroughly complete every assignment. About 60% overall if you include students who do not fully participate.
As we draw nearer to the April exam, I hope that you thoroughly evaluate where you stand. If you’re comfortable with all the material and can pass every practice exam, you’ll probably be fine. If you have any doubts or just need direction, please take advantage of my help so that you only have to take the exam once. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!