How I Studied For (and Passed!) the NPTE
I’ve had a number of questions recently about how I studied for the NPTE back in May of 2011 when I first took it. It was in 2012 when the FSBPT changed their examination policy from a rolling NPTE to a schedule 4x/year exam. I feel fortunate that I was able to take the exam within 2 weeks of graduating from the University of Utah in the spring of 2011. I had just finished my final clinical rotation in Gastonia, North Carolina (just outside of Charlotte) a few weeks before and already had a job lined up back in my hometown in Idaho. It was a very nerve-racking time for me, feeling the pressure of doing well in my final rotation and preparing for the NPTE at the same time. As many of you know, there just isn’t a ton of time to devote to studying when you’re working full-time and have a family to take care of. Luckily, I was living with my in-laws for that final period and could devote more time to studying without feeling like I had abandoned my wife.
My main method of studying involved the Scorebuilders review book. I knew that they had put out a series of flash-cards, but I found the idea of carrying around a full book of flash-cards unsavory. When I discovered their mobile app (Physical Therapy Content Master – Scorebuilders), I was impressed. While the app costs $29.99, it was probably the best investment of my entire test preparation. The big reason was that I was always on-the-go, and didn’t have time to carry my textbook around and open it up. I never was very good at just reading material and memorizing it, but the brief summaries of the Scorebuilders App were awesome at helping me remember things that I had learned previously during my 3 years of the DPT program. If there was something that I was very unfamiliar with, I would go to the larger review book to go over the material in more depth. I really appreciated the visual format of the review book, and found it a joy to go through.
After about 1 month of studying and reviewing, I took the exam in May 2011, just two weeks after my graduation ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah. I felt confident, but I had had a few moments of doubt, especially when my future boss told me not to expect to pass on the first attempt. I became increasingly nervous as the test date approached, feeling that maybe I had not put enough time into my preparations. For those last few weeks, I spent almost every waking moment of the day going through material in the Scorebuilders book and the Scorebuilders app. When test day came, I arrived at the testing center in plenty of time so that I could continue to cram on the day of the exam. As I mentioned in other posts, I was exceedingly frustrated with the exam, and felt that there are many items that were “subjective.” Looking back, I now realize that it was because I was not totally familiar with all of the material.
Despite my procrastination, I came out of the exam with a 715/800 scale score. It was good enough to pass the exam, and I began working the next week. Never was there anyone more relieved that I was on that day when I found out my score. As I’ve pondered my experience, this is what has led me to create this blog and study group. I really want to help others be more organized in their approach of the NPTE so they won’t have to be as nervous as I was when I took the exam. If I had been smarter, I would have begun a more formal study approach more than a month before the exam. I would have really appreciated someone holding my hand through the whole process.
For anyone feels like they’re in the same boat, I highly recommend that you consider joining my Mastermind Study Group. In this group, I give you as much guidance as you need as you approach the exam. As you complete the assignments I give you, you become more and more organized. This leads to more confidence in the material and less test anxiety. I’ve had students improve their scores by over 100 points. If you have any questions, you can contact me, or you can sign up here.
As always, remember that I’m here to help. Please send me any requests you have for future blog posts. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to hearing from you.