Just a few tips for you to remember as you head into the NPTE this week. Perhaps I can assuage some of your fears or at least reduce some anxiety with a few tips and tricks to help you on test day.
- Relax! You’ve got this! By now, you’ve put in weeks and weeks of studying. You are an expert in the field, and you should tell yourself that you’re actually good at this! Not only are you good at it—you actually like physical therapy. Some people get so into the “study mode” that they forget PT can be fun and engaging. It is certainly more fun when you start getting that first PT paycheck, but the material is awesome!
- It’s just a plain ol’ test! They give you 5 hours to answer 250 questions. No tricks, no adaptive mechanics. You just need to answer each question and move on. There is no penalty for guessing.
- Make sure that you put an answer for every question! This is a fairly straightforward tip, but it’s amazing how easy it is to skip a question to come back to it later and then totally forget about it.
- Keep an eye on the time. You should average 1 hour per section, which comes to about 72 seconds per question.
- Plan what you’ll put on your scratchpad. Prometric will provide you with dry erase scratchpads to jot down some things or perform simple calculations. Use this as a security blanket to quickly write down some of the key information that you are likely to forget (lab values, ROM, acronyms, etc.) Remember, you can’t bring any outside material in!
- Take a break! You will get a scheduled break after section 2. Use this as a good time to visit the restroom and get a sip of water. You may also need to take “mini-mental breaks” throughout the exam to help reengage your focus. Do this by taking 3 slow breaths and then continue on. This test is a marathon, so be ready to deal with test fatigue.
- Stay positive! Negativity can lead to poorer performance, and positivity can counteract that effect. Keep reminding yourself that you really do know your stuff! Even if you’ve failed the NPTE before, you can still stay positive and work to overcome this hurdle!
Hope that helps! Knock the socks off the NPTE!