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For everyone who made it through the October 2014 NPTE, congratulations!  No matter the results, you should be commended for your hard work and desire to pursue your physical therapy dreams.

I know that for many students, this week is a time to celebrate.  I have been answering hundreds of emails from students who passed the NPTE—I feel privileged to have played a small part in their success via my blog.

I also know that there are many students who did not pass the exam.  I have also received a number of emails from students who tell me that they failed the NPTE. For those students, I mourn with you and hope that you will find inspiration to continue on the path to your dreams.

What’s the Next Step?

This is by far the most frequent question I get from students who have failed the NPTE. For the most part, these are bright and intelligent students who don’t know where they went wrong.  The most common mistakes that cause people to fail the NPTE include:

  • Failing to give themselves enough time to study before the exam.
  • Overestimating their knowledge of the material.
  • Underestimating the difficulty of the NPTE.
  • Planning major events on the week of the NPTE.
  • Being unfamiliar with the test environment in the Prometric testing centers.

If you are a student who has struggled with any of these items, you may be asking yourself, “What is the next step?”

Here are a few thoughts about where you should go from here:

  1. Go through the stages of grief, including morning and acceptance. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with people who care for you and are cheering for you. In essence, you’ve been knocked down and you need to surround yourself with people that lift you up.
  2. Review and determine what went wrong. This is possibly the most difficult step in this process. You have to honestly and thoroughly evaluate what went wrong on the test. I highly suggest that you write these down with pen and paper. This is going to be the best blueprint for the next stage of studying.
  3. Get the help you need. As you look at what gave you the most difficult time on the NPTE, it should then become clear what sort of remediation you need to do. For instance, if anxiety was your biggest problem, then you need to start working on ways to reduce that anxiety. If it is severe enough, this could require medical attention. If your anxiety was based on unfamiliarity with the test environment, this can be remediated by practicing, practicing, practicing.
  4. Enroll in a course. Surrounding yourself with people who are interested in your success and give you perspective for the NPTE will be critical.

How can PT Final Exam help?

About two months before each exam, I host a Mastermind Study Group for students preparing for the NPTE. This is by far the most effective and economical way to study for the NPTE. This has been the means for hundreds of students to finally pass the NPTE.

Here’s a brief video that describes the course and will help you decide if this is a good fit for you:

Moving Forward

No matter what you decide to do, I hope that you will press on. I am a sincere believer that nothing in life that is truly worth accomplishing ever comes easily. If physical therapy is your dream, you should not give up on your dream. If you are only in this for the money, it will be very difficult to persevere to the end.

As educator Dr. Reema Parikh has said: “Study with a smile!” Don’t ever forget why you love this material. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I wish you all the best in your studies!

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