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The 2 Things You MUST Study for the 2013 NPTE . . .

Tired of studying for the NPTE?I received a comment the other day, wanting to know how to direct some of the last minute, last day, “holy-guacamole-the-test-is-tomorrow” preparations.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, it really is crucial to know everything for the exam.  The FSBPT puts out a content outline showing some of the more important areas to study, and for 2013, the emphasis has been dramatically shifted to the Musculoskeletal System and the Neuromuscular System.

Again, I don’t want to take away from the fact that the test will have a fair amount of Cardiovascular, “Other Systems” (gastrointestinal, endocrine, genitourinary, and system interactions), and non-systems domains.  But more than 1/2 of the test is dedicated to the Musculoskeletal and Neuromuscular Systems.

So which two things would I study if I only had 24 hours left and my eyes were glazed over from the massive amount of material that had been absorbed over the last 3 years?

  1. General knowledge of where muscles are and what they do.  Generally.  I don’t recall having many exam questions testing the exact origin, insertion, action, and innervation of voluntary muscles, but I DO remember many of the questions requiring a broad knowledge of which muscles were involved in which movements.  For example:  If a patient has just come out of a cast and has difficulty extending the elbow, which muscle is likely at fault?  You would be right if you said the biceps or flexor carpi radialis longus, etc.  You see, it is VERY important to know what grouping of muscles do a certain action.  As you would expect, it is also very useful for clinical practice.
  2. Special tests and what they signify.  This is really a twofold studying item, but critical nonetheless.  Special tests are easy test questions to write because there is a name that does not necessarily correspond to what is being tested.  For example:  The McMurray Test is used to test which structure?  You would be right if you answered the meniscus.  If you know what the special tests are, and how they test positive on the tissues they target, this knowledge will be quite useful in many of the test questions.

Without a doubt, there is just so much to know, it can be overwhelming.  I hope this will help guide some of your last minute studying.  I can honestly say that for me, the test was NOT as bad as I had imagined it would be.  The questions were fair and the time was sufficient.  If you are prepared, this will be a deeply satisfying experience.  Good luck!

PS  I am looking for volunteers to help me with some test questions I have written.  If you would like to get a FREE copy of them, I would ask you to give me some honest feedback that I can share on the site and Facebook.  Anyone interested can email me at  Thanks!

100-Question Sample Exam

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