Tips for Avoiding Test Anxiety on the NPTE
It has been a few weeks since I posted—sorry about the delay. I’ve been working like mad to get the next Mastermind Study Group all set to go. It’s still not too late to join this next group if you’re interested. I’m also very excited to announce that PT Final Exam is officially up and running. The name change will be a good one. I’m working on carving out a niche as a coach for students preparing for the NPTE, and I think that the new name PT Final Exam will be a good change.
In conjunction with the name change, I have been officially added to the APTA’s list of NPTE preparation courses. Mind you, the APTA does not endorse or sanction any course, but it is nice to get some recognition. I started this program almost 2 years ago, and it has been so much fun! I truly enjoy helping students get through one of the most difficult exams they’ll ever face, and it really helps students! I had 2 students from this last session get flagged by the FSBPT because they raised their scores by approximately 20% from their previous attempts! Another exciting moment was when a student of mine passed the exam on her 11th attempt! She had taken every other test prep course out there and finally passed after taking my class. I’m very encouraged by the results I’m having. From my most recent group, our pass rate was about 70%. The 30% that didn’t pass attribute a lot of their troubles to test anxiety.
I truly believe that everyone suffers from test anxiety in one form or another. This test anxiety can cause emotional and physical responses that severely limit a person’s ability to perform well on the exam. Here are a few tips I tell my students that my help you overcome test anxiety:
- Familiarize yourself with the test environment—everyone knows that an unfamiliar environment can be daunting. You are already nervous, but to be in a new place with new people can be a big challenge. To minimize this, try these suggestions:
o Visit the testing site before your exam date. Plan your route to and from the testing center and have a good “plan B” in place.
o Take the PEAT exam on the computer. It costs about $90, but it will help you see the format of the questions on a computer screen. Again, we’re just minimizing anything new.
o Take practice exams in a “test environment”—Set aside 5 hours and practice the motion of going through the test. Give yourself the scheduled 15 minute break after the second section. Practice during the time of day you will be taking your exam. Schedule your exam during the day when you’re the most awake and alert.
- Get to know the content of the exam—I’ve told numerous students, “No amount of test anxiety preparation will compensate for a lack of knowledge of the material.” I’ve had quite a number of students try to “game” the system by working on being good guessers. You simply must KNOW THE MATERIAL! My Mastermind Study Group takes students through the material in an organized fashion, focusing on the Content Outline published by the FSBPT. If you haven’t read through and practically memorized the content outline, you will struggle.
- Just relax—learn everything and be familiar with the exam environment, but after that, just relax! You can do this! Be confident in your skills. Use all of that doctoral training to persevere.
- If you don’t pass—it’s not the end! Get your performance report and use it to make your weaknesses become your strengths. The NPTE doesn’t define you—it refines you!
- Get support—have a team that is excited to support you and help you. This can be classmates, family, or the Mastermind Study Group. The important part is that you have one!
These are the key points that I always tell my students, and they will work for you, too. Please don’t hesitate to email me with any concerns you may have. I’m always interested to hear what you have to say and reply with blistering speed. Keep up the good work, and let me know how I can help!