Many of you have probably already seen the news article from the FSBPT concerning updated NPTE eligibility policies, but I wanted to help break it down for you as you get ready for the NPTE. Until now, a student could take the NPTE up to 18 times according to FSBPT policy. Some states restrict the number of attempts in that particular state (I know of several that limit the attempts to 3), but this has typically been a concern of state licensing boards. Now, a student will only be allowed to take the exam a maximum of 6 times as of January 1, 2016. This is an interesting shift in policy for the FSBPT.
What does this mean for you?
If you have not attempted the NPTE, you’ll still get 6 possible attempts at clearing it. You should just plan on doing it in less than 6 tries. This should be your goal anyway.
If you have already had multiple attempts, you’ll still be allowed to take 3 exams in 2015 (a current policy is only 3 attempts in a 12 month period). However, if you have already had 6 attempts by January 1, 2016, you will be permanently ineligible to sit for the exam. The FSBPT does describe an exceptions process, but this will likely be for exceptional cases, not just an automatic exception.
Here’s a scenario: Let’s say you’ve taken the exam 4 times already. You are eligible for up to 3 more attempts in the next 12 months. If you take it 3 times in 2015 for a total of 7 attempts, you’ll then be unable to sit for the exam in 2016. Bottom line: 6 attempts total.
Another policy update is the “low score rule.” If you have 2 consecutive attempts with a score lower than 400/800, you will be ruled as ineligible for further attempts. This policy is meant to eliminate unqualified candidates from taking the test and reduces the potential for cheating on the exam. This policy will go into effect on January 1, 2016 as well.
How should you prepare?
As the FSBPT is clearly indicating, they only want qualified individuals to take the exam. As a clinician, I can understand this overarching goal. We only want well-qualified and proficient entry-level physical therapists.
Therefore, do not take your preparation lightly. The FSBPT publishes their pass rates on an annual basis, and currently the pass rates are as follows:
- 90% pass rate for first-time test takers who are US-trained.
- 33% pass rate for first-time test takers who are foreign-trained.
- 82% overall first time pass rate.
Whatever you do, take your preparation seriously. If you haven’t yet, you should consider taking an exam preparation course like my Mastermind Study Group to help you understand what is on the test and organize your studies. Most students fail the exam because they likely:
- Overestimate their knowledge
- Underestimate the difficulty of the NPTE
- Lack organization/prioritization to their studies
- Lack adequate time to prepare
Don’t fall victim to these common pitfalls. Prepare well. Check out my free Study Outline to use as a checklist for your studies.