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DirectionsHey everyone,

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:

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.



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15 thoughts on “Updated NPTE Eligibility Limits”

    1. After Jan 1, 2016, you can only take the exam a maximum of 6 times. Thus if you have taken it 3 times before 2016, you would only have 3 more attempts possible.
      You also are penalized for extremely low scores below 400. You are permanently disqualified if you have 2 of these.
      Hope that clears it up.

  1. Surely you should be able to take it 3 times next year and then you have 6 attempts from 2016. Doesnt make much sense as that means they’re limiting you from before 2016 as they’re counting it from 2015

  2. Does it means if you failed 6 times you are ineligible to sit for the exam forever! OmG! I just got 3 attempts lately. I hope I pass this time. Help me lord!

      1. I understand it. I just think it’s punishing anyone who’s sat it various times prior…so if you’ve already failed it 6 times before 2016 you basically can never sit it again. Seems a bit harsh to set it as a retrospective rule. I’ve not sat it yet so it doesnt really affect me, but if someone has come close numerous times then they’re going to feel under lots of pressure to perform on the say, one or two more attempts for example

  3. If a new policy is being introduced today then y it will take effect from previous dates… If they implementing it from today… Wat could b done to change their policy

  4. All these so called “health care, patient safety oriented bodies” are looking to create artificial shortage and thereby incerase their demand and $$$$. This will not only increase the healthcare cost, but will make service available a “Task”. What the FSBPT should do is to reduce the passing score, make freshly graduated PT even after clearing NPTE to work under supervision for 2-4 years, and then be given an oportunity to practise without any supervision. Having worked with healthcare since the last 30 years, I have seen US to have one of the worst, hippocratic healthcare system.

  5. I am done with 6 attempts for npte. I want to ask if anyone get response from any state whether they allow to sit in exam or not after 6 attempts.

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