Physical therapy remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with the sector’s value expected to reach a colossal $45 billion in 2023. It’s easy to see why the demand for physical therapy is so strong. The treatment can help lower treatment costs by an impressive 72 percent.
In recent years, careers in physical therapy have become some of the most attractive in America. With roughly 15,600 new job openings expected per year between 2020 and 2030, few occupations are more stable.
If a career in physical therapy interests you, then you’ll need to pass the NPTE at some point. Every physical therapist in America must obtain the NPTE passing score to get licensed.
Thankfully, passing the NPTE isn’t an unnecessarily complicated affair. With the following actionable tips, you can ace it on the first attempt.
1. Make a Study Schedule
One of the surest ways to boost your odds of passing board exams is to create a study schedule that keeps you focused. Start by setting a few goals to help you review content. Make a detailed study calendar to guide you on how to cover the content you need to before the exam date.
Don’t fret if you have no idea how to create a study calendar. There’s lots of helpful information on creating such calendars, as well as many templates you can modify to suit your individual study preferences.
As you create your study schedule, consider the time you have for studying. If you have twelve weeks to study for the exam, set your study calendar in such a way that you can pass your physical therapy boards in fewer weeks, such as nine or ten. The idea is to leave some days blank in case something unforeseen comes up that you need to deal with as you prepare for your NPTE.
2. Familiarize Yourself With the Content Outline
Now that you have a study schedule, it’s time to review the NPTE test outline, so you know what to expect. Top test prep companies usually offer content outlines that you’ll find useful. Find the most official and up-to-date content outline available.
Consider checking out the content outline offered by the FSBPT. Note that there may be updates and changes on the outline from year to year. However, as long as you’re looking at a solid outline, you should be able to see all the topics and categories that your NPTE will cover.
You may want to obtain a printout of the latest content outline and keep it close. This way, you can refer to it while studying for the exam.
3. Concentrate on the Key Areas
A typical NPTE test has 250 questions, with roughly 75 percent of the questions focusing on three main topics: musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and lymphatics. The remaining 25 percent of the exam tests the other five areas.
The smartest move would be to give more attention to the Big Three topics that your NPTE will test. As soon as you have a good grasp of these areas, you can study the remaining topics. Note that the information contained in all the topics will still prove beneficial as you get ready for the exam and later when practicing as a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant.
4. Take an Online Prep Course
Lots of people study on their own and ace the NPTE exam, but it’s always a good move to enroll in a prep course if you can. As long as you’ve chosen a reputable online prep course, you can be sure you’ll be thoroughly prepared by the time exam time arrives.
Online prep courses tend to be highly convenient and flexible. These courses allow you to work with highly experienced tutors who can help you see where you’re going wrong and guide you on the right path. They also help keep you accountable throughout the way, so you pass your NPTE on the first attempt.
5. Take Practice Tests
Set aside time in your study calendar to tackle NPTE PTA practice questions as part of your preparation for the exam. Take as many practice tests as you can, and review each test you take thoroughly.
Whenever you get a question wrong, take the time to understand why it happened. Could it be that you read the question wrong, or did you just confuse the answers? Did you guess the answer?
Once you understand where you went wrong, take the time to correct yourself and move on to the next practice test.
6. Use the Right Study Material
One of the first things you’ll realize when you search online for NPTE study materials is that there’s an ocean of content out there for students to take advantage of. But NPTE study materials aren’t created equal. You need to be careful what material you decide to use, so you get the most value.
Note that there’s no NPTE study material that fits everyone. Different resources accommodate different learning preferences. For instance, flashcards tend to work best for visual learners, while some people prefer lectures and presentations.
The idea should be to find learning resources that work best for you and to stick to those.
Prepare Well to Ace Your NPTE
Passing your NPTE is a critical step in your path to becoming a physical therapist in the US. The best way to ensure you’ll have an easy time during the exam is to prepare well before exam time. The tips we’ve shared in this guide can help make sure you’re ready to ace your test the first time around.
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