When you’re preparing for the NPTE exam, which is easier?
- Studying concepts you understand OR
- Working through ideas you’re struggling with?
For most NPTE students, the answer’s easy: #1 all the way! And it’s totally understandable.
Studying information you know makes you feel good, and it can even decrease your stress level. Overall, it gives you a sense of, “Okay, I got this!” and that’s good for your confidence. But you know what it’s not good for? Learning how to pass the NPTE in one shot. Focusing only on the areas you’ve mastered won’t lead to score improvements.
And that’s how we come to one of Dr. Rice’s best tips for how to pass the NPTE exam: Know yourself. You have to know where you are before you can make a plan to get where you’re going — and where you’re going is straight to the land of NPTE success!
3 steps for identifying (and beating!) your NPTE weaknesses
1. See the hamster wheel — and step off it
Anyone whose business is teaching people how to pass NPTE exams knows the importance of practice tests. They help you identify your weaknesses, so you know what to study next. That’s why most NPTE “gurus” give you a three-step plan:
- Take practice exams as much as possible.
- Look at where you scored lowest.
- Study that for a few days and take a new test.
For example, if you score lowest on cardiovascular, do a deep dive on cardio for a few days or a week. The problem with this approach is that when you take your next practice exam, you’ll probably improve on cardio questions at the expense of musculoskeletal, lymphatic or other sections. That is what Coach K calls “the hamster wheel.” You don’t want to go two steps forward in one place only to go three back in another. You’ve got to see the hamster wheel so you can get off of it.
2. Chart your mistakes
That said, looking at your mistakes is important! But what you do with that information once you have it matters. What we’ve seen, time and again, is that people who understand how to pass the NPTE in one shot attack their weaknesses strategically.
The best way to do that is not to just look at what you scored the lowest in or at the specific reason you missed one particular question. The key is to look at all the questions you missed and figure out why you missed them. And that starts with categorization.
Use an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets to categorize the types of questions you’re missing and why. Are they Examination or Intervention? Most people find that they’re missing certain types of questions because they’re thinking about them the wrong way — not because they don’t know the content.
3. Space out NPTE practice tests
Once you’ve identified the types of questions you’re missing, try to nail down and work through what’s tripping you up in those questions. (This is where it helps to have a support group or coach you can reach out to.) Once you think you’ve overcome your weakness, hold off on taking another practice test for a few weeks.
While many teachers would have you jump right back in, remember: Dr. Rice wants to keep you off that hamster wheel! Otherwise, you’re in a never-ending cycle of studying for exams rather than working on addressing the weaknesses you’ve identified. Instead, aim to take practice exams every two or two-and-a-half weeks rather than as often as possible.
And, if working through your weaknesses on your own hasn’t worked, ask for help.
NPTE Prep At Your Own Pace
There’s nothing more important than finding a true NPTE support system. It’s the only sure way to go from NPTE pending to NPTE passed.
Our Coaching Program gives you access to all the lectures and coursework you need to learn how to pass the physical therapy board exam but watch and complete them at your own pace. This is designed for the busy student or grad who’s looking for structure, engaging lectures, and a flexible schedule.
What’s more: It works. Our first-time pass rate for this course is 97%.
Our NPTE Coaching Program includes:
- Pre-recorded online coaching program with Dr. Rice
- Step-by-step instruction through the entire NPTE process ( Day 1 to NPTE Exam Date)
- 80+ hours of pre-recorded lectures
- Custom timelines available for students up to 9 months out from taking the NPTE exam
- Focus areas including accountability, developing a study plan and overcoming anxiety
- 24/7 access to the online platform until you pass
- Access to the private Facebook group for support and guidance
But don’t just take it from us: Take it from Dr. Hannah Schreiber!