Three Reasons Your NPTE Score Won’t Improve.

“So you’re getting close to the NPTE. You are starting to  feel anxious and frustrated that your scores are not changing, but you’re studying 8, 10, 12 hours a day…”

If you’re not happy with your practice exam or National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) scores, there is a chance you are unknowingly experiencing one of three reasons for “stuck” scores. However, there are actionable steps that you can implement to break free of low scores and finally PASS. 

Continue reading to see if you are falling into the trap of one of these problems and what you need to do to fix it. 

Let’s jump into number one.

1. Thinking You Don’t Know Enough

What if you have all of the knowledge needed to PASS the NPTE, yet you still focus so heavily on it, spending so much energy to fix a problem that is NOT there? You study and study and study, and you still are not seeing the improvements you feel you should. 

If a patient had lower back pain caused by a muscle strain, you wouldn’t do interventions to the shoulder to fix that! This same concept applies to fixing your NPTE score. What if knowledge is not your issue, but it’s the only issue you are trying to address? 

Coach K recognized that he had the necessary knowledge to pass the NPTE, so he began looking around at what else may be impacting his score. Admittedly, Coach K had struggled with standardized tests his whole life and determining what the questions were asking. For this reason, he spent the last months leading up to his NPTE attempt focusing on perfecting test strategies.

Coach K stated, “I went from a 45% on my therapy ed to a perfect 800 perfect score. What I have to credit to that is I figured out what the problem was and fixed it.” It’s as simple as that. Coach K recognized the problem and addressed it with a targeted solution. 

So again, ask yourself,” What if knowledge is not the issue?”.

2. Thinking the NPTE is Full Of Trick Questions

“PT school is cutthroat and puts you in a losing system. You feel that you can’t trust your gut anymore”, Coach K states. Why would he say this?

He said this to shed light on an issue you may be experiencing without realizing and by no fault of your own. You may have had professors that were not dedicated to your success. Professors that, even when wrong, would not admit it. Professors that created test questions with intentions of tricking you, something they can’t do on standardized tests.

Let’s talk about that last one. The NPTE is standardized. They CAN’T trick you, regardless of how much you feel they may try. Recognizing that fact starts today on the very next practice question you face. So for every question you see from here on out, you need to be in the mindset that there are no tricks.

All the information you need to get the question right is laid out for you. It’s time to stop thinking the NPTE is trying to trick you and start implementing your test strategies to get the question right. Speaking of test strategies…

3. Focusing on Test Techniques Instead of Test Strategy

We are talking about fundamental test strategies, not little tricks like opposite answers or covering up the solutions that may work occasionally. What about when there are no opposites or covering the answer does nothing for you? What then?

You need a STRATEGY. You need to set up a system that you can use to answer every type of question, a strategy that if I’m arriving at the final two answers and look, I know exactly how to get myself out of that situation. That is a strategy, and if you don’t have one ready to use, you should make that your priority.

Addressing knowledge issues during these last few weeks leading up to the NPTE may net you a few more correct answers, but those few correct answers pale in comparison to what a properly implemented test strategy will do for your NPTE score.

What’s The Next Step?

So, if you’ve been struggling to pass the NPTE and your knowledge is up-to-date, it might be time to take a closer look at how you are approaching the test. These are three factors that may impact your score without you knowing. Now that we identified these potential problems, it is time for you to take corrective action.

To learn more about how the PT Hustle can help you address these issues, join our free Facebook group at Whether this is your first NPTE attempt or your third, the PT Hustle can help you make it your LAST. 

Dominate the NPTE

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