How To REALLY study for the NPTE
UPDATE! I Passed the NPTE last May 2011
Having the ALL the books won't cut it
Know your game plan.
I am currently reviewing for my second attempt to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam in the United States this coming May 2011. Yes, I am part of the Philippine contingent who will be trying their luck to pass the NPTE exam, and have the opportunity to work in the US.
Being a work at home mom to a four year old boy, it was difficult for me to prepare for my first examination last June 2010. I thought that having ALL the recommended books, and reading each gigantic textbook and reviewers would help me ace the exam.
But reading and just simply studying wouldn't cut it. You need to have the right strategy to at least pass the exam!
Get ONLY the BOOKS that you'll NEED.
Physical Rehabilitation by O'Sullivan. The best reference for physical therapy application for different physical therapy cases. A very wise investment.
I love this textbook. It's so easy to read, and therefore easy to understand. It provides case study examples, which provides great information in knowing between systemic disease or a real physical therapy case that needs treatment. I love the summary and the helpful questions in the end of every chapter.
Best reference for orthopedic physical assessment. All the special tests that you need to know is here. You don't have to read it from cover to cover. It is a good investment for special tests details while studying and you can also definitely use for work.
Great resource of therapeutic exercise! Another wise investment for reading on the exercises applicable for each case of muscle group. Learn how to correctly execute each exercise with precision.
How to get your brain organized.
Before my first NPTE exam, I really thought that I'll breeze through it. I have all the books needed and maybe even more. I read all these books from cover to cover, for 6 months, 8 hours every single day.
My whole world revolved around reading books and reading more books. Which is not exactly the best way to ace any exam.
What you really need is to STRATEGIZE, PLAN and UNDERSTAND.
I was so caught-up in reading every single text of all the books that I have. And tried to ram it up inside the rusty crevices of my brain. It all backfired.
TherapyEd’s 2011 NPTE Review and Study Guide
Recommendations of an NPTE reject.
I know that I have not passed the NPTE yet. But after taking the exam the first time, and knowing how freakishly hard the 500-item National Physical Therapy Exam is. I can share some tidbits on how to REALLY prepare for it.
- Start to review 5 to 6 months before the big day.
- Exercise 30 to 60 minutes every other day or everyday if you can. Get the blood going in your body and in your brain.
- Aside from getting the 4 recommended books that I mentioned, get TherapyEd’s 2011 NPTE Review and Study Guide. Read and completely UNDERSTAND every single word from cover to cover. And go over it five times if time permits.
- Study by cases and disorders. NOT BY BOOKS. For example, read the chapter of spinal cord injury in all your books consecutively for 3 days, and then all about Cardiovascular diseases for 2 days, and so on and so forth.
- Dedicate 3 hours of study time in the morning and another 2 to 3 hours of study time in the afternoon or evening. Don't forget that there is life outside the books that you're reading!
- And on the last month and a half before D-day, do practice exams every single day! Train your brain to get used to analyzing and solving problems for 5 hours straight! The more you practice, the more your brain and your body adapts to the stress in those grueling 5 hours of taking the exam.
- Don't forget to know your weaknesses after each practice exam you take. And work on making those weakness as part of your strength.
- Give yourself a break. You are only human after all!