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How To REALLY study for the NPTE

Updated on September 17, 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.

1.
Physical Rehabilitation (O'Sullivan, Physical Rehabilitation)
Physical Rehabilitation (O'Sullivan, Physical Rehabilitation)

Physical Rehabilitation by O'Sullivan. The best reference for physical therapy application for different physical therapy cases. A very wise investment.

 
2.
Differential Diagnosis for Physical Therapists: Screening for Referral, 4e (Differential Diagnosis In Physical Therapy)
Differential Diagnosis for Physical Therapists: Screening for Referral, 4e (Differential Diagnosis In Physical Therapy)

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.

 
3.
Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 5e (Orthopedic Physical Assessment (Magee))
Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 5e (Orthopedic Physical Assessment (Magee))

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.

 
4.
Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques (Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations & Techniques) (5th edition)
Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques (Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations & Techniques) (5th edition)

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.

  1. Start to review 5 to 6 months before the big day.
  2. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes every other day or everyday if you can. Get the blood going in your body and in your brain.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Don't forget to know your weaknesses after each practice exam you take. And work on making those weakness as part of your strength.
  8. Give yourself a break. You are only human after all!

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    • profile image

      jeoman 24 months ago

      I honestly think you'd save a ton of time over your textbooks if you used a digital app like ScoreBuilders or Memorang. I believe the link to the latter is https://www.memorangapp.com/premium/21/NPTE+Flashc...

      Thanks for the great information..

    • profile image

      vaidu 2 years ago

      Hi all... i failed this 2015, January exam.. my first try... i want to start gain with great efforts.. i was studying more than 10 hours a day.. tfued to cover every importan topics i can... but , lacking somewhere. . Pls help me amy of u if u can...thanks

    • profile image

      sunshine 3 years ago

      hi..

      where can i get more practice test? can you post link ?

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 4 years ago

      Hi Bash,

      There's a list of exams that you can do found in www.passthenpte.com

      You can also go on scorebuilders, therapyed.com and fsbpt's PEAT for practice exams.

    • profile image

      Bash 4 years ago

      Hi im taking my exam in the end of july. time is ticking. ive been studying OSullivan. But the book only comes with 3 exams in the cd. ive gotten 60s in them. Anyone now what these mean for the actual exam? and where can i get more practice exams!!!

    • HuggingMommy profile image
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      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      When are you taking it? End of July? Do a one practice exam a day for three weeks before your exam date.

    • profile image

      lavender 5 years ago

      hi

      i failed twice npte exam ..can anyone tell me from where to start again thinking to give again in july..2012..is someone interested in topics discussion.problem solving?

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      Hi Daniella, I just finished a calendar guide that you can follow when reviewing for the NPTE. You can download it for free at www.passthenpte.com...

      This was how I reviewed on my own last May 2011. Hope it helps you too. :)

    • profile image

      Daniella 5 years ago

      Hi hugging mommy,

      Your post is really healpful and inspiring. Im also planning to take NPTE but had a hard time looking for best reviewer and time management. Coz I'm working everyday and had a son . So the schedule is really busy. I had a hard time looking for reviewer I'm out of the circulation for almost 10 years and I'm trying to take for the first time. And it's like I have to start from scratch. I'm wondering if the online review is also helpful or will I just invest with all the books you've mentioned? Because the online course worth 375$.and everyone is talking about the blue book that it's a must to have it.. But don't know we're to buy it. Pls I need your advice badly.tnx!

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      Yes, I certainly will! Godbless!

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      Melodiconquer 5 years ago

      Congratulations ma'am I hope I can take my exam also this year please pray with me.

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      Peat from the fsbpt site. The online exam from scorebuilders and therapyed.com.

      And the tests cd in scorebuilders, siegelman and npte by mark dutton. :)

    • profile image

      hugmommy 5 years ago

      any recommendation for where to get some practice exams?

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      Hi Mike,

      That's the spirit! Just do a lot PURE PRACTICE EXAMS 3 weeks before the exam date. I will include you in my prayers!

    • profile image

      MiKeSanTiLLaN 5 years ago

      Thx for the TIPS huggingMommy......SIGH.. i didn't make it last Dec. 5.....i'm planning to do it again MARCH 2012 hope i can foolow your GUIDE and HURDLE the NPTE....PRAY4me....THX a LOT ...from NY a native davaoneo

    • profile image

      Johnny 5 years ago

      hi, I am also a Foreign graduate waiting to take the exam. I am not sure if anybody knows the correct answer to this question. I was wondering if anyone knows what type of questions carry more weight?. Is there a way of telling? also is it true that questions with lengthy stem has more weight? I would appreciate if anyone respond to this question.

    • profile image

      Johnny 5 years ago

      hi, I am also a Foreign graduate waiting to take the exam. I am not sure if anybody knows the correct answer to this question. I was wondering if anyone knows what type of questions carry more weight?. Is there a way of telling? also is it true that questions with lengthy stem has more weight? I would appreciate if anyone respond to this question.

    • profile image

      Vic 5 years ago

      Dandie, I am not the author of this page but I can share how I study for my second try in October.

      1.You have to STUDY ! ! !

      2. I took Therapyed course. 3. Bought O'Sullivan guide, Saunders Q&A for PT. 4. Going over material one more time. 5. Focusing on topics the board likes to ask. 6. Formed study group with my classmates who failed. 7. Pray !!! I would recommend some type of course that is longer than two days. Most important do not give up !

      My question: Is it true that you can take NPTE only 3x in 12 months??? Thank You.

    • profile image

      dandie 5 years ago

      i took my exam 4x already:( lord have mercy i just don't know what's the best thing to do.... please help me and share what you've got i really need it very badly!

    • profile image

      Vic 5 years ago

      Audrey, I studied 5-8 hrs everyday for month and half. Now, I study 6 hours every day reviewing material I did not do well on. My focus is on Musculoskeletal, Wounds and Safety! Pay attention to motor control and motor learning and feedback for different types of patients. I would strongly recommend to take O'Sullivan 600 questions test and identify your weaknesses. Study hard, do not skip material. I hope this helped.

    • profile image

      Audrey 5 years ago

      Hello vic!

      How long did you study in preparation for the sept npte? Im takin it next month. I actually have the blue book, ier, scorebuilders and the peat which i bought online... What strategy are you going to do and what are you going to focus more on?

    • profile image

      Vic 5 years ago

      I failed with my 1st attempt in September. Test is HARD. You need to go over plenty of cases studies in every discipline. I would recommend only O'Sullivan guide ( a lot questions came from that guide). Score builders waste of time and money - sample questions good to go over but nothing else. Now, my focus is only on IER and O'Sullivan. If you have some extra money you can buy Saunder's guide with 1200 questions (good investment). Good Luck Everybody !

    • profile image

      Mr BOB 5 years ago

      im planning to take NPTE canada,. what review center can u suggest,. thanks!

    • profile image

      indiasingh 5 years ago

      i am applying for NPTE 2011, in coming october. right now i have RG sullivan siegelman 2009 edition, please tell me that i need to spend money for buying the 2011 edition or the 2009 would suffice. In addition, please tell me some source to buy BLUE BOOK, SCOTT AND GILES, GOODMAN AND SNYDER,At cheaper rates.

    • profile image

      jovy 5 years ago

      Hi congratulations on ur victory. Do you have any idea if the 3 sets of practice tests of RG sullivan siegelman 2010 and 2011 are the same? I have RG 2010, im actually after for the practice tests. isn't worth buying for considering I have RG 2010? Thank you so much, your help is greatly appreciated.

    • profile image

      khushi 5 years ago

      Hi

      i am from india. i am thinking to give my NPTE exam this october 2011 or dec.but i have not started studying atall.i just cant think how to study and how to go about step by step.which books do you think would be helpful.please guide me pleaseeeee i will be really very grateful to you....my mail id is khushimaliya@gmail.com

      Thanks

      Khushi

    • profile image

      Alex 5 years ago

      Hey Congrats on ur victory. Plz can u tell me briefly and clearly about the strategy u followed ? Thanks in advance

    • profile image

      Gina 5 years ago

      Thank you HuggingMommy for the very useful advice! I was supposed to take the NPTE last May 2011 but I was denied at the embassy. I'm planning to take it this December. Right now, I'm working full time and I really don't know how I am going to review. Though I had attended a five month review in a review center in Morayta but I think I have to focus more on my weaknesses especially musculoskeletal! My brain really bleeds every time I have to analyze a musculoskeletal question! My greatest fear is I did not have the experience to begin. Some people say that you should be exposed in the clinics, you have to do group studies and etc. How can I do that if I'm working? I really want to thank you! Congratulations on passing the exams!

    • HuggingMommy profile image
      Author

      HuggingMommy 5 years ago

      Hi Dexter! Congratulations for passing the NPTE! I also passed! :D I think our study strategy worked! This time around, I only read the IER 2011 and Differential Diagnosis by Goodman... And took a lot of practice exams 3 weeks before May 25.... Congratulations again!!! So happy for all of us who passed!

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      DEXTER SORRONDA 5 years ago

      HEY DID YOU PASS THE NPTE? i PASSED MY NPTE WHICH I TOOK LAST MAY 25, 2011, IM FROM THE PHILIPPINES BUT IM CURRENTLY WORKING AS ON-SUPERVSION THERAPIST IN AMERICAN SAMOA FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS AND I PASSED THE NPTE IN A SINGLE TAKE USING IER 2009 EDITION ONLY..LOL...I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF YOU PASS TOO BECAUSE I KNOW WE HAVE THE SAME SCHEDULE, I ONLY TOOK A MONTH BREAK TO STUDY AND THAT'S IT, I CRAMMED MYSELF FOR ABOUT 3 WEEKS ONLY...I WAS SO NERVOUS THAT I WONT MAKE IT BECAUSE YOU'RE RESOURCES ARE SO OVERWHELMING AND I DONT HAVE ANY OF THE BOOKS YOU MENTIONED, I WAS AMAZED OF THE PREPARATION U DID...THANKS AT LEAST I PASSED...

    • profile image

      trish_baby 6 years ago

      I am planning to take the NPTE this coming Sept or Dec..haven't started reading yet.. I don't know how to manage my review time, esp that a have a 2yr old baby. I have almost all the books needed, it's just that I don'y know how to start. Can anybody please give me tips/ Please.. Thanks.

    • HuggingMommy profile image
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      HuggingMommy 6 years ago

      I think it will be better if you just read the IER 2011, Goodman and do ALL the practice exams that you can do starting April. Don't force it too much. God know we are all doing our best. And it will be given the least we expect it.

      At Lief, I'll write about the FCCPT steps that I had to take to get ny NYSED eligibility going... Will try to write about that within this week (Mar 7 to 14, 2011) okay?

    • profile image

      lief 6 years ago

      Hi in_cube in NY,

      I read that you are going to take the exam in NY this May. I also want to be licensed in NY but I have not taken any steps yet. What are the things you did? Is it FCCPT first? I am a US permanent resident currently in Canada.

      I hope you to hear from you soon.

    • profile image

      in_cube in NY 6 years ago

      hI! I tried to play "lumosity brain training games" last 2mos ago and to tell you honestly it really gets worst for me.

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