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Journey of a DPT Student

Musculoskeletal Competency Exam

Published November 5, 2012 1:10 PM by Lauren Rosso

On Thursday morning, please send positive vibes my way. At 8:30 a.m., I'll be working my way through my first true competency practical. The exam will reflect basically everything we've learned in our musculoskeletal course series over the past year and a half, and the most comprehensive evaluation we've had up to this point. No one has quite figured out the implications for failing this practical. Will we get kicked out? Put on probation? Publically humiliated? I think we're afraid to know the answer... just in case.

I'll admit -- I should have started preparing for this much earlier than I did. I was hoping that once I sat down to review, most of the information would come back to me and I'd only have to take time to revisit the manual interventions. I wasn't completely wrong, but I wasn't right, either.

As always, I'm amazed at how much I've forgotten over the past year. I've been rereading some old lectures and I have to laugh when I see concepts, written in my own handwriting, that seem completely new to me. How am I ever going to pass the boards?! I'm not completely hopeless, though. At least it's much easier to learn this stuff the second time around, which leads me to believe that somewhere in the depths of my developing PT brain, these concepts are just dying to be remembered.

I go back and forth between doubtful panic and calm confidence. I'm hoping that a bit more preparation will push me toward the latter, but who knows? What I do know is that when Thursday is over, I'm going to be very relieved.

2 comments

Hi Lauren!

My name is Meredith Hayek and I am a first year DPT student in East Carolina University’s program.  I know I am behind you in schooling, but I can only imagine how nervous you were for this practical!  I started the program last May, and this past fall we had exams and practicals that were cumulative from the semester before.  It was nerve racking trying to remember all the information, but after I looked over the “old” material from the summer, some did seem to come back into my knowledge easier than before, just like you mentioned.  It is amazing how much information we will learn in three years, but exciting at the same time!  We are about to leave for our first clinical affiliation in a couple weeks, so we have a week of exams before we leave.  I feel overwhelmed with the amount of material I have to study for 5 different exams, and honestly cannot even imagine studying for the boards! Good luck with finishing out PT school!

Meredith Hayek, , DPT Student ECU March 6, 2013 9:23 PM
Greenville NC

I am wondering what it is they're teaching about exam these days. Much of what we thought we could depend upon in the past has been obviated by neuroscience during the past 15 years or so.

MANY PTs wonder about this.

Barrett Dorko, Manual Care - Physical Therapist, Many November 8, 2012 8:48 AM
Cuyahoga Falls OH

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