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Journey of a DPT Student

Stumbling Through Studying

Published December 17, 2013 2:43 PM by Lauren Rosso

The further I get into my boards study schedule, the more concerned I am about some of the content included in the review book. Maybe some of my concern is related to the fact that I'm first covering topics that I feel least comfortable with -- cardiopulmonary and modalities. But I'll be honest, there are some topics in the book that I've never seen before in my life.

Should I be concerned? Did I somehow miss this portion of PT school? Or is it just impossible to cover every single piece of information so I should expect to come across new subject matter while I'm studying for the biggest exam of my life, which is seven short weeks away? It's a little bit disconcerting, especially because I haven't been cruising through the curriculum. I didn't skip class, I tried by best to pay attention, and still I've never heard of the percussion test for peripheral venous circulation (among others).

There is also the aspect of practice exams. I've heard a lot about the difficulty level of the O'Sullivan tests, which are from the book I've been using to study. According to some people, the tests are more difficult than the boards. But that didn't necessarily give me much comfort when I took the first test and got a 73%. Yikes. Suddenly, I feel like I'm never going to have enough time to prepare for this exam, let alone get to the point where I'll feel like I'm going to pass.

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Thanks for the advice.  You are echoing a lot of my sentiments and really bringing down my panic level.  I appreciate it!

Lauren Rosso January 12, 2014 9:54 AM

Despite the length (and breadth) of PT school, it's nearly impossible for PT programs themselves to go over EVERY aspect of physical therapy, much less students. And, unfortunately, the only metric the APTA and state boards has to license PTs is the scary NPTE, which really tests more your ability to take multiple choice exams than it does your knowledge of all things physical therapy.

With that said, it (and your school's PT program, which hopefully had some sort of practical testing) is all we have to license PTs for now. I, too, didn't score higher than a 75% on any O'Sullivan practice exam, but I made sure I took any and all practice exams I could get my hands on because (again) this is more about your test-taking ability than your knowledge of physical therapy. I passed the exam on my first try. Did I get a perfect score? Of course not. Does that matter? Of course not. I'm still a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy.

So don't worry about topics you've never heard of or barely remember. You're never going to know it all anyway, and if a day comes where you think you do, I'd look for another profession.

Hays, Outpatient Ortho - Physical Therapist January 10, 2014 11:49 AM

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