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Journey of a DPT Student

You Know What You Know

Published January 27, 2014 4:56 PM by Lauren Rosso

I have 60 hours left between now and when I take my seat at the testing center to begin the National Physical Therapy Exam, otherwise known as the "boards," the reason I've lost all social skills, and why I can't remember the last time I had a beer. If you've been following the blog, you'll know that I decided to take the boards prior to graduation, which means that studying occurred concurrently with a full-time clinical rotation. (For those of you who are confused, certain states permit applicants to sit for the boards prior to graduation as long as all requirements are met. Visit the NPTE website for more details).

From what I understand, the majority of students spend 6-8 weeks studying "full-time" for the boards. Often this includes preparatory courses; however my program doesn't offer those resources and I doubt I would have been interested in taking a study course even if they did. So I navigated the waters with the help of some classmates and recent graduates, giving it my best shot to cover the information included in the O'Sullivan text. I guess my only fear is that my cumulative time spent studying, which occurred in shorter bouts nearly every day before or after clinical, isn't enough. It's tough to tell what I've learned, absorbed, and forgotten completely.

Another interesting aspect to taking the boards early -- I wonder how I'm going to feel if I do pass the exam? Will I lose any and all motivation to complete my final project? Will I resent my clinical rotation? And will this really make me more appealing to potential employers? There could be some very advantageous qualities if I manage to pass. Just ask me in two weeks if this was all worth it.

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I am a student at East Carolina University and will be taking the NPTE on July 22nd. I like the insight you provided and I also feel anxious about the exam. One thing that helps me feel confident in preparing for the exam is that everyone I have talked to had felt as if they failed the exam when they left the testing center. I think this is largely because we, as PT students, are used to getting A's and B's on tests. When we take a test where a good grade is literally a 70%, we may not be used to how it feels to take a test where we only know 70% of the information on it. With the practice tests I have taken, I always feel as though I did terrible on them but am consistently within the 150-165 range with each attempt. To all those like me taking the test in the coming months, keep your head up and recognize how hard you have worked and how much you have learned over the last 7 years (at least) of your education! Good luck to all!

Anthony Moss April 17, 2014 2:41 PM

We have been learning about falls in our program recently.  From what I have learned in the classroom, I do not think you will be alone in a fall happening during on of your sessions.  I know it is scary to experience- my grandmother had a recent fall and my mom said (just as you did), "It was like boom, a blink of an eye and she was on the ground."  She got a big gush to her head, two black eyes, and trip to the emergency room.  I don't think it is only your ego that got "shot," but she may have been embarrassed herself (I know my grandmother was).  Keep it up and make sure she, just as you, still feels confident and as independent as possible.  You are one of her great hopes in maintaining a functional status.

Sarah, SPT March 7, 2014 11:15 AM

Pam, Katy, I, and everyone at the Galleries in England are wishing you luck!

Dean Metz January 28, 2014 11:04 AM

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