One of the most effective ways to study and prepare for your physical therapy exam is to register for the FSBPT Online PEAT, also called the Practice Exam and Assessment Tool. This is a mock test that has been developed by the same organization that administers the NPTE, which adds credibility to the course.
This dummy test is timed so it will help you practice in pacing yourself. Time management is a crucial element of the physical therapy exam. Personally, I have found one strategy to work well, hand in hand, with PEAT and other online tests. I call it ‘mental brainstorming with the NPTE‘.
Here is how it works…When you look at the question, try and anticipate the answer, without looking at the choices. Force your brain to think through the question and brainstorm really hard. With some practice (and a few thousand questions), this will be a skill you will develop and which will become sharper with time. Mind you, this is not an easy skill to build, since it involve some degree of ‘engram formation’, where your brain is forced to predict the answer, without access to the multiple choices. If you can’t think of the answer, try and think of a solution that is close enough so that when you finally resort to viewing the options you can pick the closest answer. This is where the NPTE really tests you… 2 of the 4 options in the test are usually a waste of time. The remaining 2 options are (generally) likely to be correct. Your ‘mental brainstorming’ of the question prior to looking at the answers will tip you over the edge and help you choose the correct answer…
PEAT provides you with the rationale for a correct answer for each question that is correct. Understanding the basis for an answer is an important part of exam preparation. Mock tests help you get familiar with timed computer-based exams especially if you are used to writing your exams with pencil and paper. PEAT is considered to be the same difficulty level as the actual physical therapy exam, although there have been reports of surprises (good and bad) in the final test.
PEAT has a format and structure similar to the actual physical therapy exam. So you will be able to prepare for the exam and simulate test taking conditions as precisely as possible. It provides you with immediate and automatic scoring for your practice examination so you immediately know how well you’ve fared and what your weak areas are.
PEAT provides you with a detailed performance report by content area and system so you know which are the areas that you need to focus on, as you prepare for the physical therapy exam.
Every answer is supported by a rationale and references so that you know why you went wrong or why your answer is correct. Whichever method you choose to study and prepare for the physical therapy exam, it is critical to get a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
Leverage this information while studying and work harder on those areas that need improvement. While preparing for the physical therapy exam, keep aside a greater proportion of time for those areas that you are not so good at and time yourself to complete those areas quicker, which lie within your core competencies.
The secret to studying and preparing for the physical therapy exam is to capitalize on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.