If you’re like most PTA students, you’re wondering how to know when you’re ready to take the NPTE. Have you studied long enough? Do you know all the right material? Will you just feel it in your gut? Everyone is different, so there are no clear finish lines like studying for 100 hours or reading your NPTE review book five times. But, there are four signs that can indicate when you’re ready to take the NPTE –– and pass.
1. You've followed your study schedule
Study plans are crucial for success. At the outset of your NPTE preparation, you should develop a clear, comprehensive schedule that outlines areas of focus and how you’ll tackle your biggest weaknesses. This schedule will help you pinpoint when you’re ready to take the NPTE for PTA.
If you follow along with that plan, meet your study goals, and clearly notice yourself retaining knowledge, you should feel confident in your abilities by the time your NPTE test day arrives — whether it’s in two, three or six months.
2. You've done well on your practice exams
If you’ve done well on multiple NPTE practice exams –– and there’s been an improvement every time you’ve taken one –– this is a clear indicator of when you’re ready to take the NPTE. We recommend taking all of the available TherapyEd practice exams, which closely match the format of the actual exam and are designed to be more rigorous than the NPTE itself to better prepare you to succeed.
We also suggest that you closely replicate the conditions of the exam. For example, take the practice NPTE at the same time your exam is scheduled, sit at a desk, wear what you would the day of the exam, and eat what you would beforehand. Passing your practice exams under identical conditions will provide a better gauge for determining when you’re ready to pass the NPTE.
3. You're confident you know the material inside and out
After studying your NPTE material for some time, including taking practice tests and attending a prep course, you may find yourself dreaming of the NPTE content at night. While some may view this as a symptom of test anxiety, it can also be a sign that you’ve thoroughly retained the NPTE material and are ready to take your exam.
As you review material, if you can anticipate what comes next and make logical connections right off the bat, that’s a clear sign that you are prepared. But be warned: don’t confuse familiarity with comprehension. Challenge yourself to look at each content domain in different ways and approach questions from a new lens to ensure that you haven’t just memorized your NPTE study materials, but can think critically about them.
4. You feel ready to start your career
At its core, this test is a professional exam. If you feel you’re ready to be a physical therapist assistant and to apply what you’ve learned to real-life patients, you’re likely ready to pass the NPTE and begin that next phase of your career.
Of course, there are no guaranteed indicators of when you’re ready to take the NPTE for PTA. Other factors like unexpected life events can throw you for a loop. But if you identify with the above qualities, you should feel confident enough to keep test anxiety at bay.
Our NPTE for PTA Review & Study Guide is the most comprehensive guide available and can help you pass the NPTE on the first try. Our one-day prep course will also help you pinpoint the areas you should focus on as you prepare to take the exam. We’re committed to helping you pass. If you don’t pass the NPTE for PTA on your first try after taking our course, you can attend our course again free of charge.