While you know you need to be disciplined and hold to your study schedule for your upcoming NPTE exam date, it can be difficult to find the NPTE study motivation to keep you on track. You may continuously tell yourself that you’ll find plenty of time to study before your exam, but actually making it happen can be a different story.
Naturally, finding the energy and motivation to pick up a book is a tremendous challenge to overcome. Here, we offer tips to find NPTE study motivation and prevent excessive procrastination.
1. Make an NPTE study schedule and stick to it
Setting dates for yourself and blocking off time to study in you calendar will provide structure and help keep you from procrastinating. For example, outline the exact weeks you’ll study each content area. Outline a week to focus on musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, pulmonary, and integumentary physical therapy. Outline another week when you’ll study pediatric and geriatric physical therapy and other systems, and so on.
2. Stay positive about studying
Positivity is key to productivity. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University found in his research that negative influences can shrink your hippocampus –– the part of your brain that controls your emotions, houses memories, and drives you to solve problems. So as you work to remember important material leading up to your exam, heavy amounts of stress and negative feelings could be detrimental to your progress.
The stressors that come with being a PTA student may not be entirely avoidable, but you can shift your perspective to focus on the more positive aspects of your studies. When you keep your end goal in mind, NPTE study motivation will come easier. Continuously remind yourself that while studying is hard work, it will be worth it when you pass your exam and can start your rewarding career as a physical therapist assistant.
3. Don’t force NPTE study motivation
While positivity is crucial, according to Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David, you can’t simply force yourself to get into the right mindset for work. If your mind and body are telling you that relaxation is more important than picking up your book, let yourself have that time. Find your NPTE study motivation later and come back to the book when you’re feeling well-rested and in a positive mood more conducive to studying.
As you build your NPTE study schedule, consider clearly outlining the days of weeks and times when you have the most free time and will be in a better mindset to absorb and retain your materials. As you create this schedule, ensure you have time built in for necessary breaks during your study sessions to rest, recharge, and revisit your study materials feeling refreshed.
4. Use a support system
Forming a study group with your fellow classmates can provide the positive peer pressure you need to stick to your goals. In addition to your PTA program classmates, when you take TherapyEd’s NPTE Prep Course, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other students who are working toward your same goal. Through the course, you’ll discover your biggest strengths and weaknesses, and you can find study partners or form study groups with students whose areas of focus match or complement yours.
If you form a study group with fellow TherapyEd students, consider assigning each member of a topic area to summarize for everyone. Studies show that teaching others is actually a very effective way to learn. So, to master a content area you’re not yet confident in, study it as if you will teach others, then walk your NPTE study group through it.
You can also look to online groups and forums like Facebook, Reddit, and more for students who are preparing for the exam at the same time you are. As you work toward your NPTE test date, you can share progress, and exchange study tips or motivation tactics with these students as well.
5. Reward yourself for meeting your goals
When you do hard work, you deserve a reward. While passing the NPTE will be satisfying in and of itself once you’ve finished studying, you should have smaller goals leading up to that date. Set up a system to figuratively pat yourself on the back every time you pass a practice test or finish reviewing a challenging topic or chapter.
When you reach the end of your studying, treat yourself to a nice dinner out, buy yourself something you’ve had your eye on, or reward yourself in some other way. You’ve stuck to your goals and you’re ready to pass the NPTE.
Once you’ve learned how to find your NPTE study motivation, make sure you have the right tools on hand to prepare you for your exam date, like TherapyEd’s Review & Study Guide for the NPTE. Or, sign up for a Therapyed NPTE Prep Course near you, and receive a Review & Study Guide book with your registration.