Within the next couple weeks, many will be taking the NPTE and starting off their careers as PT's. Hopefully you have been studying hard the last few weeks or months and are stress-free and ready for the big day! In reality, many often feel anxiety and panic set in as the exam gets closer. You may feel like you need to keep cramming up to the exam, have given up hope or have no idea what to do at all! Take a deep breath, and try a few of these steps:
1: The day before the exam plan to do something relaxing. Whether it's seeing a movie, going for a hike, hanging with friends, or any other stress-relieving activity, you should take your mind off the exam in some way. If you absolutely feel the need to study, take just a little time that day to review a small study guide you may have created. This isn't the time to learn something new. It's time to reinforce areas you already know. I watched a movie and ate some ice cream the night of the exam!
2: I recommend some light exercise the morning of the exam. If you like to go for a walk, run, bike ride, lift weights, or whatever, do something to get the blood flow going and open up your mind. Getting up and moving early will help prevent you from feeling tired during the long test.
3: Eat something healthy in the morning. While you do get a break during the exam, you likely will still be hungry. Your mind works better with energy, don't let skipping a meal get in your way of doing well on the NPTE!
4: Finally, be confident! You have graduated PT school already, which was the hard part. You've done the studying over the last few weeks or months. You know the material. You will rock the exam!
Once you are done with the exam, celebrate! I know you don't know the result yet, but you completed the NPTE. You won't know the results for at least a week, so you might as well do something to take your mind off the exam. Go on a vacation, hang out at the pool, spend time with friends. There is no point in worrying about the score at this point, so just enjoy your time!
-Dr. Chris Fox, DPT, OCS
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