Medical personnel

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many “worlds” upside down, especially for candidates preparing for the April National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). With so much uncertainty on a day-to-day basis, it is so hard to know what to do or how to go about your day. With the unknown, the reality of this scary virus can change anyone’s life from being healthy to being really sick.


No Control Creates NPTE Anxiety

At the moment, it is more likely than not that the April NPTE will be cancelled. Currently, the Federal State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) is talking with the Prometric Centers to figure out the logistics in order to create a plan. However, the FSBPT doesn’t have a clear or complete picture of the situation from the Prometric sites. 

They are unable to provide any additional information since they don’t have control over when they will get more answers in order to plan for continued discussions next week. The FSBPT is waiting to receive more definite information on what centers will be open, when and the number of seats that would be available for NPTE candidates. With no control over when that will be done, this creates anxiety for the board as well as for candidates.

Man cancelling NPTE

My Prometric Site Didn’t Cancel

Each state has a different amount of COVID-19 active infections, some Prometric sites have already sent out cancellation emails. If your site hasn’t cancelled yet, there’s a possibility that they may by next week. According to the FSBPT, the misinformation regards to the email from the Prometric about resuming after April 16 and would reschedule within 7-10 days. Until FSBPT has more information on what to do, it’s probably best to wait.


Unknown Drives Craziness

As much as the FSBPT would like to provide more information, they are also left with many unknowns. While it’s very frustrating and crazy for candidates, this is unchartered territory for everyone including the FSBPT and Prometric centers. They want answers just like the candidates that planned for the April exams. Just know that the FSBPT is not doing this to mess with your mind or drive you crazy with the unknowns. They’ll provide updates when they can.

Collaborating online NPTE

Out of Your Control

This whole situation is out of your control and it’s not good to spend each day wondering when the FSBPT will give an update. Why? It’s wasted energy and stressful thoughts which don’t help your immune system. Remember that any added anxiety, stress and fear weaken your immune system. And this isn’t the time for you to get sick. Because with any symptom similar to what is presented, you may think you actually have the COVID-19. That’s not what you need at the moment. 


Control What You Can

So, what do you do? Let go of what’s out of your control. You don’t know when or what the FSBPT will say next. Don’t spend time clicking on either the FSBPT or Prometric sites for the next few days as it’s not productive and won’t let you feel any better. So, just acknowledge any nonproductive feeling and then tell yourself that you’ll focus on controlling what you can. Focus on being present and now. At this time, control your mindset: what you think, say, write and do.

Man sorting though thoughts for the NPTE

But When’s the NPTE?

Do you have to wait until July? At the moment, no one knows as the number of cases and stay-at-home orders continue to get extended. However, before the April exam, you can reschedule for the July exam dates and avoid paying any additional fees. Priority seating is being looked into so that you are able to take the exam without wondering if you are competing for those initially planned for July.

The hope is that a plan would be in place sooner than later to avoid a longer uncertainty about testing. So, it would be best to continue to study and be prepared to take the NPTE on any day. Treat each day as if it could be your last day to study. Take steps today to keep making progress and reducing stress towards your goal of passing.


No Motivation to Study

The past couple of weeks have disrupted studying schedules in general. If you are finding it hard to be motivated to study or haven’t done much, you’re not alone. When it seems as if you are falling behind on the daily topics or readings, it can feel very overwhelming. Take a moment to readjust your study plans to accommodate these unexpected circumstances. Understand that studying may have to be in shorter chunks rather than longer periods of time. Having multiple study plans helps you adjust for nonproductive days (or weeks). 

To help with the motivation to study, think about caring or helping a loved one. By now, you may have become experts on lab values, lines, and personal protective equipment usage. Instead of just viewing the material as dry concepts, study more like how you can help a patient. If you get some studying done, great; congratulate yourself! It’s easier to keep going when you can start the momentum again.

Review Rather Than Learn

With so many things distracting your mind, this is the time to review concepts at a higher level. Being able to learn new information or harder topics can make it harder to retain when all of your focus is not there. This is a great time to practice or begin creating brain dumps both for studying as well as for NPTE practice exams.   

Man staying healthy for the NPTE

Take Care of Yourself

With all the craziness and uncertainty, this is the time to take care of yourself. Practice mindfulness, preparing yourself mentally and physically for this endurance exam. Each day, balance your life outside of just studying by taking the time to relax, get some exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep.


Be sure to stay healthy and safe during this time. Keep a positive outlook and know that at some point, life will go back to “normal.” In the meantime, I’ll be active on your part as an advocate to candidates with the FSBPT and provide more insight and updates than what the website may provide. 

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