PT Exam Passed ScreenYou may be experiencing a different type of anxiety as you wait for your PT exam results than what you may have felt when you took the actual exam. The tense moments at the computer screen waiting for your results to tell you whether you passed your NPTE or NPTAE to become a licensed PT or PTA can feel like forever. Some candidates close their eyes before looking while others continue to hit the refresh button at the FSBPT site until their life-changing results are shown.

The emotional roller coaster of receiving this important PT exam score results in either a happy / relief path or a shock followed by a handful of negative emotions. The second path is a journey in itself following a similar path to the grieving stages of death or life-threatening illness. Below are some thoughts to keep in mind based on your PT exam results.

Passing Results

Congratulations and welcome to the profession! You may experience an initial shock of disbelief or happiness when you see PASS on the screen. It may take a few seconds for the great feeling to sink in and be relieved that you can now move on to receive your license. This chapter is done and now a new one begins as a practicing clinician.

Although you are done studying for the PT exam, you’ll want to remember to continue to learn, implement and progress throughout your career.

Not Passing Results

First, take a deep breath. Seeing that you didn’t get that passing results SUCKS! However, it’s not the end of your world. It’s a slight setback. You may be experiencing some shock from not passing and possibly denial of the National Physical Therapy Exam results. However, when the screen continues to tell you that you didn’t pass, it just hurts.

You may have some anger or go into some depression-like feelings. These are quite normal feelings as it may seem you are now on a roller coaster of emotions that changes from minute to minute over the course of the next few days. While your head may be spinning with so many thoughts, just know that there’s hope and help as you don’t have to experience this journey on your own.

Remember the PT Exam Doesn’t Define You

If you happen to not pass your PT exam, you’ll want to remember it’s not a reflection of you as a clinician or your character as it’s just an exam. The results mainly mean there are areas to improve upon and something to not “beat yourself” up over. This unexpected experience as hurtful as it may be, you’ll want to view as a growing lesson and a second chance to “prove” yourself.

There are many reasons you may not have reached the passing score; however, you’ll want to acknowledge your successes of what you did right. This is important as many fail to recognize to give themselves credit as this helps with the healing process. For instance, it could be that you completed the NPTE without panicking. Or that you were able to study and review the information. Although it may not seem like it, you may be getting an extra little “vacation” before getting into the workforce.

Ask Yourself

When you finally accept your PT exam results and want to resume studying, here are a few things to think about from your prior attempt to help you prevent a repeat.

  • Did you develop NPTE study plans before studying?
  • Was I studying actively rather than passively?
  • Did you study continuously for long periods of time?
  • Did you study clinically rather than academically?
  • Do you recognize patterns when taking the exams?
  • Did you review the rationales for the questions?
  • Did you have a negative mindset towards the PT exam?

Changing any one of these study habits will help to improve your PT exam score for your next attempt. Taking the time to reassess over the next few days and seeing where you can make changes allows your mind to see there are opportunities to learn and grow. Keep your head up and know that you are not alone and all you have to do is ask for help when needed.

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