Test Format

Exam Administration

The PT and PTA tests are computer-driven and are hosted at Prometric testing venues across the U.S. These tests occur quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Due to the intervals between tests, candidates must diligently note and adhere to registration deadlines. Missing a deadline means waiting for the next available test date.

Regardless of where a candidate aims to get licensed, they can choose any Prometric testing location offering the NPTE. For instance, a candidate aiming for Virginia licensure can test in Maryland. Once results are available, they will be dispatched to Virginia.

Exam Structure

Both PT and PTA tests are segmented, with each segment containing fifty multiple-choice questions. After the second segment, a fifteen-minute break is available. While candidates can take impromptu breaks post other segments, such break times will be subtracted from the total test duration.

The PT and PTA tests provide a consolidated time frame, allowing candidates to decide how they wish to manage their time during the test. Once the allotted time runs out, the test concludes.

Exam Duration & Breakdown

Exam TypeSegmentsTotal QuestionsTest DurationFull Appointment Time
Physical Therapist (PT)52505 hours5 hours, 30 minutes
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)42004 hours4 hours, 30 minutes

Note: Time accounts for scheduled breaks, a pre-test guide, and post-test feedback.

2024 Exam Modifications

Come January 2024, FSBPT will launch a refreshed NPTE structure. The time remains unchanged, but there will be fewer questions. Some of these questions will be centered around patient scenarios. As the switch to this new format approaches, NPTE’s sample tests and the PEAT will reflect these changes.

Exam TypeSegmentsTotal QuestionsTest DurationFull Appointment Time
Physical Therapist (PT)5225 (max. 40 scenario-based)5 hours5 hours, 30 minutes
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)4180 (max. 35 scenario-based)4 hours4 hours, 30 minutes

Note: Time considers scheduled breaks, a pre-test tutorial, and post-test feedback.

How the Exam is Graded

The NPTE is a multiple-choice evaluation, with a single correct response per question. Scores are influenced by correct answers only; wrong choices don’t result in deductions. It’s beneficial to attempt every question.

NPTE employs advanced methods to maintain consistent exam difficulty. To ensure comparability, raw scores are translated to scaled scores. This transformation places scores on a 200-800 scale. Notably, 800 doesn’t signify perfection, just the maximum reportable score by FSBPT.

Every licensing authority uses a consistent passing benchmark for the NPTE. While scores span 200-800, the NPTE fundamentally determines pass or fail. It gauges if a candidate possesses the baseline competence for an entry-level PT or PTA role. A passing mark is 600. The exact count of correct answers to achieve 600 can vary slightly between exams, ensuring consistent standards.

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