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NPTE Score Report – What’s That??? [Part 2]

This blog is an extension of the previous one, the second part of the two-part blog on understanding the score-reports issued by the FSBPT. A thorough understanding of the report-specific terminologies described in the first part of this blog will simplify understanding the implied meaning of the score reports. Let’s jump right in!

From an exam perspective, there are three vital classifications in student’s interests. Performance information is provided in tabular and graphical means for each of these sections. Let us discuss each of these in their order of appearance on the feedback report.

Scores by Professional Work Activity:

The Professional Work Activity area typically defines the scope of PT practice, and scores are divided into four fundamental strata: 1) PT Examination 2) Evaluation, Differential Diagnosis and Prognosis, 3) Interventions and 4) Non-system Domains. Every practicing physical therapist completes patient care based on these four activities. And therefore, regardless of body systems classification, each of the 250 questions represents one of the above mentioned professional work activities.

Evaluation, Differential Diagnosis and Prognosis stratum accounts for the most significant portion in this section, approximately 67/200 of the scored items. One MUST secure 70% on this section to achieve an ‘on track to pass score’. Conversely, the PT Examination stratum contributes with 49/200 of the scored items, and one needs to score ONLY 61% to achieve an ‘on track to pass score’!

Scores by Body System:

Stratification of scores by body systems is very widely recognized and makes maximum sense to the students. This table, divided into five broad categories, details one’s strengths and weaknesses in the PT practice domain. The musculoskeletal system occupies the largest share, followed by the central nervous system, cardio-pulmonary system, integumentary & lymphatics, and other systems, respectively.

Without any surprises, one needs to check more correct answers on the musculoskeletal and the cardio-pulmonary systems than any other systems; the ‘on track to pass scores’ for both these body systems range as high as 69%. The integumentary and the lymphatic system remain at the bottom of this table, requiring only 65% correct answers. Great News!

One may wonder, why do our scores differ so much on different sections? We have an answer!

Scores by Section:

The last stratification is based on the number of sections: five! Each section carries an equal number of scored questions: 40. Out of these forty questions, one should aim to mark 27 items correctly in the first four sections (68%), and 28 items correctly in the fifth section (70%). It is widely accepted that section five houses the most challenging questions, and it always remains deprived of time! But as mentioned in the previous blog, higher scores in one section compensates for lower scores in the other ones. So, just chasing 28 correct answers in each section should be enough to see the golden words. More Great News!

One may wonder, why do our scores differ so much on different sections? We have an answer! Some definite disparity exists among various sections vis-à-vis complexity. However, mental exhaustion, exam anxiety, and fluctuating attention seize substantial culpability for this variability.

Boxplots accompany the categorical tables in each one of the classified sections described above. The appearance of red boxplots is perceived as red flags, and those sections MUST be attended to conspicuously.

Retake Information Section:

The last informative table on your scorecard insinuates how candidates with similar scores as yours fared on their next attempt during 2013-2018. They pick a 10-point score range around your scores for the same number of attempts as yours and present a classified table on how candidates scored on their next attempt. The scores are classified based on the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentile scores of candidates.

For example: If you scored 585 on your attempt number 2, this table portrays how candidates with similar scores as yours on their second attempt (580-589 on attempt number 2) in fact scored on their attempt number 3. This information is organized in the following few rows based on the percentiles mentioned earlier. The last row of this table reveals a broad percent range of candidates who pass the NPTE on their next attempt!

This table could either ensue trepidation or instill delight in the aspirants! Our two-cents reflection – this section does not need conscious consideration. Candidates should not get carried away pondering which category they may represent the next time. One should consider, if at all, themselves being in the broad percent range of candidates who pass the next time!

We hope the set of these two blogs have remedied most of your doubts. If you have any further questions, thoughts and concerns, please visit our website, or contact us on Facebook, Instagram, or email at