It’s Hustle Week! All of your hard work studying, strategizing and diagnosing is about to pay off in the next 7 to 10 days. So, now what? You may have studied most of the material and are unsure of what other productive things you can do until test day, or you may feel that there is still so much to do and need help utilizing these last few days. Either way, I have 4 strategies to help you get prepared for the NPTE in these next 7 to 10 days to help boost your NPTE score, avoid stress and avoid wasting time. Before reading the list below, please say out loud, “I will win!”
#1. Build Your Confidence
While, we’re aware of the importance of knowledge and application, without confidence, your performance suffers. In knowing this, you should do everything in your power to keep your confidence elevated. Simply said, stay away from people and activities that will make your confidence falter. This close to game day, you don’t need to be around negative people that will awaken your anxiety and internal hater. You need to surround yourself with LeBron’s, that have the mindset of a champion. You need nothing less than positive mindsets in your mist. Positive people and mindsets will nurture your seeds of confidence and ensure that they flourish.
If you do plan to take a practice exam, do so with purpose. For example, take an exam if it will be the deciding factor to reschedule the exam or not. Otherwise, reconsider taking a practice exam this close to the actual test, if there is a high chance it will destroy your confidence. If you plan to take the NPTE regardless of the score you get on the PEAT or TherapyEd, then it’s best to always ask yourself, “what is my purpose for taking this”.. You want to go into the exam feeling like you’re the answer key. Don’t jeopardize your confidence and invite anxiety, especially if you’re already prone to insecurity with things like standardized tests. So, ask yourself, what things you are doing leading up to the exam that are building or destroying your confidence not destroying it.
#2 Game Day Habits
Your habits are your way of life. Habits are routine, and the outcomes are predictable. If you don’t have them already, you need to build healthy and beneficial habits leading up to the exam. Sleep. Your body and mind thrive off of good sleeping habits. 7 to 9 hours of sleep are needed for optimal brain function. “Sleep before learning helps prepare your brain for initial formation of memories” and sleep after learning helps to store the information into your brain. Your brain needs to be a highly functioning “doctorate” brain, ready to make clinical decisions and capable of high cognitive reasoning skills.
Your nutritional habits are just as pertinent. We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the physical and mental energy you will have throughout the day. As such, you need foods that fuel and nourish your body and your brain. Complex carbs such as whole grains and oats, keep your blood-sugar stable and prevent you from losing focus about how hungry you are. Protein in eggs, fish and nuts are great brain foods, for health and concentration. Start making these a habit today and learn which foods keep you satiated and are gentle on your stomach. No need to waste valuable time on bathroom breaks because you ate something new that your stomach didn’t agree with.
Another habit, you should instill, is telling yourself every day, “I will win.” Put those words of affirmation into the air. Hear yourself say it out loud until you believe it and gain the confidence of a winner. Be consistent with these habits during these last 7 to 10 days. Sleep 7 to 9 hours a day and eat a breakfast fit for champions, allowing your body and brain to work at optimal performance.
#3 Master Your Top 20
For those of you that are concerned about knowledge and application, this one is for you. This step will help you to gain a few extra points, that you may otherwise missed out on during the exam.
Of the nine body systems and five non-systems on the NPTE, choose three that are your top priority and list them from easiest to hardest. Next, from each of these three areas, choose 20 topics. You are now left with a total of 60 topics that will be your main focus these last few days. Try to get through as many of these topics as possible, with quality studying time. Aim to review at most 6 or at least 4 of these topics a day. Even if you do not get through all 60 of these topics, you may only see 5 to 10 of these topics appear on the exam. However, that ensures that you have 5 to 10 extra correct answers, which could be significant to your total score. If you need accountability to ensure you stay focused on your studies, let a friend, family member or classmate know of your intentions. Or, set reminders on your phone calendar to receive notifications to study. Either way, excuses are not an option if you want to optimize this time to dominate the NPTE.
#4 Dominate Your Test Taking Strategy
Like what was discussed in step #2, habits are routine, and the outcomes are predictable. This goes for the way that you have studied throughout this time for the NPTE. Keep the same pacing, the same methods of reading the question and any deductive reasoning skills for each and every question. If you come to a question that you aren’t familiar with, don’t panic. Now isn’t the time to turn into a bobble head, skimming the question and answer options every few sentences. This is the #1 way to make simple errors. You may easily misread the question and answer options or misunderstand the application being addressed. Stick to the same test taking strategy you have used up until now. And if you don’t have one, here is where you can learn one fast and in time for the next NPTE, NPTE Test Strategy Playbook.
One strategy you can adopt if you don’t have one is to take groups of 25 questions a day and study them the same way every day. They don’t even have to be new questions. Answering questions your familiar with will be a bonus way to boost your confidence as well. Using this method on test day, you will have developed the habit of a nice pace and mental focus to answer 25 questions at a time. After every 25 questions, take a break before moving on and dominating the rest of the exam.
So, there you have it! Avoid stress, avoid wasting time and start these habits to improve your score today. Master your top 20 topics for the three priorities of your choice. Then rest 7 to 9 hours a day to lock that new information in your mind. Eat well to fill your body with premium fuel, that will make you feel great, have better concentration and help boost your confidence. And finally, for each and every question on the exam, make sure you are using the same taking strategy to prevent simple mistakes. Remember, YOU WILL WIN, and you have the key unlock your potential! Now, go and dominate the NPTE!