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Settling vs Aiming for an NPTE Score

Typically, when people say they’ll settle for something, they really mean they’ll be satisfied with mediocrity. To settle is to accept less than you are worth or capable of. And if you settle once, you’ll continue a trend of settling for less than you deserve. It is quite the slippery slope, that will get easier to do and justify with time.


This mindset of mediocrity will begin to seep into the goals you set for your career, the type of work ethic you exemplify, the relationships you acquire, the value of your success(es) and the quality of your work. What if your future patients settled for you as their physical therapist, but all the while felt that you were mediocre in your skill and level of care? Is that the type of impact and impression you want to leave on the world? When you settle then someone else is there to settle right beside you.


So, how does this relate to the NPTE? When it comes to studying for the NPTE, whatever score you are settling for, is really the score you are aiming for. When playing a game of darts, you are always aiming for the bullseye.


You may not hit it on the mark every time, but you’ll be a lot closer than if you just settled to shoot the dart anywhere on the board. If you are settling to just pass the exam, your score will be at or around a 600. Which means it could be a few points above or below a 600. However, if you aim for a score of 800, you might miss by a few points, however, you’ll be far from failing the exam.


Ask yourself, “What is the difference in effort between a score of 599 and 600”? I would say that there is no difference in effort, only chance between the two scores. With this in mind, why would you settle for a 600 if the same effort could potentially yield to a lower score? Even if you say that you’ll aim for a higher score, but that you’ll settle for something lower, you’ve already set yourself up to accept and strive for less than. With this approach, when your mind feels that you’ve done enough to reach for that settling point, then your effort in studying begins to wane. At this point, you’ve already set yourself up to not work as hard, because you’ve already met what you will settle for.

Let’s say that one day you decide to train for a 10K marathon and your goal is to finish in 50 minutes. This means that you must have a pace of at least 8 minutes per mile. To achieve that pace, you should train at a pace faster than 8 minutes per mile and train at a distance further than 10K. This way, when it comes to race day your skeletal muscles, cardiovascular fitness and mental fortitude are conditioned to run further than you actually need. This method ensures your mental and physical endurance, skill, pacing and strength are on par to accomplish your goal. This is also how studying for the NPTE works. You must aim higher than what you’re settling for to guarantee that you’ll achieve the score you want.


To practice aiming instead of settling, it’s essential to learn to study with intention. Studying with intention is the mindset and commitment to studying with purpose and forethought. Intention is deliberate and nonnegotiable. Without intention, you will not have the proper mindset to successfully aim for the goal you want. Before you begin preparing for the NPTE, your mindset should be set on committing to give 150% effort. You should also have a specific score in mind and consider what actions you need to take in order to achieve that score. Here you can read about the 4 types of students who fail the NPTE and the mindset of the 4th student that gives 150% effort, in order to dominate the NPTE.


So, today you need to sit down and draw out a plan of action. Your plan of action becomes your mental map. It gives you direction to successfully reach and aim for your final destination. If you have intentions to reach a specific destination, then it isn’t an option to settle for a lower landmark. Your drive and determination will be strong, and the effort put forth will be above average and yield an outcome that will not allow you to fail. Be intentional, aim high, and never settle for anything but greatness!