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Taking the Examination

What are the requirements for admission to the testing center?

You must arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment with two forms of acceptable identification (ID). Acceptable ID is a currently valid, government-issued photo ID (passport, driver's license, etc.), and another piece of identification pre-printed with your name and containing your signature, such as a credit card. Your signature must match your pre-printed name on both forms of ID. A Social Security card is not an acceptable form of identification. As part of your identification processing, the driver’s license/passport will be swiped in order to retain scanned information.

Your first and last name on both forms of ID must exactly match the first and last name on your “Authorization to Test” letter issued by FSBPT. If you are denied admittance to the examination due to any problem with your identification, you will forfeit your Prometric fee and will be required to register for another fixed-date administration.

Will I be thumb-printed or photographed at the Prometric testing center?

Yes. A digital image of your fingerprint will be taken, you will be scanned with a metal detector wand, and you will be photographed at the testing center. Another fingerprint will be taken each time you leave or re-enter the testing room during your exam. Additionally, all testing sessions will be videotaped.

How much time will I have for the examination?

You are allowed 5 hours for the PT examination and 4 hours for the PTA examination. There are 250 items (questions) on the PT examination and 200 items on the PTA examination.

Why is my appointment time longer than the examination?

For the PT examination the appointment time is 5 ½ hours even though the examination itself is only 5 hours. For the PTA examination the appointment time is 4 ½ hours even though the examination itself is only 4 hours. The extra half hour is to allow for the scheduled 15-minute break as well as the pre-examination tutorial and post-examination survey.

Are all questions scored?

No. Pretest questions are included on each examination. Your scores will only be based on scored items. Pretest questions are included to determine if the questions meet rigorous psychometric (testing) standards. If the questions meet standards, they can be used as scored items in future examinations. All scored PT or PTA items on the examination you will be taking were included as pretest items in previous versions of the examination. Item pretesting also reduces delays in sending score reports to candidates when new examination forms are introduced.

Will I be able to tell which questions are pretest items?

No. Pretest items will be distributed randomly within each examination and cannot be identified. Therefore, you should answer each question as if it were a scored item. However, as stated above, your score will only be based on scored items.

What is a section?

The examination is delivered in sections, or blocks, of 50 questions. Each section is a “mini exam” in that it will follow the same basic content outline as the larger examination and contain both scored and pretest items. The PT examination has five sections. The PTA examination has four sections. Once you have completed a section you cannot return to the section to review or change your answers.

Will there be a penalty for items answered incorrectly?

Examination scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. You should consider the answers to each question carefully and select the correct or best option. There is only one correct or best answer to each question. Because there is no additional penalty for incorrect answers, it is to your advantage to answer every question, even when you are unsure of the correct or best option.

Will there be other candidates testing at my test center?

There may be other candidates testing for a number of different examinations. All candidates will be separated by modular testing booths that allow privacy and ample workspace.

What will the temperature be in the testing center?

The temperature in the Prometric centers varies, and people perceive temperature differently. You should dress in layers that can be removed if you become uncomfortable. Any jacket or sweater that you are not wearing must be stored in the lockers at the test center. For security reasons, Prometric does not allow bulky jackets to be worn.

Can I take a break during the examination?

Yes. There are two kinds of breaks during the examination: scheduled and unscheduled. Both the PT and PTA examinations have one scheduled 15-minute break after section two has been completed. The PT examination also has three unscheduled breaks. The PTA examination has two unscheduled breaks.

The scheduled break has been added for candidate convenience. During the scheduled break, after section two of the examination has been completed, the examination timer is paused for up to 15 minutes. If candidates do not want to take the scheduled break or want to take a shorter break, they can end the break by following the directions on the computer screen.

An unscheduled break can be taken between sections when the “Unscheduled Break” screen is showing on the computer. During an unscheduled break, the examination timer continues to elapse. This means time spent on an unscheduled break is time that you are choosing to not spend on the examination.

Candidates may leave the examination only when either a scheduled break or an unscheduled break screen is showing on their computer. If a candidate leaves the testing room while not on a specified break screen, the test center administrator will report to the FSBPT that an examination irregularity occurred during the candidate’s examination administration.

Can I access study materials or a cell phone during my break(s)?

No. No study materials of any kind can be accessed at any point during the examination. You may not leave the testing center on a break to access materials or individuals for assistance. You may not bring study materials of any kind into the testing center. In addition, you may not access your cell phone while on a break.

Is computer knowledge necessary?

No. Computer knowledge is not required to take a computerized examination. Before the examination begins, a simple introductory lesson (tutorial) is presented that explains the process of selecting answers and moving from question to question. The time you spend on the tutorial does not count against the time allotted for the examination. Most candidates take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the tutorial and may repeat it, if desired. You may select your answers using either the keyboard or the mouse.

Can I “mark items” for later review?

Yes. The testing software allows you to "mark" questions that you want to review before ending a section. Any question can be "marked," regardless of whether it has been left blank or answered. It is not necessary to "unmark" a question in order for it to be scored at the end of the examination. After you finish a section, you cannot return for additional review.

While taking the examination, can I move back and forth between questions?

Yes. While taking the computerized examination, you can skip forward or backward through the section you are currently in and review questions, whether the questions are “marked” or “unmarked.” After you finish a section, you cannot return for additional review.

Can I use “scratch paper” when taking the examination?

Yes. You are allowed to use “scratch paper” that is supplied at the testing center. The “scratch paper” will be an erasable note board. You are not allowed to bring in your own “scratch paper.” Testing center staff will collect the erasable note board at the completion of the examination.

What items are prohibited while taking the examination?

Candidates are not permitted to bring anything into the testing room other than their identification and locker key. Food and beverages are not permitted in the testing room. Lockers are provided to candidates in order to store personal items while testing.

Can I use earplugs when taking the examination?

Yes. You may bring soft ear plugs to use at the test site. The ear plugs will be inspected by Prometric staff prior to entering the testing room. The Prometric testing center will also supply headphones to help dampen noise. Candidates should expect that there will be some background noise during their examination. There may be candidates in surrounding cubicles taking typing-intensive examinations. There may be other candidates entering and leaving the testing room during the course of your examination. The headphones will help to dampen noise that you may find distracting.

What can I do if there is glare on the computer screen?

As a first step, you should reposition the computer monitor to eliminate the glare. If the glare persists despite attempts to adjust the position of the monitor and you still have difficulty seeing the computer screen, you should notify Prometric staff immediately of the problem.

What can I do if I experience a delay in starting my examination?

You should note that your appointment time is not necessarily your starting time. You will have to be checked-in before taking the examination (i.e., sign in, present the appropriate identification, be thumb-printed and photographed). The check-in process may take time if many candidates have the same appointment time. Typically this process takes 30 minutes but it’s possible that it could take longer. This will not affect your total testing time. If the delay is more than 60 minutes after your scheduled appointment, you have the option of rescheduling your examination for another date as soon as possible.

What can I do if the computer malfunctions while taking the examination?

If you experience technical difficulties while taking the examination, you must alert Prometric staff immediately. If Prometric staff cannot remedy the situation within 60 minutes, you have the option of rescheduling your examination for another date as soon as possible.  The time Prometric spends remedying a problem does not count as part of your examination time. You should contact both the licensing authority from which you are seeking licensure and FSBPT to notify them of the technical difficulties.

What happens if there is a fire drill, evacuation, or another unexpected event during my examination?

If the disruption lasts for less than 60 minutes you will be expected to complete your examination. If the disruption is longer than 60 minutes, you have the option to reschedule your examination for another date as soon as possible. If the disruption cannot be resolved, FSBPT will reschedule your examination for another day as soon as possible. 

What should I do if I experience other disruptions not covered here while taking my examination?

You should alert Prometric staff immediately to disruptions occurring within the testing room. The sooner the testing center staff is aware of a problem, the sooner steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate the disruption.

If you are unable to test on the date that you were scheduled due to a problem with the Prometric testing center (power outage, closure due to weather, etc.) you will be rescheduled for another date as soon as possible.

Please inform FSBPT of any delays or problems encountered while at the Prometric testing center.

Can I make comments concerning the examination administration?

Yes. You are given the opportunity to complete a survey after finishing your examination. The survey is presented on the computer and consists of questions about the examination administration.

What is the FSBPT policy regarding examination security?

The FSBPT policy is that you must act to protect the integrity of the NPTE at all times, i.e., before, during, and after you take the NPTE. The NPTE is the property of the FSBPT and is protected by trade secret, contract, and federal copyright laws. The FSBPT strictly prohibits any sharing of any information whatsoever about any question contained within any past or present NPTE. The FSBPT warns that it is a violation of FSBPT’s property rights in the NPTE and is illegal to share questions that are on the NPTE or to ask any person who has taken the NPTE about any NPTE question. The FSBPT also warns persons who have registered to take the NPTE that their sharing or soliciting others to share information about any question contained within any past or present NPTE may be a breach of their registration contract and further result in their being liable for consequential damages and attorneys’ fees.

The FSBPT will prosecute all persons who solicit questions or share information about NPTE questions. Persons for whom the FSBPT has a reasonable suspicion of sharing or soliciting information about any NPTE question may be prohibited from sitting for the NPTE unless and until they are determined after a full investigation not to have shared or solicited such information.

If you give or receive assistance during the examination, you can be required to stop testing immediately and leave the room. Your examination will not be scored. The performance of all candidates is monitored and may be analyzed statistically for purposes of detecting and verifying cheating. If FSBPT is unable to validate your score due to an unlikely response pattern, we will cancel your score and notify the licensing authority. If evidence of cheating is discovered after you have been licensed, you may be unable to transfer your score to another jurisdiction.

For purposes of examination security, each candidate who wishes to take the NPTE is required to enter into the following agreement as part of the registration and examination-taking processes:


NPTE Security Agreement and General Terms of Use

Before you continue with the examination registration, you must agree to the following statements. If you do not agree to these terms you will not be permitted to register.

Test Taker Authenticity

I certify that I am the person who will be taking the NPTE and that my sole purpose for taking the NPTE is because I am seeking licensure in a U. S. jurisdiction.

NPTE Ownership

I am aware that all NPTE test materials, including my answers, are the property of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

NPTE Security

I understand that the NPTE is a confidential and secure examination, protected by U.S. and international copyright and trade secret laws.

I also understand that I am contractually obligated to keep all NPTE content confidential, by virtue of this Security Agreement I am entering into with FSBPT.

Prohibited Acts

I understand and agree that the following things are examples of prohibited acts and that this list is not inclusive of every potential prohibited act.

I agree that I will not:

  • disclose or discuss NPTE content with anyone verbally, in writing, or through any other method of communication including on the Internet, through email accounts, or through any social media;
  • bring any materials or devices into the testing room or attempt to remove any items from the testing room;
  • copy, memorize, record, or otherwise attempt to retain or recreate examination content including questions, concepts, topics, graphics, and images;
  • assist anyone to copy, memorize, record, otherwise retain, recreate, or reconstruct the content for any purpose;
  • share answers to questions;
  • study from information derived from any item listed above.

Obligation to Cooperate

I recognize that I may be asked in the future to respond to questions, provide information or documents, or otherwise participate in an investigation of an exam security matter related to the NPTE. Failure to fully cooperate in an investigation may be considered a breach of my obligations under this Security Agreement.

I understand that all scores are validated through FSBPT’s quality assurance and security analyses. I understand that I may be required to provide additional information in order to complete these analyses and my score may be withheld until I have provided the required information and FSBPT has completed its analyses.

I understand that FSBPT and Prometric collect biometric and other identifying information and I authorize them to retain it for a time period they determine to be reasonable.

Consequences for Non-Compliance

I understand that FSBPT has the right to take action against me if I breach this agreement, any of the terms and conditions specified in the Candidate Handbook or Prometric Testing Center Regulations, if I fail to comply with reasonable requests from Test Center Administrators or FSBPT staff, or if any of my actions may reasonably be construed to misrepresent myself, jeopardize the security of the NPTE, or call the validity of NPTE scores into question. These actions may include one or more of the following:

  • The Test Administrator may immediately dismiss me from the test session;
  • My exam may not be scored, my scores may be canceled, without a refund, and the jurisdiction receiving my scores may be informed of the reason for the cancellation;
  • The institution where I received my physical therapy education may be informed of actions taken against me;
  • I may be temporarily suspended or permanently banned from taking the NPTE;
  • I may face a lawsuit that may result in my receiving court-enforced penalties;
  • I may have to pay a monetary penalty;
  • I may face criminal prosecution;
  • Disciplinary action may be taken against me by a jurisdiction licensing authority (state board).

FSBPT Authority

FSBPT is the final authority that determines whether I have the privilege of taking the NPTE, whether an examination is scored, or whether the score from my examination is provided or transferred to any entity or licensing jurisdiction.


I have read, understand, and agree to the foregoing statements.

In order to safeguard the public welfare and the integrity of the NPTE, FSBPT reserves the right to prohibit any person from taking the NPTE who has not accepted the terms and conditions of the foregoing Security Agreement.

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