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FAQs for Candidates - COVID-19

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) is committed to being transparent during this COVID-19 pandemic by providing up-to-date, accurate information. As an organization, we are committing to following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations while working to minimize the impact on candidates, schools, and member jurisdictions.

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How is the October exam administration impacted?    

Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that we will continue to see appointment cancellations at Prometric test sites. Prometric will make every effort to notify candidates at least two days in advance if their appointment needs to be rescheduled. It is important to note that the nature of some closures, for example those due to possible COVID-19 exposure, may cause some cancellations to be within 24 hours of an appointment.

We also expect that social distancing will still be in effect at Prometric test centers throughout October. This means test sites may be operating at reduced capacity and some test centers may not be open depending on the status of the outbreak in different locations. 

The exams will take place as scheduled on October 6 (PTA) and October 27 (PT). We will continue to work with Prometric to reserve as many seats as possible on these dates for FSBPT candidates. 

In order to help candidates who are unable to find a seat on these current October test dates, FSBPT added testing windows for the October exams. The window for the PTA exam will be October 7-October 25 and the window for the PT exam will be October 28-November 30. Candidates are expected to test on the fixed dates and only utilize the window if they are unable to find a seat on the fixed dates.

What is the plan for the January 2021 exam administrations?

Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that we will continue to see appointment cancellations at Prometric test sites. Prometric will make every effort to notify candidates at least two days in advance if their appointment needs to be rescheduled. It is important to note that the nature of some closures, for example those due to possible COVID-19 exposure, may cause some cancellations to be within 24 hours of an appointment.

We also expect that social distancing will still be in effect at Prometric test centers throughout January. This means test sites may be operating at reduced capacity and some test centers may not be open depending on the status of the outbreak in different locations.

The exams will take place as scheduled on January 6 (PTA) and January 26 (PT). We will continue to work with Prometric to reserve as many seats as possible on these dates for FSBPT candidates.

In order to help candidates who are unable to find a seat on these current January test dates, FSBPT added testing windows for the January exams. The window for the PTA exam will be January 7-January 20 and the window for the PT exam will be January 27-February 9. Candidates are expected to test on the fixed dates and only utilize the window if they are unable to find a seat on the fixed dates.

FSBPT intends to report scores on the following schedule. This schedule may vary.

Exam Level

Test Date

Planned Score Release Date

Free Score Report Available

PTA - Fixed Date

1/6

1/13

1/21

PTA  - Window

1/7-1/20

1/25

2/2

PT - Fixed Date

1/26

2/2

2/9

PT - Window

1/27-29

2/16

2/24

How do I decide whether I should test on the fixed dates or during the extra days provided in the window?

Okay reasons to schedule during the window instead of on the fixed date:

  • No appointment within a reasonable distance—Reasonable will depend on your personal circumstances, where you live, and where there are test centers. Use your best professional judgement when determining if an available appointment is NOT within a reasonable distance.

NOT okay reasons to schedule during the window instead of on the fixed date:

  • You don't like the time slot available on the fixed date
  • You want more time to study
  • There's only one test center that is within a couple of miles of you
  • You want to test at the same time/location as a friend

I’m still having trouble finding a seat; what should I do? 

Prometric is updating their COVID-19 webpage on a daily basis in order to give candidates more visibility into which test sites will be open. You can see a current listing of all open Prometric  test centers on this page: https://www.prometric.com/site-openings. This can help guide you as you look for an appointment. 

If I am unable to schedule an appointment will I need to pay a fee to reschedule to a later exam date?

FSBPT waived all rescheduling fees for the April, July, and October 2020 exams. However, all refund and re-registration fees associated with the NPTE will be reinstated beginning December 1, 2020. FSBPT and Prometric have taken several steps to ensure that candidates are able to test during their chosen exam administration. This includes Prometric’s current seat capacity, the seat blocking FSBPT and Prometric do for each exam administration, and the addition of testing windows after each fixed date. Any exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

What happens if someone at a test site tests positive for Covid-19?

Prometric has a Covid-19 Safety Plan in place in the event there is a positive case of Covid-19 at a test site.

  • The test center is immediately closed and all individuals sent home.
  • Testing operations are suspended for at least 48 hours in order to arrange for professional cleaning services to perform deep cleaning of the location using both surface and airborne spray disinfectant.
  • Candidates with scheduled appointments during the closure will receive a cancellation notice and can reschedule their appointment for a later date or at a different location.
  • Prometric will consider any possible contact between the infected individual and others at the testing location for a period of two weeks prior to the report date and will contact any individual that may have had exposure to the infected individual.

Why was my appointment cancelled even though the test center is still open?

In order to meet social distancing guidelines, Prometric may need to cancel some appointmentsr. At the time of your appointment, you were assigned to a specific seat within the test center. After an audit for compliance with the social distancing guidelines, Prometric may have to cancel appointments to ensure space between candidates. The cancellations are not based on what test you are taking or when you registered.

Why are some Prometric centers open and others are not?

There are a number of factors that determine whether a specific Prometric center is able to open:

  • Is there a state or local government mandate that prevents the center from opening?
  • Do they have the requisite number of staff to maintain secure testing protocols?
  • Do they have enough personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies available for staff members?
  • Is the facility owner where the Prometric center is located allowing businesses to open?

These issues can be site specific, which is why some Prometric centers in a given market will be open and others will not. If any of the factors change it can result in a positive outcome where a center opens or, unfortunately, it could result in a center closing.

What can I expect at the test center?

All candidates will be required to bring and wear a face mask/covering while at the test center. Note that local government social distancing guidelines apply to each step in the process, which means only a couple of people will be allowed into the Prometric lobby at the same time for check-in. Please read this detailed description of the processes Prometric is adopting beginning May 1.

Can I still take the NPTE if my state, county, or city is under a “safer at home” or “stay at home” order?

Local Prometric centers will only open if they are able to under the local and state laws. They will be working at reduced capacity to adhere to those laws. If your test center is open and you can schedule an appointment, and using your personal judgment determine that you are able to test, then you may proceed to do so.

I traveled to my exam before it was canceled; can I be reimbursed for my travel expenses?

Please contact Prometricfor information on refunds.

What are the other testing options if Prometric centers remain closed or operating at reduced capacity? Will FSBPT be adding additional test dates?

At this time, FSBPT is considering many options for accommodating candidates who have been, or will be unable to test, due to Prometric test center closures, including testing windows. FSBPT has allowed testing windows in response to other large-scale testing disruptions, such as natural disasters. However, please note, this does not represent a change in our testing policy or fixed-date format—the testing window is a necessary exception due to extraordinary circumstances.

Why does FSBPT use secure in-person testing at Prometric for the NPTE?

The purpose of the NPTE is to help the state physical therapy licensing boards ensure that only those individuals who have the requisite knowledge of physical therapy are licensed and to provide standards that are comparable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The current method of delivering the NPTE—in a computer-based format at secure testing facilities during set times to limit the exposure of the exam—has evolved over time to increase the reliability of exam results and decrease opportunities for cheating. Reliable exam results are the cornerstone of FSBPT’s public protection mission.

While every testing program has its own needs, resources, and challenges, we do actively communicate with and benchmark against other entry-level licensing examinations for health care professions. Like FSBPT, many have and are continuing to evaluate remote-proctored testing as a potential solution for aspects of their testing programs. However, remote-proctoring is not a viable solution for the NPTE in the foreseeable future.

We are committed to working with Prometric to help our candidates take the NPTE safely and securely during this unprecedented time.

Why don’t you temporarily reduce the passing score?

FSBPT appreciates the concern that candidates are experiencing even more stressful circumstances than usual, and at the same time, there is as great a need as ever for health care professionals. However, FSBPT is not reconsidering the NPTE cut score. As with many potential ways to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the cut score cannot be accomplished without gathering significant input from our stakeholders, legal review, and communication to those impacted. This work could not be completed in a timeframe that is likely to provide relief to candidates in the near future, and it takes substantial resources away from our primary goal: getting as many candidates an opportunity to take the NPTE on their desired testing date as soon as possible.

Have there been changes to the LAW exam?

The current window to take an FSBPT administered law exam is sixty days. We will temporarily expand this window to ninety days to allow for more flexibility in scheduling. All approved law exam candidates will receive the ninety-day window until further notice is given.

When will scores be released for candidates who are taking the exam during the October/November testing window?

Candidates will not have to wait until the end of the October testing windows to receive scores. FSBPT intends to report scores on the following schedule. This schedule may vary.

PT

Test Date

Planned Score Release Date

Free Score Report Available

10/27 (fixed date)

11/3

11/10

10/28-11/4

11/9

11/18

11/5-11/11

11/16

11/24

11/12-11/18

11/23

12/1

11/19-11/25

11/30

12/8

11/26-11/30

12/7

12/15

Who do I contact if I still have questions?

Please contact examregistration@fsbpt.org if you have additional questions. You can also view the FAQs on Prometric’s website.