The three years spent in your Physical Therapy program are rigorous and exciting. Creating strong study habits from day one helps to reinforce challenging material and prepares you for the NPTEⓇ. ThePTBae, Ariel Johnson, PT, DPT shares the habits she developed as a successful PT student.
Watch now! ► ► ►
Looking for a quick summary of Ariel’s habits?
5 Habits to Develop as Physical Therapy Student: From Day 1 to NPTE
HABIT 1: Dedicate Time to Study Everyday
Study in a QUIET, dedicated space.
Remove distractions and turn off all social media and screens
🔥 Hot Tip: Keep a Post-It pad close for any ideas or random thoughts that pop into your mind.
🔥🔥 Even Hotter Tip: Use different colored highlighters:
- Use one color for what you already know
- Use another color for what your instructor said you needed to know or will be tested on
- Finally, use a third color for what you need to review later.
Study at 30 minutes to one-hour increments, no longer. Your brain actually shuts off around 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you take 15-20 minutes breaks every hour. Also known as the Pomodoro Method.
Studying for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) is slightly different as you’ll want to take practice tests in the tests timed five hours.
HABIT 2: Active Studying is Key to Comprehension (Skip Rote Memorization)
Use your course syllabus to STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME. Outline material before class, take notes using your outline, then rewrite your notes with emphasis on professor highlights.
Steps to Active Studying with Picmonic:
- Step 1: Read the material
- Step 2: Watch the Picmonic(s) on the topic(s) covered in the material
- Step 3: Take the quiz at the end of the Picmonic
- Step 4: Attend the lecture
- Step 5: Practice with Spaced Repetition Daily Quizzes
HABIT 3: Identify Your Learning Style
Are you a visual, audio, kinesthetic, read/write learner, or a combination? Figure out your learning style and create study habits to complement your learning style.
HABIT 4: Apply Every Piece of New Knowledge to Clinical Care
As you learn the information, consider:
Why am I learning this?
How can this piece of information affect your patients?
What you learn in your first semester and year is foundational to patient care and passing your board exams. Pay attention and ask for clarity. Understanding and cementing this information now will make preparing for the NPTE easier in the future.
HABIT 5: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Wrong: Learning Happens When Mistakes Happen
Find a study group to discuss concepts and get different perspectives to apply knowledge. Ask for clarity always.
Physical Therapy Student Resources: At the Click of a Mouse🖱️
Download our mobile app and take Picmonic on the go!