Wondering how you can study physical therapy? Start here to find the top physical therapy tips for your DPT program.
Keep your notes digital
It’s definitely helpful to handwrite your notes, but organizing college-ruled notebooks and piles of paper can get a little messy. To save a tree and keep organized, use a note-taking app like Microsoft OneNote, Notability, or Google Keep. When you have digital notes, you can have naming conventions, digital folders, and find or access your notes easily. It’ll help if you ever need to comb through old notes for an upcoming exam or to review something you learned during your last semester of PT school.
Still prefer physical note-taking? Snap a picture of your notes and organize them in your photos app or download a PDF scanner app!
Get creative with anatomy
PT school is all about anatomy; get ready to review and study it often. To learn and study anatomy in a creative way, use an anatomy coloring book, draw your own diagrams and models on a whiteboard or with colored pencils, or make your own anatomy picture mnemonics.
Schedule your study time and expect a busy schedule
Scheduling is an important part of DPT school. Use a calendar app to schedule blocks of time to study, attend classes and labs, and rest and exercise. Of course, pencil in some social time, but don’t overpack your schedule with too much to do. A busy schedule takes adjusting to.
Make use of ALL of your time
Get ready for your life to revolve around PT school. With a busy schedule, you may think you have no additional time to study, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Use your breaks in between classes or use arriving early to campus as an opportunity to review or take a quiz. Even if it’s five minutes or less, you can maximize your study time with a quick daily quiz from Picmonic or a multiple-choice PT question from PT365. It helps to think of it as your PT version of Wordle.
If you’re commuting to your DPT program, listen to a PT podcast on the way there or back home. This PT podcast list was made by Dr. Rich Severin, PT, DPT, PhD(c), CSS.
Attend office hours
Take advantage of your PT professors’ office hours. Even if you don’t have any questions about the course itself, it may be helpful to ask your professors for any valuable resources they know of or what past PT students found challenging in school. And if you do have questions, you’ll get the help you need. Either way, it’s an opprotunity to connect and learn more.
How long it takes to study and become a PT
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, you must receive a doctor of physical therapy degree and pass a state licensure exam. A DPT program is typically 3 years long and consists of classroom and lab studies plus clinicals. Prior to entering the program, students must have their bachelor’s degree and, for most DPT programs, the minimum GPA required is 3.0 to be admitted. In total, studying and becoming a PT will take an average of 7 years.
PT students will take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) their 3rd year of the program to become a PT.
How to study physical therapy with Picmonic
Memorization is going to be key with PT school and passing the NPTE. Since PT school is a fast environment and you’ll be busy often, use physical therapy mnemonics to remember more in less time. Picmonic is based on memory science and helps PT students study anytime, providing them unlimited access to 380+ physical therapy mnemonics and 4,000+ need-to-know facts.
Picmonic has features like spaced and repeated quizzes, unlimited quizzing, a personalized dashboard with customized study recommendations, and PT resources like study guides, webinars, and infographics. Incorporate Picmonic into your study routine to get creative, maximize your PT study time, and prepare for the NPTE.