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Books & Resources


Here are the main textbooks from which information can be pulled on the examination. They are excellent resources for learning specific topics.


Read on for suggestions on which books specifically pertain to certain body systems or NPTE categories. 

Try to interact with the book. Don't just sit and passively read. Ask questions, create hypotheses, and then seek answers. 


For the best available reference list, refer to your PEAT supplemental materials. 

Dutton's Orthopaedic: Examination, Evaluation, & Intervention
Mark Dutton

This is a great resource for most musculoskeletal conditions and information. Review for MSK examination, MSK differential diagnosis, and MSK disease information. The text comes in both hard copy and eBooks versions.

Orthopedic Physical Assessment
David J. Magee

Another great resource for most musculoskeletal material. Especially useful for special tests, posture & deformities, visual images, and cross-referencing information between other MSK sources. 

Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques
Carolyn Kisner & Lynn Allen Colby

The best resource for musculoskeletal interventions. A great resource for surgical rehabilitation and expectations. It also contains good material for examination, diagnosis, and specific disease/condition information. 

Physical Rehabilitation
Susan O'Sullivan & Thomas Fulk

A fantastic all-around NPTE resource. A majority of the book will be devoted to neuromuscular conditions, diseases, and interventions, however you'll also find pertinent cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal information. 

Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy
Ellen Hillegass

One of the best resources for cardiopulmonary and lymphatic information on the NPTE. Includes CP examination, testing, diagnosis, and interventions.

Differential Diagnosis for Physical Therapists 
Catherine Goodman

The ultimate book for anything differential diagnosis - especially for differentiating systemic problems, other systems, and system interactions.

Pediatric Physical Therapy
Jan Tecklin

The resource for pediatric conditions and interventions. Pediatric conditions are generally lumped into the neuromuscular category, however there are some key cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal conditions to know for the NPTE.


These comprehensive study guides work well to provide a solid, initial grounding. They are a good reference, but text density and the overview nature make them less suitable for the only study resource you utilize.

Therapy Ed National Physical Therapy Exam
(PT/PTA Review & Study Guide)

A great overall resource. Includes three examinations with rationales and explanations. The practice questions can be difficult and therefore helpful to practice for the real test. The list-format of the book makes it difficult to read, but it is highly useful for referencing information quickly and housing the most important points on a topic. There is a PT and a PTA version.

Scorebuilders PT/PTA Exam:
The Complete Study Guide

Another great overall resource. Includes three examinations with rationales and explanations. The gold-silver-bronze system helps visually read through common diagnoses. Practice questions do not always emulate the wording on the real exam. There is a PT and a PTA version.

Further Resources

It would be great if you could approach the NPTE with all the knowledge in the world. That works - sometimes. 

If we're being honest, you most likely won't take all the knowledge into the test. 

Even if you do, you must still apply the information. 

Part of information application is feeling confident in your ability to do so! 

These are wonderful resources for building up your confidence, conquering mindset, and for a break from "hitting the real books".


Your mind needs that every once in a while...

...and who knows - you may refer to these one day in the clinic too!

Think, Learn, Succeed:
Understanding Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace, and Life
Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a leading neuroscientist in the world. She has several books and this one offers a method for learning by harnessing the brain's entire power. It goes much beyond rote memorization by describing how to think and how to learn. 

The Wisdom Pyramid
Brett McCracken

An absolutely incredible book regarding how to be wise in an age of information overload. It includes practice advice for how to better focus and limit hyperactivity and anxiety. 

The Happiness Advantage
Shawn Acor

A fantastic resource discussing the power of mindset and perspective shift, backed up with actual research in a variety of situations and settings. A very easy read (or listen!).

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