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How to Interpret Your Score Report

Debriefing the NPTE Score Report

Of course the NPTE Score report tells you how to read it, but here are a few extra tips to keep in mind to help you navigate your way forward.

P.S. This works for PEAT reports too!

If you have previously taken the NPTE, you will have the ability to obtain a score report. It is highly advisable to obtain this report (even if it's the last thing you want to pay for) to really help you evaluate your performance and create a plan going forward.


Even though the score report shows you a myriad of numbers, tables, and options for interpretation, we recommend you go straight to the 4th column from the left (starting with "Total Items") - the scaled score.

You probably know you need 600 or more to pass the test.

That's the only score that truly matters, so we should also place the most emphasis on the scaled scores for each NPTE category.

Sure, you can read through the number of questions you answered correctly or look at percentages. It's comfortable to read those things because you feel like you can understand them. And - let's face it - you probably just spend a few years being judged in that very manner during PT or PTA school.

BUT, pay attention the SCALE SCORE. This is what truly matters.

Now, of course you need 600 total to pass, but spend a few moments perusing the entire column.

Note which categories were over 600. Great job! We want to keep that.

If you have a score report showing most scaled scores within the 500s, then go down the report and circle any categories showing in the 400s.

If you have a score report showing most scaled scores within the 400s, then go down the report and circle any categories showing in the 300s.

We'll talk about where to focus most of your energies regarding each of the categories, but you do want to know if any categories had scaled scores in the 400s or 300s because that will be something you want to absolutely shift upwards for your next practice or real attempt.


Let's talk about what's actually important here.

Of course, technically ALL the categories are important, but they are not all valuable in forwarding you to a passing score.

Jump down to the Body Systems categories.

We like to review the Body Systems categories first, because as you'll notice, there are THREE major categories with lots of total items. These are listed starting with the most items:




We have dubbed these categories "the big 3".

Although the total number of items per category might shift, the hierarchy will always hold. Musculoskeletal (MSK) is always the MOST valuable category on the test in the sense that it has the most questions, followed by Neuromuscular (NM), and then Cardiopulmonary (CP).

For the most part, these numbers are accurate for the true NPTE (if you're taking the PT version). You'll have to answer 55 MSK questions, 47 NM questions, and 26 CP questions. These numbers change on the PEAT or if you're taking the PTA examination (NPTAE).

Either way, the hierarchy remains the same.

So why are we pulling out the Body Systems categories?

For two majors reasons:

  1. If these categories aren't solid (as in 600 or more scaled score), then you can be as efficient and accurate as you want in the other categories, but you're not as likely to see a passing score.

  2. It makes much more sense to study the "Professional Activities" categories within context of the Body Systems categories.

A good goal to make for your PEAT and NPTE scores is to achieve 600 or more in two out of the three "big 3" categories. Ideally, you have a 600+ in all three categories to feel really confident in passing the examination, but there are lots of ways to pass by simply having 600+ in two "big 3" categories.


Let's walk through a quick example.

Here's our score report tables. For now, we'll just focus on the "Professional Activities" categories and the "Body Systems".

By now, you've already scanned the "Scale Score" column.

Start with the "big 3" and note if any of them were over 600. If not (as in the example), then note the scores highest to lowest.

To BEST set yourself up for the test, you'll want MSK and NM to be the highest. However, it doesn't hurt to have CP up there too.

Figure out how far from 600 you are and keep a record so that you can see your progress over time.

Download the NPTE PT and PTA tables to track your NPTEs over time (if you have taken the test more than once).

Download the PEAT tables to track your practice scaled scores.

Now use the tables and your analysis to guide your planning for future studying and test preparation. Be sure to spend enough time in the categories that ACTUALLY count.

Study smarter,
not harder.

Takeaway Prescription

Fill in the tables and check your score!


The FSBPT offers their own PDF document for understanding and using your performance feedback report, if you want to check it out.

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