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“Conquer the mountain.

Don’t let the mountain conquer you.”

~ Jace

Remember that we said a conquistador is an ancient knight and explorer from the 1500s, but we also said you are a modern version of those warriors?

Well, specifically, the term “conquistador” means “one that conquers”.

Think about that.

One that conquers.

Part of being a conquistador is being victorious. The historical conquistadors often planted a flag on the territory they explored.

Victory can take many forms. Your ultimate victory will be to conquer the NPTE®, but do not belittle the victories along the way. There is victory in each segment of your journey. Think about celebrating that victory at each point of your NPTE® journey. It might be the victory of studying four days in a row. It might be the victory of remembering the difference between Guillain-Barré syndrome and ALS. It might be the victory of surrounding yourself with people that you know build you up. It might be the victory of choosing to try again.

When the historical conquerors planted their flag, they were also claiming their victory. If you have been approaching the NPTE® with a victim mindset, this is the time to start claiming your victory instead. A victim mindset includes thoughts like “I have to pass this to be a PT” or “I should have a different brain to pass this” or “I can’t take tests well”.

All those comments can be true. They may not be lies. Tests might be hard for you. Those comments are true struggles. Yet you have a choice each day, whether you know it or not. You can claim your victory. You can choose to see problems as opportunities. Or you can choose to continue with the same thoughts as always.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

These words are accredited to the great genius Albert Einstein.

You can keep telling yourself the same comments you have been, but if that hasn’t been working, what do you have to lose in trying a new approach? Your new approach is claiming your victory. It is turning problems into opportunities. It is shifting your perspective. You’re not denying reality, you’re just choosing to look at it differently. Yes, you have to pass this test to be a PT or a PTA. But instead of brooding on that fact, choose to think about the new things you get to learn when you’re studying. If you are on multiple attempts for this test, you will probably be one of the most prepared entry-level therapists because you have returned again and again to the same material. Those that have passed the test on the first try are not necessarily better or smarter, and it certainly doesn’t mean they will make good clinicians.

A majority of the students who do not pass the NPTE® on the first try make incredible clinicians because they do not think black and white. They think more critically. The NPTE® is a standardized safety test, which requires that you think a certain way. The test only has words to communicate with you. In the clinic, you have things to see and feel and test. It’s beneficial to think about things in multiple ways. You want to see it clinically, because that is what you’ll do each day. Yet, it’s also helpful to conceptualize mentally and pick up situations from words. We use a lot of documentation to communicate to each other in the real world, and you’ll need those skills too.

The point is that it is all about how you approach this test. You can view it as a victory to claim. You can view it as an opportunity to overcome. You can view it as a part of your life that you can later use to relate to your struggling patients. You can be open to learning new concepts and new ways to think.

You cannot change the fact that you must pass this test in order to become a licensed clinician. So stop worrying over this fact and choose to do something about it instead.

Keep working hard. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t ignore your thoughts and perspective and don’t forget to stop and look up and look around you on the way. Each step of your NPTE® journey has something worthwhile to stop and see.

It’s time to conquer the NPTE®.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop perseverance. And perseverance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our hope…”

~ Romans 5:3

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