Saturday, January 23, 2016

Licenses & Job Search Tips

I took my boards to get licensed by the state to practice physical therapy on January 13. It was the hardest test ever (NCPTE). There are 4 hours, 200 questions and 4 sections (50 questions each section). You may review any question in your current section, but once you submit and move on to the next section of 50 questions, you can not go back to a previous section. 50 questions total are un-scored practice questions to determine whether they should be included in future tests. You don't know which 50, though, and on the really hard ones I kept thinking "I hope this one doesn't count!".

I felt like the dumbest person ever after I left that test. I immediately went to school to pick up my diploma and stopped by my department to tell my professors how dumb I am. Every graduate of the program for 10 years has passed the boards on the first try and I said "Not this year! I failed." But they told me what I was feeling is normal and that they were confident I passed. I was not.

I'd also like to mention the PEAT (Practice Examination Assessment Tool) offered by the FSBPT (The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy) for $100. It comes with a practice test and a retired exam (the questions were onced used on the real exam). 99% of PTs who pass the retired exam pass their actual boards. 96% of PTAs who pass the retired exam pass their actual boards. There were 4 questions on my actual boards that I recognized from the retired PEAT I took, but overall I felt the PEAT was way too easy compared to the real thing. (You can read the entire article about how well the PEAT predicts success here.

I used the PTA Exam Study Book by Scott Giles because our professor required we buy it. Comes with 3 online practice exams that give you score reports to break down your strengths and weaknesses. This book is not as comprehensive as I would like. There were things asked on the PEAT and the real Boards that were not covered in this book. 

I lived in agony from Jan 13 until January 21 when we got our results. I watched countless movies to distract me. I would get so anxious at night when I was trying to sleep my heart would race and my chest hurt from feeling like my heart was going to burst. I'd get so nervous I felt weak in the knees and like I was going to pass out. I think I cried once. I went over in my head how I would react when I saw that "Fail" on my scores and how ashamed I would be.

I woke up on January 21 to 8 text messages telling me scores were up. So the first place I went was to Verify a Therapist at the ncptboard website and my name wasn't up there. Can't even describe what I felt when I thought I had failed. Luckily I went to the fsbpt website and saw I passed. Took a while for me to stop shaking from thinking I failed but I soon moved on to jumping up and down and screaming with joy when my name finally showed up on the ncptboard site and I knew it was official.

 I am now a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in the state of North Carolina! 

I also spent that agonizing week pouring over and highly recommend it to anyone searching for a job or dealing with work-related issues. I completely rewrote my cover letter based on that blog's advice and am very proud of it.
Amazing Site!

There are two rules from this site I'm definitely going to implement:
  1. The Magic Question to blow away an interviewer: "Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?"
  2. Your cover letter should address what you can offer the company. Why should they want you? At this point, they don't care about what YOU want. It also should not repeat what's in your resume. It should provide information about the applicant that will never be available from a resume — personal traits and work habits. How to write a cover letter

No comments:

Post a Comment