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There are almost way too many available resources for studying for the National Physical Therapy Examination. It can be overwhelming to figure out which study materials will best compliment your learning style and help you successfully pass the exam. This guide will compare the pro’s and con’s of the TherapyEd and Scorebuilders books to help you make an educated decision about which book is the best for you.
Here are the only resources I recommend for the NPTE:
1. Buy a used TherapyEd or Scorebuilers book (make sure you can take the exams if you buy a used book. I recommend buying used books on the Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Facebook group)
2. Buy the PEAT practice exams
3. Utilize free resources (apps, podcasts, your PT school notes)
That’s all you need. You likely don’t need to buy both textbooks or an expensive online course. To cut costs even more, you could also share both TherapyEd and Scorebuilders books with a study partner.
Read this post for a complete summary of all available study resources for the NPTE.
Which NPTE book is the most comprehensive?
Both textbooks provide a thorough review of the information needed to pass the NPTE. You will be just fine with only learning the information in one of these books, as they essentially say the same information.
Many people argue that Scorebuilders isn’t comprehensive enough, however others complain that TherapyEd has too many details. I do agree that TherapyEd has a lot of extra details that I didn’t feel were necessary to learn for the NPTE. If you’re able to skip over these details and focus on the bigger picture concepts, then TherapyEd is a great choice. If you think that would be overwhelming because you try to learn everything that you read in textbooks, then Scorebuilders would be a better choice for you.
Which NPTE book is the easiest to study?
Scorebuilders, hands down. The information is organized into headings and tables, and includes more pictures to help explain the concepts. I feel like I can sit down and read for longer, while understanding and retaining more of the information. The information is organized in a lot of paragraphs, but they’re easy to read. Sometimes I did want more detailed information on a concept, but this can be supplemented for free with Google, Youtube, or your PT school notes.
TherapyEd tends to break up the paragraphs by using bullet points, however it doesn’t have as many pictures or tables to help explain and organize the information. TherapyEd was so dense that I would find myself reading the same paragraph 15 times and still not understanding what was being said. To help improve my attention span and to improve my understanding of concepts, I highlighted with different colors and created my own tables and drawings.
Which NPTE book has the best practice exams?
Both textbooks provide access to an online account with 3 practice exams. If you choose to purchase a used book, make sure that you will have access to these practice exams.
Most people would argue that Scorebuilders exams are easier than the NPTE and PEAT exams. While I did not personally take a Scorebuilders exam, I read through some questions while a classmate was taking an exam and the questions appeared to be the easiest. Many of the questions were a simpler, recognition-type of question, which tests if you are able to memorize facts. The questions provide a nice review and will definitely help you determine which areas you need to study more. Although Scorebuilders exams are the easiest, you can always supplement with the PEAT exams to ensure that you’re ready for the harder questions on the NPTE.
I heavily prefer the TherapyEd exams. I completed all 3 exams and found that they prepared me well for the PEAT practice exams and the NPTE. Many of the questions were challenging, however I was able to improve my test-taking and study skills. The questions focus on analyzing and applying your knowledge, rather than just choosing the correct factual information. The biggest downside is that the TherapyEd exams may feel too challenging, resulting in feeling like you might fail the NPTE. I recommend supplementing the TherapyEd exams with the PEAT exams, so you can get a better understanding of the actual difficulty of the NPTE.
Which NPTE book do I recommend the most?
TherapyEd. I love that it is slightly more comprehensive than Scorebuilders, so I never felt like I needed to learn extra information using outside sources. I also liked the challenging practice exams, which almost overprepared me for the easier difficulty of the NPTE. TherapyEd is not as easy to read as Scorebuilders, but I was okay with creating my own drawings and tables to better understand the information.
Which NPTE book did I study?
I decided to buy both. I bought them both used, but I knew I would have access to the online practice exams as the previous owners did not use the exams.
I weighed the pros and cons of both books and decided that I would prefer to have the ability to switch between both textbooks. Sometimes I was super bored or confused while reading TherapyEd, or sometimes I wanted more detailed information than Scorebuilders. I liked that I had the option of taking all the practice exams, however I only used the TherapyEd and PEAT exams.
If you’re anxious about the exam and still don’t know which book to choose, just buy both. Save yourself any unnecessary stress about asking your friends or reading online posts about the pro’s and con’s of each book. There is no incorrect answer, and you will likely pass with just purchasing one book, but it’s pretty nice to have access to two books.
Are you interested in more resources? Here’s an article on all the current available NPTE study materials.