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Abstract

Background and Purpose: A variety of admission criteria have been utilized to assist in the selection of viable candidates in physical therapy programs. These criteria include cognitive measurements such as grade point average (GPA) and standardized test scores. However, only a few studies correlated these cognitive measurements to predicting success on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The purpose of this study was to examine the performance of entry-level doctoral physical therapy (DPT) students on prior cognitive measurements and correlate it to passing on the first attempt of the NPTE. This study also aimed to determine if two inventory surveys examining personality traits and coping skills were appropriate predictors for passing the NPTE on the first attempt. Subjects: Forty-nine students from seven physical therapy programs which offer the DPT program participated in the study. Methods: Participants provided their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and completed three surveys including a survey on past academic performance, the Big Five Inventory (BFI) personality survey and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Logistic regression and correlation coefficients were used to analyze the relationship of these factors to the NPTE and to each other. Results: SAT score was the only significant variable identified as a predictor for passing the NPTE on the first attempt. Discussion and Conclusion: SAT scores may be utilized to predict performance on the NPTE. Personality traits and coping skills were not found to be statistically significant predictors.

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