The American Board of Physical Therapist Specialties’ website contains details about the NCS exam. However, it requires some digging to find answers to specific questions. Below is some key information and links to help you know what to expect on test day.

When is the exam?

The NCS exam is offered during a two-week period each year from late February through mid-March.

What is the breakdown of exam topics?

This link details that all questions on the NCS exam relate to the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP).The approximate weighting of exam topics are:

  • Knowledge areas (20%)
  • Professional roles, responsibilities, and values (15%)
  • Patient and client management model (65%)
    • Examination (30%)
    • Interventions (30%)
    • Outcomes (5%)
  • The following medical conditions may be tested:
    • Cerebral vascular accident
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • CNS tumors
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Basal ganglia disorders (Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, dystonias, etc.)
    • Cerebellar disorders
    • Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
    • Vestibular disorders
    • Falls and balance disorders
    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Acute poliomyelitis and postpoliomyelitis syndrome
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
    • Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome and polyneuropathies
    • Muscle disease
    • Amputations in individuals with neurologic disorders
    • Psychiatric disorders and aphysiologic disorders
    • General medical disorders affecting the neuromuscular system
    • Cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders in individuals with neurologic conditions
    • Musculoskeletal disorders in individuals with neurologic conditions
    • Integumentary dysfunction in individuals with neurologic conditions

How do I schedule my exam?

You can find all the details about test day here.

In summary, you will receive a scheduling permit by January 1. Upon receipt of your scheduling permit, you will be able to contact a Prometric site to schedule your exam. Schedule your exam as soon as possible after receiving your permit to ensure you get a spot at your preferred testing center.

What do I need to bring to the exam?

You can find all the details about test day here.

  • Your scheduling permit (hard copy or electronic)
  • Identification (must match the name on your scheduling permit!)
    • Unexpired photo identification with signature (driver’s license, passport, military ID)

Is there anything else I need to consider about what to bring to the exam?

You can find all the details about test day here.

  • You will be required to remove your eyeglasses for a few seconds for visual inspection.
  • Jewelry, except for wedding rings and engagement rings, is prohibited.
  • Hair accessories are subject to inspection. You should not wear ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories. Any examinee wearing any of these items may be prohibited from wearing them in the testing room and asked to store them in their locker.
  • You will not be allowed to bring any mechanical or electronic devices, such as cell phones, palm pilots, calculators, watches of any type, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, or radios with you into the test room.
  • Outerwear such as coats, jackets, head wear, gloves are not permitted during testing.
  • Book bags, backpacks, handbags, briefcases, and wallets will need to be stored in your assigned locker.
  • Books, notes, study materials, or scratch paper will also need to be stored.
  • You will not be permitted to bring food, candy, gum, or beverages with you into the testing room.
  • You will be asked to empty and turn your pockets inside out; you will be asked to repeat this process prior to every entry into the testing room after a break.
  • You may be asked to take off your shoes, lift your pants, and roll up any sleeves if you are wearing long-sleeved shirts.

What is the format of the exam?

You can find all the details about test day here.

  • Computerized testing
  • The testing session is up to seven hours
  • 200 multiple choice questions
    • Four 50-question (1.5 hour) test periods
    • You will have an option for one 50-minute break after a test period of your choice
  • You may not return to a previous test section

When will I get my results?

Results are emailed by June 30.