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Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive Examination Committee Policies and Procedures 



The Comprehensive Examination Committee of the Department of Physical Therapy will develop and revise on a regular basis the comprehensive examination that requires the student to demonstrate competency in all instructional/content areas included in the Texas State University Physical Therapy curriculum. 



Comprehensive Examination 

I.  The Committee 

  • Will develop and implement the comprehensive examination that reviews the physical therapy curriculum. 
  • Will decide upon and communicate with the faculty regarding a time frame in which to obtain items for test construction. 
  • Will arrange for administration of the examination 
  • Will analyze test results using item analysis. 


II.  Eligibility 

Students who meet the following requirements are eligible to sit for the comprehensive examination: 

  • successful completion of all didactic coursework up to and including semester 6 
  • are not on academic suspension or probation upon the conclusion of semester 6 

 Students on alternative schedules are required to contact the Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair to determine their eligibility to take the comprehensive examination. 


III.  The Examination 

  • The examination will reflect the content of the physical therapy curriculum. 
  •  The approximate weight distribution of each content area will be identified and communicated to the students prior to the examination. 
  • The student is required to demonstrate competency by achieving a minimum overall score of 70% on the comprehensive examination. 
  • The Comprehensive Examination Committee will report the test results to the faculty for endorsement of results. 


IV.  Examination Date 

  •  The examination will be administered on the first day of semester 7. Students with testing accommodations are required to provide written documentation of accommodations to the Chair of the Committee at least 2 weeks prior to the examination date. 


V.  Retake Examinations 

  •  In the event a student does not successfully pass the comprehensive exam on the initial attempt, the student will have 2 additional attempts to pass the comprehensive examination.  It is the student’s responsibility to schedule the second attempt with the Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair.  The student is required to schedule a meeting with their advisor and the Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair within 1 month of being notified of the failure to discuss remediation and scheduling of the comprehensive examination second attempt.  The student will have a maximum of 3 months from the date of the initial examination in which to complete the comprehensive examination second attempt.   
  •  In the event that the student does not successfully pass the comprehensive examination on the second attempt, the student is required to meet with their advisor within 1 month of being notified of the failure, to develop an individualized remediation program and to schedule the third and final attempt. The student will have a maximum of 3 months from the date of the second attempt in which to complete the comprehensive examination third attempt.  
  • The student is not eligible to progress to semester 8 until a passing score on the comprehensive examination has been achieved.   
  • The student is not eligible for graduation until a passing score on the comprehensive examination has been achieved, per Graduate School policy. 



Test Analysis/Scoring Guidelines 

  • The number of items upon which the final score will be calculated will be determined after test and item analysis.



  • For feedback on exam results, the student may meet with their advisor. The student is not permitted access to the exam directly, but the advisor (or item writer, when necessary) may give verbal feedback on item/content performance.  



  • Should a student be unable to take the comprehensive exam on the scheduled date, the student will receive a zero “0” score on the first attempt. Additionally, the Professional Probation process may be applied and may result in a 1 step progression in the steps to professional probation (students should consult their Student Handbook for details regarding the Professional Probation policy).
  • Excused absence: In cases of extreme illness in self, extreme illness or death of an immediate family member (parent, sibling, spouse, child), or other comparable circumstance, the student will be granted an excused absence from the exam without penalty. Requests for an excused absence should be submitted via email to the Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair within a reasonable time and documentation will be required. Requests for an excused absence will be determined by the Comprehensive Examination Committee in consultation with the Department Chair.
  • As soon as a student knows they will miss the exam, they should contact the Comprehensive Exam Committee Chair (directly or through the PT Department) and their adviser  



Approved by Faculty 4/13/20