NCS Prep Program

This self-guided NCS Prep Program is designed to give you the tools you need to pass the test, gain expertise, and elevate the profession — all while earning CEUs.

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93%

of subscribers that studied with the MedBridge Certification Prep Programs successfully passed their board specialization test!

Prepare to take the next step in your career.

Our NCS Prep Program provides all of the tools you'll need to pass the board specialization test, develop your clinical skill set, and elevate your career - all while earning CEUs. With advanced certification, you'll set yourself apart as a distinguished professional equipped to provide an advanced level of care.

We can help you get there faster.

In this program you will study advanced topics taught by the best instructors in neurologic therapy. With over 300 practice questions, this 20-week program will have you well-prepared for success on test day.

Learn from the Best

Study advanced topics taught by the top instructors in neurologic therapy.

Identify Strengths

Analyze your strengths & weaknesses with scores for practice areas.

Personalize Your Plan

Customize the program to meet your needs. Study in groups or on your own.

Advance Your Career

Prepare for the test and earn CEUs—all included in the annual subscription.

Explore NCS Prep Courses

Vestibular Rehabilitation: Vestibular Disorders

Presented by Jeff Walter, PT, DPT, NCS

Vestibular Rehabilitation: Vestibular Disorders

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This evidence-based course will train clinicians in the recognition and management options of vestibular system disorders. The material will be presented in a lecture format with video case studies. The course is intended to enhance the clinician’s ability to determine the appropriateness of vestibular rehabilitation and identify indications for further medical/diagnostic consultation.

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Pathologic Gait Review and Principles of Bracing in the Neurologic Population

Presented by Karen McCain, PT, DPT, NCS

Pathologic Gait Review and Principles of Bracing in the Neurologic Population

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This course is designed to provide a broad overview of the Observational Gait Analysis (OGA) system, including typical and pathologic gait. The phases of gait will be reviewed as will the pathologic mechanisms involved in gait abnormalities seen in the clinic. The system will be summarized in a way to encourage clinicians to not only appreciate the value of the OGA system for providing a framework for observation but also to provide a logical framework for decision-making in the treatment of gait dysfunction. In addition, lower extremity bracing (orthoses) will be examined with emphasis on options and implications of different designs on gait in the neurologic population. The information will be synthesized and applied in the context of a patient case with video of the patient before and after bracing. This course is designed to immediately improve understanding of gait and to enhance problem solving skills in the treatment of gait dysfunction.

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Acute Brain Injury and Disorders of Consciousness: Assessment and Intervention

Presented by Mary Beth Osborne, PT, DPT, NCS

Acute Brain Injury and Disorders of Consciousness: Assessment and Intervention

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This course covers physical therapy patient management at the early stages following brain injury and for people in the disorders of consciousness phase of recovery. Common complications, outcome measures and interventions will be explored. Case studies will provide examples of real life manifestation of many of the common issues experienced during this phase.

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Cognitive Impairments: Executive Function

Presented by Karen L. McCulloch, PT, PhD, MS, NCS

Cognitive Impairments: Executive Function

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Part of a multiple-part series of courses on cognitive impairments seen in neurologic conditions, the purpose of this course is to review issues relevant to physical therapists related to executive function and self-awareness. Although these cognitive functions are not the direct focus of physical rehabilitation, therapists should be knowledgeable about the effects of executive dysfunction and impaired self-awareness as they relate to safety and prognosis.

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Neuroimaging and Stimulation for Rehabilitation Part 1: Brain Imaging

Presented by Michael Borich, DPT, PhD

Neuroimaging and Stimulation for Rehabilitation Part 1: Brain Imaging

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This course will highlight our current understanding of how advanced brain imaging methods are changing our understanding of how the brain works in both heath and disease. The course will first provide an introduction into current brain imaging methods used both clinically and in research. Next, the ability to characterize brain structure and function will be discussed. Finally, how these techniques are used to evaluate neuroplastic capacity of the brain will be summarized and the relevance to rehabilitation will be highlighted.

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Central Vestibular System: Normal Anatomy and Physiology

Presented by Laura Morris, PT, NCS

Central Vestibular System: Normal Anatomy and Physiology

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This course is part of our NCS Prep-Program. Learn more about the full prep-program here: MedBridge NCS Prep-Program.

Vestibular disorders are a unique diagnostic category, often associated with pathology that affects the peripheral vestibular system. This course highlights the central portion of the vestibular system, including anatomy and normal physiology, as a basis for understanding pathology and management central vestibular disorders.

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Advanced Physical Therapy Examination of Clients with Huntington's Disease

Presented by Anne Kloos, PT, PhD, NCS

Advanced Physical Therapy Examination of Clients with Huntington's Disease

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Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder resulting in complex issues impacting health, function, and participation. Therapists must be equipped to provide care in an ever-changing health care environment. This course provides the therapist with advanced knowledge in examination of the client across all stages of Huntington’s disease. Information is presented using a case study example interwoven with evidence-based information. On completion of this course, the therapist will be able to use evidence-based tests and measures for the examination of clients with Huntington’s across the full spectrum of the disease.

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Considerations of Cognition: Mobility and Relation of Exercise to Cognitive Function

Presented by Deb Kegelmeyer, PT, DPT, MS, GCS

Considerations of Cognition: Mobility and Relation of Exercise to Cognitive Function

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Mobility is a complex and high-level activity involving both motor and cognitive skills. This course describes the interrelationship of cognition, mobility and exercise. Cognition plays a role in overground walking and in complex walking environments. This course reviews the current evidence regarding the role of different cognitive domains and mobility. The course then examines the assessment and treatment of mobility issues, incorporating cognitive interventions such as dual-task training. Finally the course examines the current evidence for the use of exercise to improve cognition and describes evidence-based interventions to improve cognition in healthy older adults and those with pathologic conditions such as dementia.

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Track Your Strength

The NCS Prep Program is developed in alignment with the Neurologic Description of Specialty Practice (DSP). Over 300 test questions are mapped to the DSP so participants can track their strengths and weaknesses to prepare for the exam.

See your strength in over 12 categories! Begin the NCS program today.

Practice Exam

Case Excerpt:

A 76-year-old male is admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital 20 days after a left middle cerebral artery ischemic cerebrovascular accident (CVA). He underwent tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) treatment, but his hospital course was complicated by the emergence of shingles on his left flank, and MRSA in his urine. His past medical history includes atrial fibrillation, degenerative joint disease, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, hypertension, myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), coronary artery bypass graft x2, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, and a history of smoking 1 pack per day for many years. He currently has a 2-cm unstageable ulcer on his right heel. He lives with his wife in a 2-story home and has 2 sons who live in a neighboring town. He is a retired police officer. Prior to his stroke, he walked with a cane and was able to walk 10-15 minutes before tiring. He enjoys puzzles of any kind—crossword, word search, jigsaw, etc. His wife is 10 years younger than he is, works part-time at a discount store, and is in good health.

Question:

An initial examination of this patient’s ambulation reveals the following:
  • assistance required: minimal
  • HR changes: 72–96 bpm after 100'
  • distance at which motor components of gait begin to deteriorate: 100'
  • walking speed: 0.3 m/s
  • qualitative analysis: lack of R push-off and reduced R foot clearance during R swing phase; R hip flexion and mild knee hyperextension during R stance phase; asymmetrical step length R > L
Impairment in which muscle group is the most likely contributor to this patient’s slow walking speed?
Correct! Incorrect! Subscribe to access over 300 more questions like this one.

The correct answer is "weak right plantarflexors"

The neurologic clinical specialist is expected to be familiar with common gait deviations and their causes post- stroke, as well as musculoskeletal contributions to slow vs. faster walking speed. Ankle plantarflexors are important for forward propulsion and paretic leg weakness in these muscles is a common occurrence after stroke. This patient exhibits decreased push-off, consistent with such weakness. Further, plantarflexor weakness is associated with slow walking in both healthy individuals and those poststroke. The quadriceps do contribute to forward progression during gait in healthy individuals but these do not appear to be significantly weak in this patient since the knee is stable in stance phase. Muscle tightness represents a passive restriction rather than an active muscle contraction and, therefore, would not be a likely contributor to reduced walking speed.

Meet Our Instructors

Karen L. McCulloch, PT, PhD, MS, NCS

Karen L. McCulloch, PhD, PT, MS, NCS, is a Professor in Physical Therapy in the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Allied Health Sciences, School of Medicine at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where she has taught entry-level and advanced-level students in neurorehabilitation since 1993. She has served in multiple roles within the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, including the inaugural Director of Education, and has been honored with the Service to the Section Award and the APTA Lucy Blair Service Award. Karen has cared about individuals with traumatic brain injury since beginning as a PT in clinical practice, extending from moderate to severe brain injury to a recent focus on concussion. Her research has focused on developing outcome measures and interventions to improve active movement, balance, and functional mobility, with the aim to improve quality of life. She developed the Arm Motor Ability Test (for upper limb recovery following stroke) and the Walking and Remembering Test (for dual-task performance in older adults and individuals with acquired brain injury). She served as an ORISE Fellow with the Army Office of the Surgeon General, addressing TBI issues that affect individuals in military service. Her current research efforts are focused on wounded warriors with mild traumatic brain injury as part of a team that developed the Assessment of Military Multitask Performance, a test battery of challenging dual- and multi-task activities. She is currently leading a group writing a clinical practice guideline for physical therapy management of concussion, and is involved in intervention studies that address treatment for sports and military concussion. Funding support for her research has come from the Foundation for Physical Therapy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, National Football League, and Department of Defense.

What's Included in the Program

Advanced Courses

Choose from over 50+ online, video-based courses taught by the experts

Practice Questions

Study with over 300 practice questions and recommended journal articles

Group Study

Prepare on your own or with others sitting for the exam

Structured Program

Improve your expertise with this 20-week program designed specifically for the NCS exam

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