In this episode, 3rd Year DPT Student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Briana Zabierek, talks about her DPT Study Guide.

Today, Briana tells us about her experiences in PT school and the frustrations that led her to start the DPT Study Guide. How is the DPT Study Guide helping students? How does Bri find the time to do it all while still studying? She elaborates on the future of the DPT Study Guide, what students can expect to find in the guide and current developments.

Briana tells us about how the DPT Study Guide is compiled, finding her entrepreneurial interest, and she gives her younger self some valuable advice, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.


Key Takeaways

  • How Bri manages her time:

Change of pace: Set a timer for 45 minutes. Put all notifications off, and just zone in on your work.

Master a topic, then move on: Be comfortable bouncing between topics. Master the main ideas before moving on to another topic. Don’t try to do a whole topic in one go.

  • “The long-term goal is not just to provide products and merchandise, but to really make it a place where you know you’re stepping into a simplified version of PT school.”
  • “If you have the passion for it, and this is something that you believe in, then you can make anything happen.”
  • “You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to make these opportunities possible for yourself.”
  • “Take more breaks and realize how valuable those can be for hitting reset with your mind and focus, and also make time to have some fun.”


Suggested Keywords

PT, DPT, Study Guide, Health, Prioritizing, Studying, Entrepreneurship, Efficiency, Physiotherapy, Time Management,


To learn more about Briana:

Briana Zabierek

Bri was raised in Lockport, IL. In 2017, she graduated with a BSc from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Double Majoring in Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Science, and Nutrition Science with a Minor in Psychology. She is currently studying toward her PhD in Physical Therapy at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, with her graduation expected in May of 2021. Her mission statement: To serve, encourage, and equip patients and students in reaching their full potential.



Follow Briana at:

Facebook:       @dptstudyguide

Instagram:       @dptstudyguide

LinkedIn:         Briana Zabierek SPT

Twitter:            @dptstudyguide



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Read the Full Transcript Here: 

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Hi, Bree, welcome to the podcast. I am happy to have you on.

Speaker 2 (00:05):

Thank you. Thanks for having me. Sure.

Speaker 1 (00:07):

And we’ll give a shout out to Dr. Sarah Hague for putting us into contact with each other and telling me all about the great work that you’re doing with DPT study guide. And we’re going to talk about that today. So before we talk about the guide itself, why don’t you share with the listeners, your sort of personal experiences with PT school, which you are still in your third year student at Roslyn Franklin. So share a little bit about your personal experience with PT school and maybe some of the frustrations that came up for you.

Speaker 2 (00:41):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost, I think every student kind of encounters a little bit of a roadblock just starting out between my roommates and just our class itself, we had some pretty good comradery to begin with. And so I always felt that that was a good option to at least discuss, you know, areas that I maybe was struggling with or they were struggling with and just kind of have this like melting pot of different ideas and different ways that we could all just get the job done and kind of figure out what we need to know for exams. But as time went on, I think we all kind of fell into our own little like habits and patterns and maybe a little bit what we’re comfortable with. And then what I realized was when I think it was about like the middle of middle or towards the end of first year we had our neuro unit and that is kind of where everyone hit a wall with our study habits and just retaining the information and just kind of collectively as a class, we were making our own separate study guides and they would be like these super, super long word documents.

Speaker 2 (01:56):

And I’m talking like 50 plus pages full of yeah. Like eight point text. And I was kind of like attached to them. Like we all would get on like our Google docs and like start typing up information and it just became really overwhelming. And so what I realized was like, I kind of have an opportunity for myself and for my colleagues is to just simplify things a little bit like I was getting sick of kind of going through the PowerPoint slides that were, you know, 120, 150 slides long and just little snippets of information on each. And so I kind of just took a step back and, and saw an opportunity to really simplify things, not just for myself, but something that I thought would be helpful just to transform any student’s education going forward. And it was in again, late in our first year when I was inspired by different cash based physical therapists and kind of exposed to that world and realized that there was an opportunity for me to step into like a neat niche position. We kind of get started there kind of with like a side hustle. So that’s kind of where everything stemmed from, and right now it seems to be going pretty well. Just looking forward to kind of like sharing the experience.

Speaker 1 (03:13):

Yeah. And so tell me a little bit more about the guide itself. Can you kind of give an example of a section of it and how it helps other students? Right.

Speaker 2 (03:26):

So one thing that I definitely picked up on when I started posting the information on Instagram, which is my, my primary platform that I use was trying to get the main points of any kind of lecture or chapter into about like eight to 10 pictures on Instagram. And so what I wanted to do was share that information to simplify things for followers and students in general. But the guides themselves are focused around that idea. So kind of finding information that is most relevant to clinical practice and then finding information that’s most relevant for board exams, meaning safety, or, you know, most basic like phases of cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab and stuff like that. And I, I always felt like I mentioned kind of going through so many chapters, so many pages, so many slides it was getting exhausting, trying to figure out what I needed to know. And so the whole point of the study guides is to just really get to the meat and potatoes of everything. And then if you need to find something to reference later on, that’s when we obviously go back to our PowerPoints in our articles.

Speaker 1 (04:35):

And how are you simplifying or sort of taking out those pieces that you described for the meat and potato pieces. Do you have a system as to how you extract that information from these lectures or is it a group effort? How is that being done? A little,

Speaker 2 (04:54):

A bit of both. I, like I said, we collaborate a lot as friends and classmates throughout the years. And then I really actually took the advice from Dr. Sarah Haig. So another shout out to her, she mentioned just go back to the objectives, whether it’s the lecture that you’re sitting in, in PT school or it’s the textbook chapter that really lays out a good I don’t know, six to 12 main ideas, and then I go back there and try and figure out, okay, what information from this chapter, can I really pull and fit it into these like umbrella topics? So that’s kind of where I started at. And then some of the samples that I have up on the website to reflect like, okay, let’s just put the fancy details away. And what do I need to know if I’m seeing a patient or if I’m seeing these questions on a board exam

Speaker 1 (05:45):

And what has the response been from your fellow students?

Speaker 2 (05:50):

So my class, my classmates are really excited about it. I post a lot of daily questions in, for board exams and they’re excited to see it, they’ve moved their head ideas themselves to start an Instagram just for studying purposes. And then having that collaboration aspect has been really helpful. So I’ll even get messages from a few of them saying that, Oh, well, you know, this is something that I haven’t gone over yet. So I appreciate you kind of like pushing me to review it and, and stuff like that. But even from complete strangers, like how much support I’ve, I’ve gotten has been overwhelming almost, especially with trying to handle studying for boards and preparing for my final clinical rotation overwhelmingly positive. And I kind of attribute that to the field itself. I think going into a profession where we’re, we’re taught to care for others and put others first and all those ethical principles people are just really grateful to have an opportunity where they can see the information and either like bookmark it and kind of synthesize it right away instead of having to go through all like the dirty work themselves.

Speaker 2 (06:58):

So it’s been overwhelmingly positive and I just want to shout out to everybody who’s following along. I appreciate the support,

Speaker 1 (07:05):

And now you hit upon something that I want to dive a little bit deeper into, and that is time. So where are you finding the time? Because I know that I hear from a lot of students that they feel overwhelmed. There’s not enough time in the day to begin with. So do you have any tips or tricks that maybe other students or even practicing clinicians can learn as to how you parcel out your time to be able to do all of this?

Speaker 2 (07:33):

That is a great point. It has taken me probably the last three to four years, even before PT school to figure out what works best for me. And kind of even coming to the realization of, you know, you, you do need to manage your time before I would be a little bit of a procrastinator. As in like I would, I would start a project and then I wouldn’t really finish it. And I was like, okay, well I’ve already started it. So I’ll get to it later. It’s almost like more of a, a productive procrastinator, I guess. And so what really has helped me is a change of pace. So I know I don’t remember the exact name of the timer, but you either set 45 minutes or 30 minutes where you’re just zoned in notifications are off. And you’re just focusing on that topic for a little bit.

Speaker 2 (08:21):

And then also mixing in a variety. So in the beginning of PT school, I would try and get through all of my lectures that we had that day, the same evening. And that was just that wasn’t going to happen. I tried my hardest, but it was just wasn’t going to happen. So what ended up doing was bouncing between topics, even if it feels a little bit unnatural. What I’ve noticed with my classmates and with myself is we want to just master a topic first, before we move on. And I think the most helpful tip that I can give is to really just be comfortable with bouncing between things and just mastering the, the main ideas before moving on to another topic, because the more that you get caught up in the details, the more you’re going to kind of lag and again, procrastinate going to other topics. So that is first and foremost, give it some variety, mix things up and then really set a timer. And then lastly, like I said, just taking a peek at the objectives of the lecture and the chapter is really going to tie together, you know, what you need to pull away for clinical practice or, or board examinations.

Speaker 1 (09:28):

Yeah, because I think so often we can sometimes get lost in the weeds and we don’t pick our heads up to see those bigger pictures. So I think that’s really great great advice for students and for physical therapists alike. So now we know why you started DPT guide and now have a better idea of what it is. So my next question is what, what is the goal for you of the DPT study guide

Speaker 2 (09:58):

First and foremost, I, I want to make it a community. I think the longterm goal is to be not just to provide products and merchandise, but to really make it a place where students and practitioners alike can come and just review without any, I dunno, egos or preconceived notions or anything like that. Just coming into a place where like, you know, you’re, you’re stepping into just a, a simplified version of PT school or PT practice. So that’s the ultimate goal is just making a community for people to come together and not, not entirely making it about DPT study guide, but making it about the appreciation and respect for physical therapy itself. I do a lot right now on the page about daily, weekly posts covering a variety of topics, as well as sharing a lot of other students, other clinicians work that they are doing to promote the profession, promote their small businesses. And so that’s, that’s kinda, my, my longterm goal is to just make it this safe space, I guess, for PT students and clinicians alike.

Speaker 1 (11:12):

And now is this something that is meant to help people pass their board exams? Cause I just want to make sure that we’re kind of differentiating so that people, especially students that are listening if they want to get this guide or get these guides from you, is this something that’s like, you’re gonna pass your boards if you do this. Cause I don’t want there to be any information there.

Speaker 2 (11:36):

Right? Absolutely. My first line of products is geared towards the board exam, especially the MPTE. I think long-term, I would like to branch out and see, especially in Canada, my boyfriend is Canadian. So you kind of giving some respect, a little shout out there too. But first and foremost, yeah, it’s going to be focusing on the MPTE and then down the line I would like to extend it into just clinical practice, you know, how things have evolved from our standardized examination to how things are in the clinic or in the hospital.

Speaker 1 (12:10):

Got it, got it. Okay. So what can people expect? What if I, if I am a student and I want to download this, what can I expect to find,

Speaker 2 (12:23):

Do a lot of aesthetics? So I try to pull in like I said, the information that is relevant to both clinical practice and board examinations by kind of seeing where the attention is going to be in terms of like the mind’s eye. So transitioning from what we made in school during our first year with those 50 to 60 page documents with just white background, black text, it’s really hard to find the information that you think is going to be important. And kind of just simplifying it into basic examination procedures, basic interventions phases of rehab medical screening, laboratory values. And like I said, kind of the meat and potatoes of everything that PT is just so that students don’t get overwhelmed with the details. It’s going to be like bright and bold big ideas and then kind of like,

Speaker 1 (13:21):

Got it, got it. And, okay, so now we have a better idea of where you would like this to go. So tell me, what else do you have in development? What are you thinking that you can add to this? And it looks like, so what I mean, when you’re on the website, it looks like it, the addition to it is, can be infinity. So I think it’s important for people to know that it’s not like you go onto your website and it’s one big gigantic guide. Right, right. So where do you see this going? What do you have coming down the pipeline?

Speaker 2 (14:08):

So first and foremost is getting out both PDF copies and paper copies of the study guides. And then once I feel like that has a pretty steady response rate, then I want to transition into maybe even tutoring one-on-one video instructions or even student courses where they can go through maybe a differential diagnosis and orthopedics or differential diagnosis medication review in neurology and even down the line. This is like probably five years from now. I have a very invested passion and pain science, and so kind of pulling those things together and offing offering courses for professionals and students alike. So I, I have high hopes. I think it’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve and seeing what the demand is for students and professionals when the time comes. But I, I have full intentions to continue to grow with the demands that are out there for students and professionals.

Speaker 1 (15:16):

Awesome. And now, you know, this is obviously very entrepreneurial and which is very exciting. So where did that spark come from? Because not everyone has that kind of entrepreneurial spirit and nor do you need to have it to be an excellent physical therapist, but where did that come from for you

Speaker 2 (15:38):

First and foremost? I have to, again, shout out to a dear friend of mine. His name is Travis. Robertson. He is, he was a third year student when I was a first year student. And like I mentioned, during that neuro unit where things kinda got a little hazy with studying, he mentioned to me that like, you know, why don’t you just take a chance and see what the market is out there? He was very invested in cash based physical therapy at the time. And so then I started looking into, I mean, all the major ones, Aaron LeBauer was first and foremost, Danny Mada, Jared Carter. I actually even kind of more on like the female entrepreneur side of things is when I found obviously Karen Lyndsey and Dr. Hague more, just more opportunities to see what those people were doing in their own journeys.

Speaker 2 (16:28):

And so he really inspired me to just take a peek at what’s out there. The more that I learned about cash based businesses, owning your own PTP clinic, the more I realized that there’s different opportunities with side hustles with other income streams. And that’s when I, I kind of took my passion for simplifying PT studies into like the study guide form and realizing it’s going to take a little bit of effort upfront. But you know, if you have the passion for it and if you feel it’s like, it’s something that you believe in and fit that this is truly something that I believe in, then you can make anything happen. Like you said, you hit the nail on the head. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to make these opportunities possible for yourself.

Speaker 1 (17:11):

Yeah, no, definitely not. Definitely not. As long as you can stay organized and motivated and at some point reach out for help. I know not necessarily in the beginning, but you know, as time goes on reaching out for help when you need it is always a great thing as well. Well, it sounds like you’ve got, it sounds like you’ve got everything under control. I think you might be more organized and, and, and you’ve got your, you know, what together, more than I do. So I may, I’m a little so now what, where can people find you? Where can they find the guide? Yes.

Speaker 2 (17:58):

So the website is plain and simple DPT study guy I also run primarily the Instagram account, which is the handle is DPT study guide. And then that same handle you can find on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re interested in connecting to me personally I do have a LinkedIn as well, and that would be my first and last name Breeza Barrick. So we can connect there too, but yeah, everything is easily accessible from the website and from Instagram page.

Speaker 1 (18:30):

Awesome. And, you know, just so you know, it’s also very easy to download and it is very pretty and it’s very organized and looks very it looks great. So I highly suggest if you’re listening to this, especially if you’re a student and even if you’re not, if you want to brush up on your open and closed pack positions for all your joints, definitely a check out to DPT study Now the last question is something I ask everyone it’s knowing where you are now in your physical therapy student journey. Normally I say, in your life and career, what advice would you give to yourself right out of PT school, but why don’t we say, what advice would you give to yourself maybe before you started physical therapy school to where you from, where you are now?

Speaker 2 (19:16):

Oh, that’s a great one. Looking back, I would make more time for breaks. I feel like students are way too hard on themselves in terms of, I need to be studying 24 seven. If I’m taking a break, it makes me weaker. It makes me less smarter or whatever the case may be. Take more breaks and realize how valuable those can be for just hitting, like reset with your, your mind, your focus. And also just making time to have some fun. I, I really feel that our class emphasize that a lot because we were also motivated to perform as best we could on test exams and really trying not to sweat the small stuff. Obviously, like I said, the whole goal of it was to let’s focus on the big picture and maybe try and make it a little bit easier on ourselves throughout the way.

Speaker 1 (20:11):

Excellent advice. Excellent. Well, Bri, thank you so much. You are absolutely wonderful and makes me very excited for the future of our profession, knowing we have people like you getting ready to graduate and enter the workforce. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Speaker 2 (20:29):

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (20:32):

My pleasure, and everyone, thanks so much for listening. Have a great week and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.


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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.