Congratulations, you've almost completed your training. Taking an EMT practice test is a good way of finding if you are ready takes your final certification exam. Most students in the US will end up taking the National Registry exam. You can check their site for what you need to know to take the registry test. (warning! Opens a new window) National Registry of EMTs You should take your EMT practice test under the same conditions that you will take your actual exam. This means placing time limits on how long you can take the test. For the 150 question EMT Basic national registry exam you should allow 2 hours to take the exam.
All EMT exams cover the following modules: Preparatory, Airway, Medical assessment, trauma assessment, OB/Gyn, Cardiovascular and operations.
You should try to do your best on the first taking of the exam. Each national registry exam is different. You cannot just sit for an exam to see what is on it and then take the exam again. The next exam will be completely different.
You should develop some objectives for preparing for the test.
Remember why you are training to become an EMT. This is just one more task you have to complete to achieve your goal.
Create a Study Plan
Cramming for exams never really works. You are trusting your short-term memory to remember information you should have been learning all along. If you need to remember something else (like to drop you kid off at daycare before the exam) you may lose some of the information you crammed. You will definitely lose that information shortly after the exam. This does not make you a good EMT.
If you are learning something new while reviewing and studying for the exam - STOP! You are not ready to take the exam.
Set a schedule to study and make a list of what you should study for exam block of time.
By now you should know what studying techniques work for you. Don't try something new at this point. Do what is effective. Take a EMT practice test to assess how you are doing.
Determine if are studying effectively
Did you just read a section and not understand it? If not, you need to go back and relearn that information. If you do this too many times, you are not ready to take the exam.
Control your environment (and yourself)
Get enough rest before the exam. Get plenty of sleep - no partying!. On the day of the exam make sure you have taken care of yourself. Get some food so you don't get hunger pains. Go to the bathroom to take care of those urges. If you need to arrange daycare or pickup, have somebody you trust take care of that. Turn off you cell phone or pager an hour before the exam. This way nobody will bother you with trivial (or not) matters just before the exam.
While taking the test...
Treat each question as though it was the last question. Read each question thoroughly. Read the stem of the question (that is the part just before the multiple choice). The stem often contains the keywords for the question. Try to think of the answer before reading the choices. Read each possible answer even though some are downright silly. Pick the best answer even though the right answer is not there.
Remember Patient Assessment
Remember your patient assessment guidelines. Read each question and ask yourself "Where am I in the assessment?" The assessment that you have practiced will tell you the right answer. Keep this in mind while you are taking your EMT practice test.
Here are two classical examples of what I mean...
You arrive on scene at local residence for a dispatch of chest pain. The residence is a single-family dwelling and the scene is safe. Entering the residence you find a 58 year-old male sitting in a chair. He appears pale, diaphoretic and is tripoding. He tells you that the pain started 20 minutes ago and that he has angina. He had his own nitroglycerin tablets and has not taken any prior to arrival. His vital signs are: BP 160/92, respiration 18 and normal, Pulse 102 and weak. Your first actions would be:
the past medical history, the patient stated that he had angina and takes nitroglycerin. We will give nitro at some point but our first action would to give oxygen.
Now let's try a similar question:
You arrive on scene at local residence for a dispatch of chest pain. The residence is a single-family dwelling and the scene is safe. Entering the residence you find a 58 year-old male sitting in a chair. He appears pale, diaphoretic and is tripoding. He tells you that the pain started 20 minutes ago and that he has angina. He had his own nitroglycerin tablets and has not taken any prior to arrival. His vital signs are: BP 160/92, Respiration 18 and normal, Pulse 102 and weak. Your next action would be:
To help prepare you for the exam you should take an EMT practice test. The EMT Practice Test linked below was developed at the school where I teach for over 5 years. It is a well vetted test where we have worked out the "bugs" in the test. Too many times a test given by an instructor does not well convey the subject being tested. These tests do!
Take an EMT practice test for EMT-Basic by following the links below.
Download a Free EMT-B Practice test by following this link (warning! opens a new window)
Subscribe to the EMT-Resources E-Zine