Read an Excerpt
A NOTE FROM OUR AUTHOR
It is impractical to try and learn every fact or concept in an EMS textbook.An EMS student must be able to distinguish the “must know” from the rest of the material presented. That’s what this book does:
it emphasizes the “must know” content. This Crash Course is unique because it’s designed for those who are one test away from direct patient care in potentially dangerous circumstances.
This publication is not a substitute for a well-written textbook or participation in a high-quality EMS training program, but rather as a bridge between your training and your certification exam. This book
helps you focus on the knowledge necessary to pass the NREMT certification exam and function competently as an EMT.
In EMT class, students take a test after the lesson. When you are an EMS provider, the test comes unannounced and the lesson is learned afterward. When you are not prepared for class, you risk a
poor grade. When you are not prepared on the street, the patient pays the price.
As you work your way through this book, imagine yourself certified, hired, and on duty for your very first shift. You have just been dispatched to the community pool. There are reports of a fire in a
storage room near the pool with a number of people fleeing the area. The dispatcher tells you a lifeguard is performing CPR on a child pulled from the water during the evacuation.
You don’t know if you will be the first EMS unit on the scene . . .
You don’t know what was in the storage room or what hazards await you . . .
You don’t know how many patients are waiting for your help, or what might be wrong with them…
You don’t know if you will be caring for the pediatric drowning victim or other patients . . .
With this scenario in mind, read through this book and ask yourself, “What do I really need to know to handle this call?”
Study hard and good luck on your certification exam.
Chris Coughlin, NREMT-P, Ph.D.
Preparing for Success on the NREMT Certification Exam 1
Serving the public as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is among today’s most rewarding careers. The overwhelming majority of states in the U.S. require that you pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam to become certified and work as an EMT. Certification through the NREMT indicates that you have demonstrated entry-level competency as an EMT.
The NREMT certification exam is a “pass/fail” test. Its purpose is not to identify who is the “best,” but to identify who is “competent.” Your future patients don’t care what you scored on your certification exam. They care about receiving competent and compassionate care for themselves and those they care about. This Crash Course gives you the essential information you need to prepare for the NREMT certification exam.
The NREMT exam is a computer-adaptive test (CAT). The test tailors itself to your individual abilities. The exam delivers questions one at a time and the questions are not randomly chosen. While you are taking the test, the software that drives the test is estimating your ability level. The ability estimate gets more and more precise as the exam progresses. The exam ends when there is a 95% certainty that your demonstrated competency is above or below the passing standard.
TOPICS COVERED ON THE EXAM
Your NREMT exam will have between 70 and 120 questions and you will have two hours to complete the test. All of the questions will be multiple-choice and each question will have 4 answer choices. You need to choose the “best” answer for the question posed.
The exam will broadly cover the content of the 2009 National EMS Education Standards (NEMSES). Topics will include airway, oxygenation, ventilation, cardiology, resuscitation, stroke, trauma, medical emergencies, obstetrics, gynecology, and EMS operations.
Here are the percentages for the topics found on the exam.
NREMT Exam Topics % of Test by Topic
Airway and ventilation 17–21%
Cardiology, resuscitation, stroke 16–20%
Medical and OB/GYN 27–31%
EMS operations 12–16%
For all but EMS operations, 85% of the questions relate to adult patients and 15% relate to pediatric patients. Although not separate categories, topics such as patient assessment and safety will be emphasized throughout the test.
Typically, you can retrieve your score from the NREMT website 24 hours after you complete the exam. If you fail the exam, the NREMT will provide some detailed information about your performance on each of the exam categories. Candidates must wait at least 14 days before taking the test again.
Like the NREMT certification exam, the information in this publication is based on the 2009 National EMS Education Standards and the 2010 American Heart Association CPR and Emergency Cardiac Care Guidelines. This Crash Course will help you become familiar with these standards before taking the certification exam. For more information about the 2009 NEMSES, visit www.ems.gov/education/nationalstandardandncs.html.
GENERAL TEST-TAKING TIPS & STRATEGIES
BEFORE THE TEST
• Eat a balanced meal and get plenty of rest.
• Don’t cram. Your preparation should end (not begin) the day before the test.
• Avoid caffeine, energy drinks, excess sugar, etc. These will not improve your performance or steady your nerves.
• Study regularly over an extended period before the test.
• Know exactly where the test center is and plan to arrive a few minutes early. Remember, you must have an appointment to take the test. Bring two forms of photo ID.
• The testing center may be cold. Bring something warm in case you need it.
DURING THE TEST
• You cannot skip a question or come back to it later. You must answer each question before the next one will be provided.
• Read the whole question thoroughly at least a couple of times and formulate the answer in your head before you look at the answer choices. If you see a similar answer choice, that’s probably the correct response.
• There are four answer choices. Two of them can often be eliminated after reading the question thoroughly.
• When you get stuck, look for key words in the question and re-read the answer choices. When in doubt, lean towards the more aggressive treatment. For example, if you are not sure whether you should ventilate the patient or just administer oxygen, choose to ventilate.
• Do not complicate scenario-based questions. Do not bring elements into the questions that are not there.
• Relax! Remember, everyone is going to feel like the test is extremely challenging. Everyone is going to miss a lot of questions. This does NOT mean you are failing.