If you are thinking about pursuing a career in Emergency Services, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the NREMT Exam.
In the EMS field, most states require you to go through a process of certification involving the National Registry, a testing body with a standard way of testing. It is used by many states to certify an EMT or Paramedic level medical license to a qualified individual.
What is the NREMT Test?
A non-profit organization, the NREMT is considered the “nation’s emergency medical certification organization.” Its mission is to protect the public as it ensures that EMTs are skilled and knowledgeable to work effectively in their field.
The NREMT -National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians- exam is structured to test your EMT knowledge. An adaptive, computer-based test gives each individual a different question based on their answers to the previous question.
The difficulty of this exam, thus, varies from person to person. This test might sound intimidating and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be with the proper guidance and preparation.
Required in most states, the National Registry of Medical Technicians (NREMT) is the inclusive certification program for EMTs. It is the foundational exam for the career of people who want to be EMTs.
In addition to this, some states may require you to take an individual test alongside the NREMT. Other states could require supervised practice before confirming your EMT license.
What is Covered in the NREMT Exam?
As briefly mentioned above, the written component of the NREMT exam is an adaptive computer exam (CAT exam). The test questions begin below a minimum passing standard, building up to become more complex as questions are answered correctly by candidates.
Once the test has identified that correct answers have been given above the minimum passing standard, it determines that the candidate has enough understanding. That involves knowledge of the content, and then the next step is evaluating another subject in the same manner.
Now considering the general content of the exam, the areas tested on the NREMT exam are:
- Cardiology and Resuscitation
- Airway, Respiration, and Ventilation
- EMS Operations
Here is the percentage composition in the examination:
- 18%-22% of the questions are airway, respiration, and ventilation;
- 20%-24% cover cardiology and resuscitation;
- 14%-18% are from trauma;
- 27%-31% are from medical/obstetric/gynecology, and
- 10%-14% cover EMS operations
It is also beneficial to know that every section excluding EMS Operations has its content distributed as 85% adult-based questions and 15% pediatric-based questions.
The questions on the exam range from 70-120, and the sooner questions are answered correctly in each area as the difficulty increases, the sooner the test can be finished.
The exam is relatively straightforward; there are neither tricks nor surprise questions. All the information is directly derived from national standardized EMS protocols.
The exam focus should be in tandem with the study area for your EMT course and thus, should match the study content created by reading and note-taking.
What Score Do You Need to Pass the NREMT Exam?
To pass the NREMT exam, you need to get at least 70% of the answers right. However, as the test represents your expected performance in the field, most people attempt to score much higher.
Once you’re done consistently and accurately answering a number of the questions above the set minimum standard, the test abruptly ends. If you are exceptionally well prepared, you might only need to answer 70 questions before the computer decides you’re good to go.
Well, can you pass the NREMT test on your first try?
It is possible to pass the NREMT exam on your first try. Statistics show that while 33% of EMTs and 23% of paramedics fail the exam, it also implies that 67% of EMTs and 73% of paramedics pass the exam.
You can be within these passing percentages if you can gauge how the test works and adopt an effective way to study for it. By preparing correctly and thoroughly, you can pass the exam on your first try.
How Many Times Can You Take the NREMT Exam?
You are given three attempts to pass the NREMT exam before you are required to take a refresher course. If you are unsuccessful and fail the test, you will get an email containing feedback on your failing score.
After an unsuccessful exam attempt, a candidate can apply to be retested after 15 days of the last examination. Following three failed examination attempts, EMT, AEMT, and Paramedic candidates need to submit official documentation that verifies the completion of a remedial training program.
In addition to the three attempts to pass, three further attempts are given to candidates, given that all the other prerequisites for National Certification are fulfilled.
If you fail six times, you will be required to repeat the entirety of the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course.
9 Tips to Pass the NREMT Exam
As someone who has never given the NREMT Exam before, there must be a plethora of questions on your mind: How to pass the NREMT basic exam? how to pass NREMT cognitive exam? And so on.
We will now provide tips on passing the NREMT exam, starting with the NREMT cognitive exam. For the NREMT mental exam, you should:
Review the existing AHA Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
This strategy is directly recommended by the National Registry of EMT website. As the NREMT doesn’t provide many tips on studying for the exam, this tip should be considered.
The NREMT cognitive exam tests you on the AHA Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care up to the Basic EMT level of training. You should be familiar with the current American Heart Association guidelines.
There is one correct answer!
The EMT test tries to assess how you will respond to providing patient care. The incorrect answers might include common mistakes, misunderstandings, or wrong methods for less than optimal care.
There are 4 answers to each cognitive exam question, and there is a possibility that all 4 might be right or wrong. You have to decide on the most correct of the 4 existing options, even if it’s not what your first choice would be.
Read the questions carefully
You should read the entire question and the answers and focus on the words that change the meaning of an answer or question. Try not to skip through any part of a question.
Words like ‘sometimes,’ ‘never,’ and ‘always’ can make a difference and cause a slip up if you overlook them during the exam. So take your time reading and understanding each question and answer.
Words such as “anterior” and “posterior” can also make a significant difference when asked about the Rule of Nines, so know your Rule of Nines.
Look out for signals that point toward a critical situation
You can determine that the exam scenario involves a critical situation by noticing an altered mental status. This is hinted at by terms such as anxiety, restlessness, unresponsiveness, etc.
Other signs include a high pulse as well as clammy and cold skin. Usually, clues indicate that the patient is experiencing a shock. However, you should note that a patient having anxiety or other non-critical situations can have similar symptoms.
Once you have judged correctly that the situation is critical, you may need to respond with timely intervention. This helps narrow down the answers to those that mention more excellent urgent responses.
For example, consider a critical situation question asking what the next step should be. The answer would most likely not be to apply a splint.
The NREMT cognitive exam has about 18%-22% questions based on the Airway, Respiration, and Ventilations part. 85% of questions will be regarding elderly and adult patients, and the remaining 15% will be about pediatric patients.
There have been problems circulating around some topics. Issues have been centered on Airway, Ventilation, and Oxygenation decisions in the prehospital setting.
The National Registry of EMTs wants to ensure that all certified EMTs undergo proper EMT training and demonstrate an appropriate understanding of patient care- particularly the basics.
Common NREMT cognitive exam confusion is around knowing when to oxygenate a patient and when it’s suitable to ventilate a patient. Ventilation is required when the patient is in respiratory failure or below adequate respirations per minute.
Oxygen might also be needed. However, it needs to be taken in by the patient to be of any use. Furthermore, the patient’s airway must be clear to provide ventilation.
Therefore, a question about an Apneic patient EMT training could have the following as an appropriate answer:
“Manually open Airway, Ventilate with a BVM attached to oxygen at 15 L/min, at 10 – 12 Breaths per minute (1 ventilation every 5-6 seconds).”
By mishandling the airway, you can harm the patient, worsening conditions, and cause legal issues for the EMT. Due to this, the National Registry wants to ensure new candidates are competent and knowledgeable in the Airway Management Areas.
Moving onto some general tips, you should:
Use Test Simulation Software
The NREMT test is computerized with increasing difficulty of questions provided you are performing well. It can be intimidating. Therefore, it is advised to do as many NREMT practise tests as possible.
An NREMT practice test will give an EMS student a good idea of how the registry will be formatted. There are a couple ways that you can find practice tests.
The old-fashioned way is to use the NREMT test study guides. They are relatively cheap and readily available on Amazon or at stores like Barnes and Noble. They are also portable and convenient to bring on daily errands and study on the go.
On the other hand, an NREMT test study guide can be pretty static, leading to just memorizing answers. The NREMT does not draw from the same test bank as the study guides.
Looking online for a testing company with a big question bank is advised. This helps in having the best possible chance of getting questions close to the style of questions the registry might provide.
A helpful exam simulation software is Exam Edge- an industry-leading exam preparation company. Since 2006, this company has been providing hopeful candidates with practice exams.
While cramming is a common study technique used by students, it is one of the most ineffective ways of learning. Repetition is key to understanding and retaining information. Our brain usually stores the gist of what it learns.
For example, students will learn numerous treatments for various illnesses EMTS encounter in their careers. But, without repetition, students might remember what needs to be done but will forget the sections regarding the how.
The NREMT test asks questions that want the specifics and not just the gist. Thus, students must memorize as much about patient treatment as possible without cramming as it will only disadvantage them.
Practice the skill sheets
The latter part of the NREMT exam focuses on applying practical skills. This part of the exam tests if candidates can physically perform the tasks emergency personnel must master to achieve in their career.
Most classes provide students with the specific skill sheets they will be graded on upon taking their exams. Note: you should pay special attention to auto fails at the end of the sheets.
NREMT skills sheets: Print them, Learn Them, Live them!
Arrive early for the exam
It is recommended on the National Registry of EMT website to arrive at least 30 minutes before the test at the testing center. It helps reduce stress and leaves space for unexpected delays.
You should eat a proper breakfast and allow yourself some extra time if something comes up.
How Long Do NREMT Results Take?
The results of the exam are posted directly to your account on nremt.org. While the NREMT declares that results are published in one to two business days, sometimes they might appear as quickly as the same day the exam was taken.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Pass the NREMT Exam?
While the NREMT exam may be difficult, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With the proper preparation and guidance, the passing score can be achieved to obtain the EMT certification.
The NREMT exam may be elementary by staying ahead of the exam and practicing. Also, follow the tips mentioned above and tricks to successfully pass your exam.
Moreover, you can learn how to pass the NRMET exam when you focus enough on the necessary aspects. For example, we do advise you set aside at least 8 weeks to fully prepare for the NREMT exam before you sit for the exam.