By Shane Moffitt

[Note: Shane is a student at the Inland Northwest Health Services in Spokane, WA]

I am proud to say that I not only had an all-star cast of instructors for my AEMT class, but my fellow classmates were of the highest caliber.  I would be honored to serve with any or all of them.

The Practical Skills testing was as difficult as advertised.  However, my classmates and I went in together and at the end of the day, we passed it together.

Written tests have never been a problem for me.  If I can get good nights sleep before a test and can clear my mind of distractions, I can usually hold my own on a written test.

So for the NREMT test, I cleared my head of all anxiety and got good nights sleep.  My confidence was high and my attitude positive as I went in to take the NREMT.

I had so much time left over at the end of the test that I went back to the beginning and double checked every answer.

The NREMT test destroyed me.

I was convinced I was in the wrong room and took the wrong test.

I failed every section of the test.  Which could not be possible since I have been a AHA Health Care Provider CPR / 1st Aid Instructor for years.  Common sense would suggest that I could at least pass the CPR questions.  Apparently not.

For a few days I wallowed in despair and considered a career as a WalMart greeter.  Eventually my Instructor Shaun got ahold of me.  He did 3 things that made the difference.

#1: He told me that he too failed the NREMT test the first time he took it.  Since he is a very respected AEMT in the field as much as in the classroom, this began to restore my faith.

#2:  He told me to join Limmer Education and purchase their phone app study guides. I found Limmer Education to be the Rock Stars of the phone app study guide world.  It worked for me, however something else may work for you.

#3:  Shaun pointed out that the NREMT is different because it is NOT simply answering questions.  The NREMT takes the answers to questions and forces you to use them in a working diagnosis of a sick patient.

I found #3 especially difficult because I rely on my short term memory to carry me through tests.  I memorize lists and key words. This will not prove useful with the NREMT.

This required me to “retrain” my thinking.

For 2 weeks I lived on Limmer Education phone app study guides.

I took and retook tests.  I read and reread test answer rationales.

The end result was interesting. I began trusting my instinct.

Classroom lectures gave me the foundational material I needed to make good decisions.

Limmer Education trained my mind to trust my classroom training.

On the test, my “gut” lead me to the right answer.

When I slowed down and overthought a question, I flagged it because I knew my brain was overriding my instinct. That question needed to be revisited.

What I want you to remember is that I did not learn more material after failing the test the 1st time.  I already had a good understanding of the material.  What I needed to pass was not more cram sessions.  What I needed was to retrain my brain to trust my instincts, which were based on my excellent classroom training.

And yes, I passed the NREMT on my 2nd attempt.  Now it’s your turn. 

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Patrick says:

    Thanks for this. Today was a pretty low day for me. As a guy that’s fresh out of college and excelled all through school I felt good going into the room and I walked out feeling completely the opposite. I didn’t pass, I studied the same way I did through out high school and college and it didn’t get me to the passing point. I’ve always relied on memorization and that wasn’t going to cut it. Good critical thinking on picking the best answer will. I learned the perfect answer is rarely there. But it was uplifting to see that I wasn’t the only one with this issue.

  • Dan Limmer says:

    Hi Patrick. You are far from the only one–and you’ve said it very well. Memorization won’t do it. There are many people who are great students who go into the NREMT and the questions scramble their brain a bit. The good news is that your learning still has value. You can reframe the preparation you do for your next attempt to application rather than memorization. You’ll also know what to expect and we suspect you will do well. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Our best to you on the next attempt–and as an EMT when you pass!

  • Steve says:

    I failed the NREMT today it’s crushing me I passed my EMT final with a 94 so when I got stopped at question 71 I thought I was in the clear by the time I got home I checked the NREMT website and saw it was already graded and I was unsuccessful 🙁

    • Stephanie Limmer says:

      Steve— We are sorry you weren’t successful. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a big difference between class exams and the NREMT. As others here have said, class exams ask for memorization while the NREMT asks for application and thinking. You wouldn’t think there would be such a difference but there is. I’ve also seen some of my best students come out unsuccessful. I don’t have evidence to back this, but I think sometimes the better students (again, who memorized and studied traditionally) get those NREMT style questions and their brain fries. They get flustered and it screws up the first attempt. The good news is that many prepare differently, know what to expect, and go back to succeed the 2nd time.

      I don’t know much about your situation but we can help. Our EMTReview.com site offers a lot of help including live review classes to help prepare for your next try. Best to you for success on the exam and as an EMT when you succeed. –Dan Limmer

  • William says:

    It took me till 4th try to pass my Advanced for NREMT. It’s true just knowing the material you will not like pass. So for everyone to know take all the practice test you can go over ever question you miss on it and learn what they are asking . Good luck everyone keep trying and learning!

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