Strategies for students waiting to take the NREMT.
You are confused.
You are angry.
You may have been displaced from the classroom and lab. Your dream of becoming an EMT, AEMT, or paramedic by taking the NREMT this May might not be a reality. The Pearson Vue test centers are closed. When they open, the wait to get a test date will likely be long.
It is proven that knowledge deteriorates over time. We want to offer some advice about keeping your knowledge and skills sharp while you get through the remainder of your class and ride out any additional delays you may face.
Our Chief Learning Officer, Dan Limmer, knows a few things about textbooks. He has written several. He says, “Your textbook is a valuable resource, but you should use it properly. Read it and study from it for your quizzes and exams in class.” But then the role of the textbook changes. “If you read your textbook during class, you shouldn’t keep re-reading it. Your book should now be a reference, a support to your ongoing studies.” Your textbook can be used for:
- Looking up words and terms you find in other sources and don’t know.
- Exercises in the textbook that promote thinking and application
- Periodically reviewing high-value topics (e.g., obstetrics, resuscitation, and others)
Apps are popular, mobile, and beneficial for exam preparation. (Yes, we do sell apps…) Be sure to choose quality apps that are up to date and realistic for NREMT preparation. Using the apps is more than just taking tests. We recommend:
- When taking practice tests, keep a pad and pen by you to write down things you don’t know. You may see a term in a question you don’t know or a clinical concept in an answer you aren’t sure of. Look these up to improve your knowledge.
- When you get a question wrong, read the rationale answer, then look back at the question and figure out what you missed that would have helped you get it right. This helps you learn to read—and understand exam questions.
- Go the distance. Limmer Education apps have practice exams that are between 100 – 120 questions. Plan to sit down and take at least one in its entirety. The NREMT can take you to 120 – 135 questions. If you end up getting that many questions, you should at least know what it is like before you get there. You don’t run a few miles and consider yourself ready for a marathon. Go the distance at least once before you sit for the exam.
- While we like the idea of trying one long exam, the rest of your studies should be spaced out. Marathon study sessions aren’t believed to be as valuable as several smaller study sessions as far as memory and retention are concerned.
In days of old, students would meet in person in study groups. Technology has allowed us to hold study groups remotely. Social distancing in the age of COVID-19 makes it necessary. Keeping in contact with classmates helps keep your eye on the goal of passing the exam when it will be delayed. Here are some tips for holding successful study groups.
- Free video platforms are plentiful and reliable. Google Hangouts is one that we use frequently. Find one that works for your group.
- Have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, your sessions will range from general conversation to unfocused study. Here are some ideas to make the time worthwhile:
- Develop an agenda – having a structure will make sure the time spent in the group is most beneficial.
- Create assignments – Choose a topic for each session. If you are studying respiratory, assign each member of the group to create a written outline and brief presentation on a sub-topic within that chapter. One can present on asthma, another emphysema, and so on.
- Be there for each other – Groups don’t work unless everyone does their share. Consider the situation above where everyone is responsible for a topic. If one doesn’t do their work, everyone suffers. In this same vein, choose your group members wisely.
Keep in Touch with Your Instructor
When class is over (or moves online), it is more challenging to keep in touch with your educator. This prevents you from asking questions and can result in a lack of focus in your studies (another reason we like study groups) and feelings of isolation. Many find studying becomes less of a priority once they are separated from class. While you won’t get the same amount of attention you would if you were in class, look for ways to stay connected with your instructor and fellow students. There is strength in numbers.