How to Pass the EKG Exam

Passing the electrocardiogram (EKG) certification exam on the first try is no simple feat, but you can increase your chances of passing the EKG exam by investing in the right EKG test prep materials and programs and learning how to study for the EKG test.

EKG technicians play a key role in administering cardiovascular tests using an EKG. These tests can give healthcare providers critical insights into a patient’s heart health. If you’re ready to take a step forward in your career as a healthcare professional, this guide will give you all of the tips and tricks you need to pass your EKG certification exam.

EKG Certification: Why It Matters

While you can enter the role of an EKG technician with just an EKG course completion, it doesn’t mean you’re certified. EKG certification is a specialized credential that validates your competency and expertise‒it shows potential employers that you go above and beyond for your profession by verifying your skills as an EKG tech.

In fact, MedCerts reported that in 2020, 87% of employers either require or strongly encourage EKG certification. When you earn your certification, you are granted credentials that include a certification identification card and a certificate.

How to Meet the Exam’s Requirements

Before taking the exam, you must complete three prerequisites: attain a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited EKG course and training program, and earn live clinical experience performing EKGs.

Sometimes, you can bypass the training program if you have formal medical services training in the same health field. You can also earn your live clinical experience after taking your exam, as long as you perform a minimum of ten EKGs on live patients within 180 days of taking the exam.

Remember that if your graduation or course completion date for your training program is five or more years before your exam application date, you must have at least one year of relevant and supervised work experience.

The Three Main Content Domains

The best way to prepare for the EKG exam is to familiarize yourself with the exam’s format and content. So, how many questions are on the EKG test?

The EKG exam has one hundred multiple-choice questions that must be answered within two hours. These questions are divided into three main content domains.

Safety, Compliance, and Coordinated Patient Care

This content domain accounts for 32% of the exam, covering topics such as:

  • Adhering to HIPAA regulations
  • Scope of practice
  • Utilization of electronic medical records
  • Ethical standards
  • Infection control practices
  • Recognizing signs of cardiopulmonary compromise
  • Patient instruction for stress testing and ambulatory monitoring
  • Obtaining and interpreting patient vital signs

Remember that your EKG course should cover all of these content areas. However, some instructors may go more in-depth into certain topics than others. Highlight any areas that you found challenging and revisit them when you study.

EKG Acquisition

EKG acquisition makes up approximately 44% of the exam, and it covers these specific topics:

  • Preparation of skin for electrode placement
  • EKG equipment maintenance
  • Verification of machine settings
  • Positioning patients for different cardiac tests
  • Identifying and resolving artifacts
  • Assisting in monitoring patient condition during stress testing
  • Applying electrodes and leads for the various EKG tests

This section can be very helpful to review with hands-on training or visual examples. The Paramedic Coach EKG Masterclass offers hours of exclusive content reviewing all these concepts with visuals and quizzes to help build your understanding of this material.

EKG Analysis and Interpretation

The final domain, EKG Analysis and Interpretation, makes up 24% of your EKG exam. Topics in this content area include:

  • Recognizing pacemaker spikes
  • Measuring EKG intervals and waveforms
  • Determining the regularity of heart rhythms
  • Calculating your patient’s heart rate
  • Inspecting waveform characteristics
  • Identifying ischemia, injury, and infarction on EKG tracings
  • Identifying arrhythmias

This section also relies on hands-on practice and memorization. In our EKG Masterclass, we dive into the different patterns, rhythms, and waveforms you’ll see on an EKG and our tips for memorizing these patterns and their meaning.

Prepare With the Paramedic Coach Masterclass

The EKG certification exam is lengthy and thorough. To pass with a score of 80% or higher, you need to memorize these core concepts and understand how to apply them. In our EKG Masterclass, we thoroughly explore all the main content domains, providing an easy-to-understand study guide that touches on everything your accredited EKG course does.

With our Masterclass, you have exclusive access to hours of study videos, slides, presentation break-downs, and quizzes to help you gauge your progress. Don’t wait. Sign up for the Paramedic Coach EKG Masterclass today!

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