How to Pass the NREMT Cognitive Exam

The key to passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians’ (NREMT) cognitive exam is all in your NREMT test prep, which should include knowing what the five content areas of the exam are, reviewing that specific material, revisiting areas that still feel unclear, and taking practice tests.

What to Expect From the Exam

The cognitive (knowledge) exam exists to test whether or not you have an entry-level understanding of the exam’s five content areas. But how does the NREMT exam work? If you are taking the NREMT cognitive exam for emergency medical responders (EMRs), emergency medical technicians (EMTs), or paramedics, your exam will be a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). 

The number of questions fluctuates with CAT exams. Why? The computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions presented to you depending on your previous answers. If you need help answering more challenging questions, your following questions will be easier until you demonstrate an entry-level competency for your desired role. If you answer difficult questions correctly, the exam will ask you a few questions because you have demonstrated sufficient understanding.

But where do you take the NREMT? Your testing site location will depend on the state and city you are in, and your instructor for your course should have more information regarding testing sites, dates, times, and where to sign up.

Study Tips for Passing the Knowledge Exam

The NREMT’s first-time pass rate ranges between 64% and 69%, depending on the certification you want to earn. This is because the NREMT’s cognitive exam is no ordinary exam. Rather than testing how well you’ve memorized concepts and terms, the exam tests you on your real-life application of that information. It doesn’t ask you to define terms‒it throws terms at you in scenarios where you’re on the job and helping patients.

To increase your chances of passing the exam on the first try, here’s what you can do:

Know What’s on the Exam

The cognitive exam is divided into five content areas:

  • Airway, respiration, and ventilation (18% to 22%)
  • Cardiology and resuscitation (20% to 24%)
  • Trauma (14% to 18%)
  • Medical; obstetrics and gynecology (27% to 31%)
  • Emergency medical services (EMS) operations (10% to 14%)

The percentages listed above are for the EMT level. For AEMT, paramedic, and emergency medical responder exams, the percentages differ by 1% to 2% in every category. The first four content areas have a content distribution of 85% adult-patient questions and 15% pediatric-patient questions. Some questions are multiple-choice with only one correct answer, whereas some you must select multiple correct answers, which they will note in the exam.

Review the Material

You don’t need to reread your entire textbook cover-to-cover to prepare, but give the material a general once-over, checking your progress with the Video Vault’s thirteen different worksheets and knowledge check quizzes.

Revisit Challenging Concepts

Were certain areas a little fuzzy, or did you score low on certain quizzes? Make a note of which review questions you answered incorrectly or questions where you felt like you guessed the answer. Now, review them in one of our Video Vault’s content review videos or audio files to break down those concepts in a way that’s easy to understand.

Take Practice Tests

The Video Vault now includes more than 2,000 NREMT practice questions for you to test your knowledge. Practice tests are essential for maximizing your studying abilities, giving you real experience with the types of questions you’ll see on exam day. Take a deep breath, set a timer, and get to work.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve finished your practice test, check your answers. Just like when reviewing your quiz answers, you now have a better idea of how your knowledge stacks up against the exam. Highlight areas where you guessed or answered incorrectly, and begin the review process again, but only focus on those particular concepts until you feel confident in understanding them.

The Video Vault Is Your Key to Success

Test prep can feel overwhelming and competitive–but it doesn’t have to be. For just $147, you can have unlimited, lifetime access to the Paramedic Coach’s Video Vault‒an exclusive study tool and community for EMS professionals to pool resources and review material with actual professionals in the field. Check out our resources today!

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