Success on a big test like the National Registry isn’t random. It doesn’t happen on accident. There are a number of things that you can do to increase your chances of success dramatically. Here are six.
1. Know your time frame
Go to the National Registry’s website right now. Create your account and figure out when your test date will be. Having an actual date in the future makes the test much more real. Once your name is on a schedule to actually show up and attend a test, the idea of becoming a Nationally Registered EMT moves from the theoretical to the actual. At that moment it becomes a real event that will bring success or failure.
Having a test date also allows you to put your studying into perspective. Time becomes finite and you can begin the next critical step.
2. Have a plan
Once you know your test date, it’s time to sit down and actually make a plan for what you are going to study and when you are going to study. Very few students who study for the Registry take the time to make a formal study plan. Very few students who make a formal plan fail the test. Very few students that fail the test have a formal study plan. You see my point right?
Factor everything into your plan. What subjects do you want to cover? When will you study your notes? When will you make flashcards? When will you practice your skills? When will you rest? If you take the extra time in the beginning to decide when you should be studying each subject, you’ll know from day one if you are on track or not. A plan allows you to hold yourself accountable.
3. Know your knowledge weaknesses
You can just attack a body of knowledge as large as the EMT curriculum without some sort of idea where to begin. I recommend dividing the EMT curriculum up into the same six major subjects that the National Registry divides their questions. If you do that, you’ll be able to compare your study time with your actual test results. If you do fail the exam the first time, you’ll be able to accurately compare your study plan to your test results.
Once you have your study material divided up, rank your knowledge in each category. You can do this subjectively or you can use study tools like The National Registry Study Guide to more accurately gauge where your knowledge weaknesses exist. Focus your study time on your knowledge weaknesses.
4. Do the work
This is the hard part for most folks. People who fail a big EMT test tend to blame all sorts of external reasons. The questions were worded strangely. The content was unfair. The test didn’t represent “real-world” EMT knowledge. The truth of the matter is, most folks who don’t pass the test just didn’t do the work.
Finding information and resources to help you study is relatively easy. Making a plan and scheduling a test date is easy. Doing the work is hard. If you’re going to be a good EMT, there are no shortcuts. You’re going to need to sit down and do the work. Nobody can do it for you. (And if they could, the success would be meaningless.) Buckle down, stop reading the internet and do the work.
5. Practice, practice and practice
The key difference between the just-good individuals and the virtuosos is practice. Practice is where you make the jump from good to great. You can’t do a medical assessment skill once and decide that you’re ready to be an EMT. You need to practice. Do the skill. Do it again. Then do it again. Your sheer tolerance for practice may be the greatest predictor of your success than anything else.
This doesn’t just apply to the National Registry test. This applies to anything.
6. Be prepared for testing day
A ridiculous number of students go home from the testing center without ever being allowed to take the test because they were unprepared for the process. They may have showed up at the wrong time or they may have failed to bring two pieces of identification, but they failed to meet some simple testing requirement and they were sent home.
The testing center is going to send you a letter and that letter will contain all the details about your testing time and date, what to bring, what to wear and what to leave at home. Follow those instructions to the letter. Know exactly how to get to the testing center. Know multiple routes. Know the traffic patterns that you’ll encounter on the day and time of your test. Don’t get sent home without being able to test because of some silly rule that you didn’t expect.
This will also make your testing day much less stressful.
Let’s face it, come testing day, you don’t want to have to focus on anything except going down to the testing center and proving yourself worthy of National Registry certification. Follow these six tips and you’ll be well on your way.