Saturday, October 15, 2011

NREMT-I Written Exam

This post has been a long time in coming. I took the Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate course  from October  2010 to March 2011.  Once I passed the class I took and passed my National Registry practical (hands on) exam. I posted about that back in April .

So I was on a roll and apparently over confident. I scheduled myself for the written test in April but I didn't bother to study. My first attempt at this test was a dismal failure I failed to achieve a passing score on any of the 5 sections. This was a wake up call, I can literally count on one hand how many exams I have not passed in my life. Well ,plus 1one.

So I procrastinated a bit and then scheduled another try in July. I studied but due to the fact that failure was unfamiliar to me I apparently suck at that as well. I failed again because I did not pass 2 out of the 5 sections. This test was becoming Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab.

Meanwhile I had a chance to attend the Advanced EMT course at no cost, so I jumped on it. I figured if I eventually passed the Intermediate test it would be an easy bridge to AEMT and if I didn't then I would go directly to Advanced EMT. So the Intermediate test was put on the back burner. That is until I discovered that if I passed the test I would not be required to complete all the clinicals for AEMT. This was huge as time is almost more precious than money to me. It would also save me from being required to take 2 days of vacition to get some of the clinicals done.

So in October I once again scheduled myself for the written test. This was my third and final chance. If I failed it this time I would be required to finish all the clinical time as well as I would have to attend a 36 hour refresher course before being allowed to attempt the test for a 4th time. Lots was riding on this. Two days before the test I studied harder than I had studied for any test lately to include all the tests i took during my graduate studies.

The night before the test I was working an overnight shift at one of the ambulance services I run with. Although it was a quiet night I didn't get much shut eye. So I was anything but well rested the next morning. I showed up to the testing location for my test and started the check in procedure. These testing locations are tighter than Ft Knox. You have to check in with two goverment issued picture ID, then they take a biometric palm scan and your picture.. You have to empty all your pockets, take off all watches and bracelets. This stuff gets locked in a locker. Then you have to walk down a hallway and check in to the actual testing room. They take another palm print and verify your ID again. They have you turn out your pockets to prove they are empty and they give you any test materials or note taking items you may be allowed to have. Each individual computer has its own individual pan tilt zoom camera looking down on your testing cubicle.

The National Registry tests are "adaptive", which means it starts out hard then keeps asking you questions based on the previous level you answered until it is satisfied you know the material. It could stop at 65 questions or go to 135. It's a crap shoot, also even though I had taken the test 2 other times it was not like taking the same test 3 times, it was like taking 3 different tests.

Well I started answering questions and as before, some I knew for sure and some I thought I knew and some I had no idea. I mean who needs to know if an ambulance with a detached cab is a type II or III? The question count kept climbing and eventually I got to the maximum of 135 and the test shut off. This could mean good news or bad news, I did not walk out to the test facility with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I had no idea how I did.

For the rest of the day I was afraid to check the NREMT website to see if  the results were posted. Finally about 1400 I pulled the website up and held my breath as I entered my name. Low and behold the words congratulations and successful were attached to my name. Well I was on cloud nine, my attention span was short for the rest of the day to say the least. I had killed Moby Dick!!!

So mission accomplished and now my focus has shifted to passing the AEMT course and National Registry in December. Stay tuned for updates.


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  2. An ambulance with a detached cab is a Type I, everyone knows that. No wonder you failed.;)

    Which goes to prove what I've said many times, the NREMT tests are a joke. Then again most EMT exams are a joke.

    That aside, and I should have put this first, congratulations on passing. Because joke or not, these tests are nerve wracking. I've been in EMS for over 30 years and I still get nervous every time I take a test even though I never fail them.

    Strange, isn't it?