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Home > Topics > EMS Education

5 tips for passing the NREMT

Pay attention to what question is asking; study high-yield 'nooks and crannies'

By Dan Limmer
Limmer Creative

An EMT student recently emailed us at Limmer Creative after he failed the NREMT and asked for some advice. This is what we told him. Since exam season is rapidly approaching, we thought it was a good opportunity dust off and update one of our most popular topics.

  1. Determine what the question is asking. Many (or most) questions are scenario-based. They are relatively tight and have a minimum of information. Look at the question with a big-picture perspective first. Read it and absorb it. Many questions end in "you should" or "you should next."
  2. Look for signs of criticality. That affects the way you will answer the "you should..." questions. Criticality can be identified by things like altered mental status (anxiety or restlessness to unresponsive), rapid pulse, abnormal skin (cool, moist), etc. When you find signs of criticality, you may wish to choose an answer that reflects urgency as opposed to taking your time. (Note: a patient can have a rapid pulse from anxiety (not serious) to shock (serious). The question will give clues to that.
  3. Pay attention to respirations and the airway. The NREMT wants you to know this and asks about it a lot. One of the most common errors revolves around the decision to oxygenate as opposed to ventilate. If a patient is in respiratory failure (has inadequate breathing), they must be ventilated (BVM or PFM). Giving oxygen alone is wrong. Review the signs of inadequate breathing (rate, depth, mental status, etc.) to make sure you make the correct choice here. Know terms like "minute" and "volume." If you are using our product, you have seen questions like this.
  4. Know the nooks and crannies. Many people complain they did poorly because there were a lot of childbirth and GYN questions. Others blow a rule of 9s question that they should have gotten correct. Study the right stuff — where you feel weak and some high-yield nooks and crannies.
  5. Read the question well — but don't read into it. You will have enough information to make the right choice — but not a bit more. Don’t assume something which isn’t told to you in the question. Be sure to read the question carefully. For example, if a rule of nines question asks about the left leg, the answer is 18 percent... but the anterior left leg is 9 percent. One word changes that. The other big area includes the chest, abdomen and torso. The anterior chest is 9 percent; the anterior torso (chest and abdomen) is 18 percent. Don’t get items wrong on topics you know because you didn’t read the question.

Finally, take a breath and stay calm. If you get a series of tough questions, remember that some of them are questions for validation that don't count anyway. Don't get shaken. Stay focused and do well.

For more study tips on taking the NREMT, you can listen to a podcast by Dan Limmer and and Joe Mistovich. Good luck!

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Harrie Dennison Harrie Dennison Wednesday, June 06, 2012 9:18:50 AM Excellent tips!
Omarts Harasis Omarts Harasis Wednesday, June 06, 2012 9:32:13 AM For you future EMT's, this hits the idea right on the nail. Check the details but don't overthink, its pretty straight forward. Testing will be a big part of your career, should you choose to move on Medic, Nursing, Fire Service or PD, but it starts right here so get used to it. Good luck!
Danielle Mixon Danielle Mixon Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:08:09 AM Is this site for EMT-I85 also?
Greg Friese Greg Friese Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:50:02 AM Take lots of practice tests, but make sure they are questions constructed like the NREMT questions. Focus on application and comprehension practice questions rather than knowledge retention questions.
Charles Phillips Charles Phillips Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:14:49 PM Pearson, the company that administers the test and publishes the Brady textbooks, has a test preparatory web site at- and has a site for EMT's and one for Paramedics. The Paramedic site access costs $32 for a 6 month subscription and has 4- 180 question mock exams, 6- 25 question unit tests, and 6- 10 question unit quizzes. This is an excellent site for getting ready for the test and I guaged myself by being ready when I consistently scored 90% or better on the mock exams. The CBT cut me off at question #83!
Juan March Juan March Wednesday, June 06, 2012 3:42:35 PM Those were great tips. 1. Very rarely do people run out of time taking the exam. So take your time and read each questions carefully. 2. The focus of the test is to be sure that you as a paramedic can correctly care for patients. So the questions/answers are not simply regurgitating a correct dose and route, but more importantly when should that drug (dose/route) be given. Thus, lots scenario based questions. 3. Remember when you fill out the application to use the exact name from your state driver's license. If you do not have proper ID that matches exactly you will not be allowed to take the exam.
John Patrick Careccia John Patrick Careccia Thursday, June 07, 2012 1:12:11 AM This is good advice. Remember not to agonize over an answer. Move on to the next question, don't waste time trying too hard. Many times the answer will jump out at you, other times you will have to get it by process of elimination. Usually 2 answers are way off, one is close and one is possible. Go with your gut. As you move on you might uncover answers to previous questions. Remember, read the question carefully, Twice. The answer is in the question. Don't Read into the question. Good luck.
Carmelo Rodriguez Torres Carmelo Rodriguez Torres Saturday, June 09, 2012 8:54:13 PM thks
Nathan Barnett Nathan Barnett Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:15:33 PM do you have the website for that man that link isnt working for me ? im doing the EMS test this coming up week and it would be great to see how this website could help out
Charles Phillips Charles Phillips Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:13:21 PM I mistyped the link! It is Sorry! Good luck!
Donna Graham Hammond Donna Graham Hammond Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:25:57 PM Great!
Lynnda Blaze Blazedelle Lynnda Blaze Blazedelle Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:21:59 PM I have been getting pretty much the same advice... It is good! I take my Class Final Thursday. NREMT sign up right after that.
Lynnda Blaze Blazedelle Lynnda Blaze Blazedelle Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:23:09 PM THANK YOU!!!
Reem Uptown Reem Uptown Wednesday, May 07, 2014 12:29:20 PM Good Tips, I Take My NREMT Exam In Two Weeks! Great Advise
Scott Timoszyk Scott Timoszyk Sunday, June 01, 2014 7:12:21 PM can you still pass the NREMT if you answer all the 120 questions?
Miguel Angel Rodriguez Miguel Angel Rodriguez Friday, August 08, 2014 10:17:46 AM I need help passing it plz any tips
Joseph Alcala Joseph Alcala Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:12:00 AM Great tips! Definitely using them

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