10 tips to prepare for a multiple choice EMS exam

Updated March 12, 2015

Use these tips and practice to become a better test taker

1. Which of the following is the best way to prepare for a multiple choice exam?

a. Not complete required reading assignments
b. Sleep, text, and daydream during class
c. Refuse to ask my instructor questions
d. Answer lots of practice exam questions

If you have a multiple choice exam in a few minutes, these tips are probably too late, but try some of these tips as you prepare for your next multiple choice exam.

1. Get up front

Sit in the first or second row of class. Students that sit near the front get better grades.

2. Be present physically and mentally

Attend, listen, and participate during class.

3. Do the work

Complete textbook reading and workbook assignments.

4. Practice, practice, practice

Do as many practice tests and quizzes as you can. Like most things, test taking is a learned skill. The more you do it, the better you will be.

5. Understand item writing

Learn how test questions are constructed. Components include a stem, distracters, correct answers, and incorrect answers

6. Handwrite notes

Write notes as you read each text chapter.

7. Review early and often

Review the course, lesson, or chapter objectives and write down anticipated questions for each objective. Then make sure you know the answers.

8. Learn the right stuff

Assess what is most important. If your instructor asks you to read about shock, lectures about shock, and assigns patient case studies about shock, there will be test questions about shock.

9. Use the pomodoro method

Break your studying into manageable chunks. Focus on only studying for 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Then take a short break to text, email, or snack. Then set the timer for another focused study session.

10. Sleep more and eat better

Get a good night's sleep the day before the test and have a healthy snack just before the test.

Finally, check if your school or training center has an academic support center. Schedule a meeting with an academic support center advisor at your school to discuss test taking strategies and methods to manage and minimize test taking anxiety.

Share your suggestions for preparing for multiple choice exam questions in the comments area. What works well for computer based tests?

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of EMS1.com. He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.

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