EMT Exam Sample Questions and Answers

By Arthur Hsieh

Before taking the EMT exam, you should always prepare with one or more practice exams. This will help you understand the format and find any gaps in knowledge before test day.

Sample questions

Directions: Choose the best answer to each question. Mark the corresponding oval on the answer sheet.

  1. Your patient is fully immobilized on a backboard when he starts to vomit into his airway. You should

    • (A)suction the airway with a portable suction unit.

    • (B)ventilate the patient with 100 percent oxygen.

    • (C)unstrap the patient and roll him on his side.

    • (D)roll the backboard, and the patient, on its side.

  2. You are assessing the airway of a patient you are about to ventilate with a bag-valve mask. She has dentures, which are firmly in place. You should

    • (A)remove the upper denture.

    • (B)remove the lower denture.

    • (C)remove both the upper and lower dentures.

    • (D)leave the dentures in place.

  3. A 7-year-old presents conscious with a partial foreign body airway obstruction. She suddenly becomes unresponsive. You should

    • (A)administer 30 chest compressions.

    • (B)perform five back blows (slaps).

    • (C)check a pulse.

    • (D)deliver abdominal thrusts.

  4. A 12-year-old male presents in respiratory arrest after falling off a second-floor balcony. You note a large contusion to his forehead, and he has a heart rate of 62. You should first

    • (A)determine his blood pressure.

    • (B)perform full spinal immobilization.

    • (C)ventilate with a bag-valve mask.

    • (D)administer chest compressions.

  5. Your patient presents with altered mental status, an oxygen saturation level (SpO2) of 71 percent on room air, and labored, shallow breathing at a rate of 24 times a minute. You should

    • (A)take cervical spine precautions and administer high-flow oxygen.

    • (B)give one breath every 5 seconds with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) unit.

    • (C)match his respiratory rate and assist ventilations with a bag-valve mask.

    • (D)administer oral glucose with a tongue depressor, and administer low-flow oxygen.

  6. You are ventilating an unconscious, apneic patient experiencing a severe asthma attack. Your rate is 20 breaths per minute and oxygen is flowing at 15 liters per minute (LPM). You note that his chest is increasingly distended, and it’s getting harder to ventilate. You should

    • (A)decrease the oxygen flow rate to 5 LPM.

    • (B)decrease the ventilation rate to 12 per minute.

    • (C)suction the airway.

    • (D)assist the patient with administration of his metered-dose inhaler.

  7. Which of the following is the best indicator that ventilation with a bag-valve mask is correcting hypoxia?

    • (A)Normal chest rise and fall

    • (B)Ventilation rate of 12 per minute

    • (C)Increasing SpO2 (oxygen saturation level)

    • (D)Pulse of 88/minute and regular

  8. A 22-year-old female with a history of asthma presents with dyspnea. She is alert, her respiratory rate is 20 and deep, and her skin is cool and moist with peripheral cyanosis. You auscultate wheezes in all lung fields. She has her prescribed albuterol metered-dose inhaler. You should first

    • (A)administer oxygen via nasal cannula.

    • (B)assist the patient with her metered-dose inhaler.

    • (C)administer oxygen via a nonrebreather mask.

    • (D)cover her with a blanket.

  9. A 34-year-old female presents conscious and alert, complaining of difficulty breathing. You note a respiratory rate of 22 per minute with deep tidal volume, and her skin is cool, pale,and diaphoretic. You should immediately

    • (A)insert an oropharyngeal airway.

    • (B)suction her airway.

    • (C)assist ventilations with a bag-valve mask.

    • (D)administer oxygen via a nonrebreather mask.

  10. A 64-year-old female with a history of congestive heart failure has a sudden onset of shortness of breath. She is alert, with rapid and deep respirations and cool, pale, and diaphoretic skin. You auscultate rales (crackles) bilaterally. You should

    • (A)administer continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

    • (B)administer oxygen via nasal cannula.

    • (C)administer oxygen via a nonrebreather mask.

    • (D)determine the patient’s blood pressure.

Answers and explanations

  1. D. The most immediate way to clear the airway is to roll the patient, on the backboard, onto his side.

  2. D. Leaving the dentures in place creates a firm surface to press the bag-valve mask against, helping to create a better mask seal.

  3. A. Abdominal thrusts, Choice (D), are not used in pediatric patients with a foreign body airway obstruction because you may harm relatively unprotected organs. Back blows, Choice (B), should not be performed on a 7-year-old because they delay chest compressions. A pulse should not be checked, as Choice (C) suggests, until the foreign body airway obstruction has been removed.

  4. C. Chest compressions, Choice (D), are not indicated in a pediatric patient with a heart rate of 62. Blood pressure determination, Choice (A), and full spinal immobilization, Choice (B), will both be performed, but not until after ventilations have been provided.

  5. C. Cervical spine precautions, Choice (A), are not necessary as there is no indication of cervical spine injury. Choice (B) would be correct if the patient were in respiratory arrest. Oral glucose, Choice (D), may be indicated, but the patient’s hypoxia should be corrected first because the chances of harm are far greater from a lack of oxygen.

  6. B. Decreasing the oxygen flow rate, Choice (A), or suctioning the airway, Choice (C), won’t decrease the air trapping that is happening in this patient with bronchospasm. The patient is unconscious and in respiratory arrest, both of which are contraindications for assisting with his metered-dose inhaler, Choice (D).

  7. C. None of the other choices are indications that hypoxia is being corrected.

  8. B. Assisting the patient with the administration of her bronchodilator will correct the underlying problem (bronchospasm) better than the other options.

  9. D. Choices (A), (B), and (C) are not indicated because there is no gurgling, snoring, or inadequate ventilation, respectively.

  10. A. CPAP will help push the fluid in the patient’s lungs across the alveolar-capillary membrane as well as deliver oxygen. It will better correct the underlying problem.