How to Get Ready for an EMT Exam Preparation Course - dummies

How to Get Ready for an EMT Exam Preparation Course

By Arthur Hsieh

If you haven’t been to a classroom in a while, the prospect of formal learning may intimidate you. Don’t worry — EMT education is very interactive and interesting, and it’ll be what you make of it. Be prepared to have fun and be challenged!

On one hand, you get to discover how to do things such as administer oxygen, immobilize patients using long backboards, perform CPR, operate an automated external defibrillator (AED), and manage chaotic emergency scenes. On the other hand, you have to get a handle on basic anatomy and physiology, plus a few complex concepts related to serious medical conditions such as shock, anaphylaxis, and diabetes.

A good rule of thumb is to set aside one to two hours of study time for each hour of instruction. For example, if the course meets six hours a week, plan to spend another six to twelve hours either reading, studying in groups, or practicing skills.

Create a study schedule that’s realistic and maximizes your learning. Maybe you can only spend an hour a day or two hours every other day studying. That’s fine, as long as you commit to focusing on your learning during those time periods. It’s better to be totally focused for one hour than to sit in front of your books for three hours while being distracted by television or social media.


In this sample, 16 hours of study time are set aside for 13 hours of classroom instruction. Free time is also set aside each day, as well as an evening off, to allow your brain to rest and recharge. Your schedule will probably be different, but the point is the same: Creating a schedule can help you stay on track and avoid falling behind in your studies.

After you make your schedule, follow it religiously. Consider it as important as being on time for work, having dinner, or going to bed. You may need to give up some time with family and friends, or even reduce your work hours while attending the course. Whatever your sacrifice, know that it will be short-lived!

Create a positive study environment. Have a place in your home where you can minimize outside distractions. Have a good task light to read with and a table with a comfortable but supportive chair. (Beds and couches are more conducive to napping than studying.)

If you can’t make the space at home, look for other places where you can study. The campus or public library is one place. A nearby coffee shop is a favorite spot for many students, but you’ll want to know whether the shop charges for Internet access or requires minimum purchases for “parking” to study.

Speaking of Internet access, many courses use online resources to supplement what’s taught in the classroom. If that’s true of the course you’re taking, you’ll need to have reliable access to the web. A tablet may be adequate, but a smartphone may be too small to view the videos or readings that may be required. Check with the instructor before the course begins regarding the technology requirements.

Understand how you learn! For example, you may not be a strong textbook reader, but instead, you may pick up a lot of information from listening to someone talk about the subject matter. You may benefit from recording the instructor’s lectures and playing them back when you’re in the car or at home. Several different learning-style assessments are free to use online.