What Should I Know about Computer Adaptive Testing for the EMT Exam?

By Arthur Hsieh

Unlike a traditional paper and pencil examination, the number of questions on the NREMT EMT exam varies, roughly from 70 to 120 items per exam attempt. The actual number of questions you see depends on how well or how poorly you’re performing. How does that happen?

The NREMT EMT exam is a computer adaptive test (CAT). While you’re taking the exam, the computer you take it on constantly evaluates how you respond to each question and makes adjustments to the level of difficulty of each subsequent exam item accordingly. In other words, the NREMT exam isn’t a one-size-fits-all exam! CAT is considered much more accurate in verifying knowledge. It also makes the test appear very challenging.

However, the exam isn’t impossible to pass. According to the NREMT 2012 Annual Report, the national average first-time pass rate in 2012 was 72 percent. Some states reported first-time pass rates as high as 84 percent.

The test questions aren’t vague or confusing. They’re written in a way that mimics realistic decision-making. In real life, you don’t always have all the information you want, but you still need to make decisions about your patient’s care. Also, sometimes there’s more than one right approach, but only one of them is the best.

You have an almost three out of four chance of passing the exam on your first attempt. If you’ve been diligent in your studies and reasoned your way through the different course exams, you should be in good shape.