What to Expect on the EMT Exam in a Nutshell - dummies

What to Expect on the EMT Exam in a Nutshell

By Arthur Hsieh

The NREMT administers its computer adaptive testing (CAT) exams through Pearson VUE Testing Centers. Pearson VUE conducts testing for a wide variety of licenses and certifications across the world in a secure, comfortable environment.

When your application to take the exam is approved by the NREMT, you’re given a list of testing centers and their locations. You can take the test anywhere in the country, but most folks find the one closest to their home or workplace.

When you arrive at the testing center, you’re asked to provide two forms of government identification and validate your identity with an electronic palm print. You’re instructed to place all of your personal belongings in a locker; you’re not permitted to carry anything into the testing room. You’re given a small dry erase board and pen that you can use to make notes.

Other people are likely to be there with you to take different exams. At the appointed time, a proctor escorts everyone into the room and you’re directed to take a seat at a cubicle. In front of you is a computer. The proctor logs you into the computer and tells you when to begin the exam.

When the exam begins, you start by reviewing some basic information about the exam, such as the penalty for cheating and when your test results will become available. After that, the first question appears on the screen. Only one question at a time is shown to you.

Once you answer that question, you’re shown another one. You aren’t able to return to the previous question. This allows the computer to decide where your abilities lie and provide you an appropriately difficult question.

A timer is on the screen at all times. It tells you how much time is remaining on the test. It doesn’t flash or otherwise signal how much time you have left; make sure you check it every few questions to stay on time. Don’t worry too much, though; you’ll likely finish the exam before the timer runs out. You have two and a half hours to complete the exam.

The NREMT provides accommodations for certain types of reading disabilities on a case-by-case basis. If approved, additional time will be provided to you so you can adequately review each question. You need to provide this information to the NREMT well before your exam date; most people provide the documentation when they first apply to take the exam.

If you need to take a break for any reason during the exam, you can signal the room proctor. The proctor then temporarily signs you out of your test and escorts you out of the room. When you return, you need to be escorted back into the room and logged back into the computer you were working on. The time continues to run while all of this is happening.

When the computer has enough information to determine whether you pass or fail, the program immediately shuts off. A note appears on the screen indicating that the test is over. Don’t be anxious — it’s designed to do this. When you are done, you’re escorted out of the room. You can then collect your personal belongings, bid the staff a fond farewell, and leave. That’s it!