Strategies to Pass Your EMT/Paramedic Exam

12 September 2021
Chief Brent Collins, President,

Strategies to pass your EMT/Paramedic exam

  • Put the time in. Push everything else in your life aside and make this your priority.  You can’t think you can put in little bits of time into study and it will all add up.  The goal is to first pass your EMT exam and then get your paramedic certification.  This will put you in the best position to be hired.
  • Study groups. Make sure you pick the right partners.  Don’t pick someone who wants to sit back, not participate, and just mooch answers off you and others.  Pick people who are serious about becoming an EMT or paramedic.
  • On the practical evolutions in class, make sure you are the first one to volunteer. Or, if they ask if you understand and you don’t, don’t sit back.  Step up and practice it again.  When you are done with that class, you’ll never see 90% of those people again.  Don’t let a little embarrassment keep you from learning that skill.
  • Buy the study guides. They are typically cheap and there are hundreds of questions for each exam. They are typically updated for the most current EMT and paramedic exams.  It’s worth the small investment to help you pass the exam.
  • If you miss questions on the practice exams, whether it’s in class or with your at-home practice exams, go back to your books, highlight those areas and star them.
  • If you aren’t sure of an answer on your practice exam but find you answered it correctly, put an X next to that question. Just because you guessed right doesn’t mean you know that material.
  • Some of the things you need to memorize are pretty intense – heartrates, arrythmia, medical symptoms, etc.  Put the information on flashcards.  By the time you are done, you may have hundreds of flashcards to study from.
  • One key point about flashcards – if you’ve gone through them a few times and you feel you know the material on some, put those aside and concentrate your time on the more difficult ones. But when you are doing your final studying before the exam, make sure you go through all of the flashcards.  You need to be prepared for all aspects of the exam.
  • Talk to individuals who have recently passed the exam. They may have some insight or some new questions that you need to know.
  • Before you go into the exam, review our guessing strategies and test anxiety blog posts.
  • If you fail, they will tell you which sections you didn’t pass. Those are obviously the sections you need to go back and concentrate on.  However, if the passing grade is 80% and you failed one with a 75% and passed another with an 81%, don’t feel confident that you’ll pass that subject the next time.  You barely passed that one and you need to put more time in that subject as well.
  • Don’t get discouraged – especially with the paramedic exam. These days, it typically takes 2-4 times for an individual to pass this exam.  They make them tough because they are trying to make sure you are qualified to be a paramedic.
  • Finally, it always comes down to how bad you want it. How bad do you want to become a firefighter?  How much time are you willing to put in?  How much are you willing to sacrifice?  It’s the best job in the world and it starts with becoming an EMT and a paramedic.