A few tips for passing National Registry

I recently received an e-mail asking me about study material for the National Registry exam. It has been a number of years since I tested, but I would like to share some tips I learned while studying for the test.

Written Exam

The written is probably the most stressful part of the whole thing. At least now you get your results within a day or two. I had to wait 2 weeks for my results! Anyway, on to my advice….

I used “Barron’s Nation Registry Study Guide” for pretty much all of my studying. The book comes with a bunch of practice tests that are very similar to the National Registry questions. As a matter of fact, I remember quite a bit of them being nearly the same as the questions I came across on the test. I would take the practice tests, grade them, and then highlight the areas I either missed or had to guess on. I would take notes on the subjects that I needed to brush up on and then go back and study them in my textbook. Worked like a charm. I passed on my first try!

The book is a great tool to ensure success on the first try but you need to remember a few things. The test isn’t as complicated as people make it out to be. I hear people say crap like “if you see oxygen as one of the answers, pick it”. That’s 100% BS. Go with the answer that you KNOW is correct. I also remember someone telling me “if you see mast pants as an answer, pick it”. More BS. Yes I saw a couple questions with mast pants and an option, but I know for a fact one of them was absolutely wrong. Carefully read the questions and answer accordingly.

Pay attention to the wording on the questions as some people will read the question too quick and get the answer wrong because they misunderstood. For example; if they say things like “initial treatment”, it probably refers to a BLS treatment (BLS before ALS!). If they say something like “priority treatment”, it’s probably referring to something more definitive like intubation. Read the question twice to make sure you didn’t skip over words like “not” or “don’t”.

I used to tell people to go back and read over the test and answers again to make sure they didn’t skip any questions or mark on the wrong spot. This of course changed with computer-based testing. Just remember, pick the answer you KNOW is correct.

Skills Testing

I HATED practicing for skills tests. It feels redundant and boring. Trust me it’s worth it. All those stupid things like “c-spine” and “scene safety” WILL make a difference. Practice with some other paramedic students, and some seasoned paramedics. Memorize those skills sheets. Remember your proctor will be following one while you make a fool of yourself trying to get your license.

Something to consider is what kind of people are doing your test. Do some research and find out what kind of system the proctors work in. Read up on their protocols and try to get into their mindset. Remember, what works for you may seem stupid to others. You are in their playground. Adjust accordingly. I know a bunch of people are going to e-mail me telling me that I’m stupid because regardless of their local protocols, the testing remains the same. I agree. However, they are humans and think and act like humans. They are naturally going to respond to what they are comfortable with. Run your scenario just like they would run a call in real life. Trust me, it will work wonders.

As always I welcome suggestion, comments, hate mail and questions. I hope this post can be of use to someone. Please let me know if you have any other advice to offer!

Have a great week everyone.

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