One of the biggest pieces of advice given for the NREMT (or any exam for that matter) is “Don’t read into the questions.” It is solid advice—yet many students don’t totally understand its meaning.

NREMT questions are usually of a different style and depth than given in class. You aren’t given all the information you want—or are used to—and your natural instinct is to look for more. But how much is too much?

If you find yourself frequently thinking one or more of the following things, you may be reading into the question:

What if… 

It could be…

It might…

I thought…

I wonder if…

Examples of these thoughts might be “What if he has allergies?” when an option to give a medication is present or “I wonder what her pulse oximetry is?” around an oxygen administration scenario. The NREMT believes there is enough material in the question for you to come to an answer. Don’t confuse the issue by adding considerations you can’t reliably answer.

This is not to say that there aren’t times when you have to interpret material in a question and come to a conclusion. The answers certainly aren’t handed to you. The difference between coming to a logical conclusion and reading into a question is based on using the material that is given to you versus making up alternative scenarios in your head.

Rather than looking for things that may or may not be present in a question, it is best to use what is there and make conclusions from facts. Our blog post with the four-step approach to analyzing NREMT scenario questions will help you navigate questions and look for the right information.

Do you have any examples of reading into a question?

The idea for this post came from a conversation with Bob Preshong, an educator in the Army EMT training program at JBSA in Texas. Thanks, Bob!