Why Do Students Pass Their EMT Course But Not Take the NREMT Exam?

TestingAs the exam season approaches, Stephanie and I have been talking to a lot of educators. A new topic has emerged in many of these conversations: Students are passing their EMT class but not taking the NREMT exam.

While I can only report this anecdotally, I will say that I have heard this from a variety of programs (high school, college and community-based) as well as from at least four different states. Not only are students skipping the NREMT altogether, the same educators report that students who fail on the first attempt are less likely to retest than in the past.

In an anecdotal observation one can only speculate on the cause. I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to get students through to the end.

  • Stress the importance of follow-through to the end.
  • Note that chance of success drops if students wait too long. Encourage students to get ‘er done early.
  • Use the test as a motivator—not a de-motivator. Some reference to the challenging nature of the NREMT exam is good. Too much creates an artificial block to feeling confident in succeeding at the exam.
  • Plan on sending out an email at the 14-day and 30-day points after class is over.
  • Offer a review session for your students and direct them to high quality study materials

Teaching your class with a critical thinking approach may be the most important thing you can do.

The belief that “teaching to the test” involves having students memorize facts is just plain wrong. When we teach things as concrete concepts rather than thinking guidelines students are more likely to fail—and more likely to have their brain fry at the Pearson Vue center when they see some of those NREMT-style questions for the first time.

Extend your success past the classroom to the NREMT and practice. Both you and your students work hard to get through the course. Get the big reward at the end.

Are your students taking the NREMT or letting it go? Why? Let us know in the comments below.