To be eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam for Medical First Responder (MFR) you must complete a course that is state certified. Once you receive a course completion certificate most instructors will provide you with all the required information you need to complete your NREMT application and schedule your cognitive exam.

The NREMT exam is computer based and uses Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT), which means the exam is tailored to each candidate's skill level. You will be tested with increasingly difficult questions; when the computer is 95-percent confident that you have the required level of competency for the job, it will stop the test. Because of this, you must answer every question to the best of your ability --- you cannot skip answers, go back to change answers or squeak by getting a minimum overall number of questions correct.

Review scene safety requirements and proper Body Substance Isolation (BSI).

Focus your studies on the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation. Also review the rates for CPR on different patients with one rescuer and two.

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Spend several study sessions reviewing airway topics. Make sure you know all the different methods for opening a patient's airway --- for example, when to use the hand-tilt-chin-lift method and when to use the jaw-thrust method. Don't forget to review the techniques as applied to adults, children and infants.

When you have the airway topics down cold, move on to breathing topics. Make sure you know the normal breath-rate ranges for adults, adolescents, children, toddlers and infants. Understand the different types of breathing --- labored breathing, wheezing, and so on --- and which conditions they might indicate.

After mastering breathing topics, focus on circulation topics, including the normal blood pressure ranges for each patient class listed above and the most commonly used pulse locations and their official names.

Make a cheat sheet for all of the above, especially the ABCs. Copy this cheat sheet over and over and try to make it fit on one side of an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch piece of paper. Why? You will be given a dry-erase board at the start of your exam that you can write on. Once you start the test, copy the cheat sheet from memory onto the dry-erase board. Then, when you have a question that is about the ABCs, check your sheet for the normal ranges and answer the question.

Take a few practice tests to feel more confident. As with most exams, one of the more difficult aspects of the NREMT is the confusing wording of the questions. You might spend more time on figuring out what you're being asked than on determining the correct answer. Practice tests will help you get used to the NREMT's style, so you'll be less likely to be thrown off your game. Several websites offer free online sample tests along with more extensive software packages.


  • You must take your NREMT exam within two years of completing your Medical First Responder course.

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