Test Preparation System for The Paramedic Certification Exam (page 2)
First the bad news: Taking the EMT-Paramedic exam is no easy feat, and neither is getting ready for it. Your future career as a paramedic depends on your passing the exam, but there are all sorts of pitfalls that can keep you from doing your best. Here are some of the obstacles that can stand in the way of your success:
- Being unfamiliar with the format of the exam
- Being paralyzed by test anxiety
- Leaving your preparation to the last minute
- Not preparing at all!
- Not knowing vital test- taking skills: how to pace yourself through the exam, how to use the process of elimination, and when to guess
- Not being in tip- top mental and physical shape
- Arriving late at the test site, having to work on an empty stomach, or shivering through the exam because the room is cold
What’s the common denominator in all these test-taking pitfalls? One word: control. Who’s in control, you or the exam?
Now the good news: The LearningExpress Test Preparation System puts you in control. In just nine easy- to- follow steps, you will learn everything you need to know to make sure that you are in charge of your preparation and your performance on the exam. Other testtakers may let the test get the better of them; other testtakers may be unprepared or out of shape, but not you. You will have taken all the steps you need to take to succeed on the EMT-Paramedic exam.
Here’s how the LearningExpress Test Preparation System works: Nine easy steps lead you through everything you need to know and do to get ready to master your exam. Each of the steps includes both reading about the step and one or more activities. It’s important that you do the activities along with the reading, or you won’t get the full benefit of the system. Each step tells you approximately how much time that step will take you to complete.
We estimate that working through the entire system will take you approximately three hours, though it’s perfectly okay if you work more quickly or slowly than the time estimates assume. If you can take a whole afternoon or evening, you can work through the whole LearningExpress Test Preparation System in one sitting. Otherwise, you can break it up and do just one or two steps a day for the next several days. It’s up to you—remember, you’re in control.
Step 1: Get Information
The first step in the Learning- Express Test Preparation System is finding out everything you can about the EMT-Paramedic exam. Once you have your information, the next steps in the LearningExpress Test Preparation System will show you what to do with it.
Part A: Straight Talk about the EMT-Paramedic Exam
Why do you have to take this exam, anyway? Simply put, because lives depend on your performance in the field. The EMT-Paramedic cognitive exam is just one part of a whole series of evaluations you have to go through to show that you can be trusted with the health and safety of the people you serve. The cognitive exam attempts to measure your knowledge of your trade. The practical skills exam attempts to measure your ability to apply what you know.
It’s important for you to remember that your score on the EMT-Paramedic cognitive exam does not determine how smart you are or even whether you will make a good paramedic. There are all kinds of things an exam like this can’t test: whether you are likely to show up late or call in sick a lot, whether you can keep your cool under the stress of trying to revive a victim of cardiac arrest, whether you can be trusted with confidential information about people’s health. Those kinds of things are hard to evaluate, while whether you can click on the right answer is easy to evaluate.
This is not to say that clicking on the right answer is not important! The knowledge tested on the cognitive exam is knowledge you will need to do your job. And your ability to enter the profession you’ve trained for depends on your passing this exam. And that’s why you’re here—using the LearningExpress Test Preparation System to achieve control over the exam.
Step 2: Conquer Test Anxiety
Overcome one of the biggest obstacles to test success: anxiety! Test anxiety can not only impair your performance on the exam itself, but it can even keep you from preparing! In Step 2, you’ll learn stress-management techniques that will help you succeed on your exam. Learn these strategies now and practice them as you work through the exams in this book, so they’ll be second nature to you by exam day.
Combating Test Anxiety
The first thing you need to know is that a little test anxiety is a good thing. Everyone gets nervous before a big exam—and if that nervousness motivates you to prepare thoroughly, so much the better. It’s said that Sir Laurence Olivier, one of the foremost British actors of last century, was ill before every performance. His stage fright didn’t impair his performance; in fact, it probably gave him a little extra edge—just the kind of edge you need to do well, whether on a stage or in an examination room.
Stress Management before the Test
If you feel your level of anxiety getting the best of you in the weeks before the test, here is what you need to do to bring the level down again:
- Get prepared. There’s nothing like knowing what to expect and being prepared for it to put you in control of test anxiety. That’s why you’re reading this book. Use it faithfully, and remind yourself that you’re better prepared than most of the people taking the test.
- Practice self- confidence. A positive attitude is a great way to combat test anxiety. This is no time to be humble or shy. Stand in front of the mirror and say to your reflection, “I’m prepared. I’m full of self- confidence. I’m going to ace this test. I know I can do it.” Say it into a tape recorder and play it back once a day. If you hear it often enough, you’ll believe it.
- Fight negative messages. Every time someone starts telling you how hard the exam is or how it’s almost impossible to get a high score, start telling them your self- confidence messages. If that someone is you, telling yourself you don’t do well on exams, you just can’t do this, don’t listen. Turn on your tape recorder and listen to your self- confidence messages.
- Visualize. Imagine yourself reporting for duty on your first day as a paramedic. Think of yourself responding to calls, interacting with patients, preserving health, and saving lives. Visualizing success can help make it happen— and it reminds you of why you’re doing all this work preparing for the exam.
- Exercise. Physical activity helps calm your body down and focus your mind. Besides, being in good physical shape can actually help you do well on the exam. Go for a run, lift weights, go swimming—and do it regularly.
Stress Management on Test Day
Several techniques can bring down your level of anxiety on test day. They’ll work best if you practice them in the weeks before the test, so you know which ones work best for you.
- Deep breathing. Take a deep breath while you count to five. Hold it for a count of one, then let it out on a count of five. Repeat several times.
- Move your body. Try rolling your head in a circle. Rotate your shoulders. Shake your hands from the wrist. Many people find these movements very relaxing.
- Visualize again. Think of the place where you are most relaxed: lying on the beach in the sun, walking through the park, or whatever. Now close your eyes and imagine you’re actually there. If you practice in advance, you’ll find that you only need a few seconds of this exercise to experience a significant increase in your sense of well- being.
When anxiety threatens to overwhelm you in the middle of the exam, there are additional things you can do to manage the stress level:
- Repeat your self- confidence messages. You should have them memorized by now. Say them quietly to yourself, and believe them!
- Visualize one more time. This time, visualize yourself moving smoothly and quickly through the test, answering every question correctly, and finishing just before time is up. Like most visualization techniques, this one works best if you’ve practiced it ahead of time.
- Find an easy question. Skim over the test until you find an easy question, and answer it. Filling in even one circle gets you into the test- taking groove.
- Take a mental break. Everyone loses concentration once in a while during a long test. It’s normal, so you shouldn’t worry about it. Instead, accept what has happened. Say to yourself, “Hey, I lost it there for a minute. My brain is taking a break.” Close your eyes and do some deep breathing for a few seconds. Then you’re ready to go back to work.
Try these techniques ahead of time, and watch them work for you!
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