7 Expert Tips to Pass the NREMT Psychomotor Exam
1. Stand out from the herd.
When you walk up to each NREMT psychomotor skill test, it’s a good idea to be friendly and introduce yourself to the proctor.
The proctor may have tested many candidates before it’s your turn. Present yourself as a person and not just another drone coming through for testing.
Make eye contact, say hello, and be friendly. You can even ask if they are having a good day if you want.
The idea is to take a moment and connect as a human being, so the instructor can really see who you are.
2. Remember the basics.
Remember for each station, you will be expected to determine scene safety and body substance isolation (BSI).
This reflects the need for BSI and scene safety for every call an Emergency Medical Technician gets sent on while on duty. For the NREMT psychomotor exam at the Basic EMT training level you are only required to verbalize scene safety and BSI at the beginning of testing.
An example is to state:
Checking that scene is safe and using proper BSI.
Scene safety and BSI are frequently on the Critical Criteria and forgetting to address either one will result in an automatic skill fail.
3. Ask for updated vitals as needed.
When you get tested at the Patient Assessment Trauma and Medical Stations, it’s easy to get stressed out and lose your train of thought.
If you feel stuck or become unsure of what to do next, you can ask for patient vital signs.
It not only gives you information to help determine the next step, but it also will make the proctor look at their paper which can give you a moment to figure things out.
Don’t forget that the proctor provides the majority of information during these patient assessment skill tests (at the Basic EMT training level.)
For example, you don’t check if the patients pupils are PEARL. You ask the proctor:
I’m checking the eyes, are the patients pupils PEARL?
Use this to your advantage if you get stuck. Ask assessment questions until you can get yourself back on track and into your primary/secondary survey.
4. Study the NREMT skill sheets.
It’s important to know the exact 10 skills you will be tested for at the NREMT psychomotor exam. (For information about each skill and directions to find them on the NREMT site see our NREMT Exam page.)
Once you have become familiar with the Basic EMT skills being tested, you should print out the skill sheets and bring them with you for skill practice.
Make sure you have the correct and latest skill sheets which can be found at the National Registry of EMT website. Print them out, learn them, and act them out.
5. Know the Critical Criteria list for each skill.
The National Registry of EMT is very straight forward about what candidates can and can’t do to pass each skill test. At the bottom of each skill sheet there is a section labeled Critical Criteria.
Underneath that heading is a listing of all the things that will cause an automatic fail for that skill test.
Know what actions you can or can’t take that will cause you to automatically fail each skill test station.
Some of these Critical Criteria are things you might not even think about, so it’s good to be aware before going in for testing.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice.
The NREMT psychomotor exam is a hands on testing process, not a written test.
Candidates need to be proficient in performing each skill so they can demonstrate competency on test day.
Even though much of the test is verbal, it’s important to be able to perform each skill like you would on a patient in the field while verbalizing what you’re doing for the proctor.
Get EMT practice with each skill using the skill sheets, and have a friend act as the proctor if possible. Make sure you are familiar with each station of the exam and EMT practice should include manikins, BVM, and other needed equipment.
Keep practicing performing the NREMT psychomotor skills and assessments until you feel comfortable with each step on the skill sheet.
Before testing, you should be able to successfully get through the skill without looking at your NREMT skill sheet at all during the test.
7. Watch Psychomotor Exam videos.
There are times when you can’t physically practice skills and you have read and studied as much as possible. However, you may still not feel ready for the test.
This is a great time to watch online videos of other candidates at testing stations for the psychomotor exam.
Even videos for the Paramedic and Advanced levels of testing will give you a good idea of how to communicate with the proctor during the test.
Watching other candidates perform the skill can be very helpful at showing you exactly what to expect the day of the test.
One thing to keep in mind while watching these videos – try to stay open minded and learn from the videos. Many people watch to criticize and judge the people in the videos.
It takes courage to perform skills while being filmed, and they are putting them online to help students prepare for testing. Here are a couple examples of the kind of videos that can help you prepare for the NREMT psychomotor exam:
Patient Assessment – Trauma (NREMT Psychomotor)
BVM Ventilation – Apneic Patient (NREMT Psychomotor)
For more study help: Check out our 10 Expert Tips to Pass the NREMT Cognitive Exam.