EMT Exam

The Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) exam is used to identify individuals with the basic knowledge and skills needed to stabilize and safely transport patients. EMTs function as an emergency medical services (EMS) team member under medical oversight.


Individuals interested in obtaining certification need to meet the following requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • Successful completion of a state-approved EMT course within the past two years
  • Hold a current CPR-BLS, Healthcare Provider credential
  • Successful completion of the National Registry cognitive exam
  • Successful completion of a state-approved psychomotor exam

Registration, cost, and location

To register for the National Registry EMT (NREMT) Cognitive exam, create an account on the NREMT website. After your account is established, complete the application to test and pay the $80.00 application fee. When your application is approved, an authorization to test (ATT) is provided electronically. Generally, ATTs are provided within two business days but may take longer during high-volume periods.

Follow the directions on the ATT to register for the exam at a Person VUE testing center. You have 90 days from receipt of the ATT to register. Testing centers are located nationwide, and appointments are available Monday through Saturday.

Test design

The cognitive exam is a computer-adaptive test (CAT). An adaptive test adjusts for your skill level, and the multiple-choice questions get harder with each correct answer provided. The goal of the exam is to assess your knowledge and determine if you have the entry-level competency needed to fulfill your duties as an EMT. The cognitive exam consists of 60 to 110 scored questions, and ten unscored questions. An on-screen calculator is provided for your use.

The cognitive exam consists of five content areas:

Airway, respiration, and ventilation – 18% to 22% of questions

85% of the questions focus on the adult patient, and 15% of the questions focus on the pediatric patient.

Cardiology and Resuscitation – 20% to 24% of questions

85% of the questions focus on the adult patient, and 15% of the questions focus on the pediatric patient.

Trauma – 14% to 18% of questions

85% of the questions focus on the adult patient, and 15% of the questions focus on the pediatric patient.

Medical, Obstetrics, and Gynecology – 27% to 31% of questions

85% of the questions focus on the adult patient, and 15% of the questions focus on the pediatric patient.

EMS Operations – 10% to 14% of questions

Test Day

On the day of your examination, follow the directions on your ATT, including the identification you need to provide, and what is allowed in the testing center. Arrive 30 minutes before your appointment.

At your testing station, you have the opportunity to take an untimed computer tutorial. After you have completed the tutorial, your two-hour exam begins. The adaptive format of the exam means that you are unable to skip a question or go back and check your answers. With that in mind, take care when selecting your responses. Remember, for each question, there is only one correct answer.

Your exam ends when time runs out, or the computer has determined that you answered enough questions to establish competency.


Completed examinations are sent to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians for scoring. Test center staff does not have access to your results and cannot answer questions about your exam. In one to two business days after your test, the results are posted in your account.

You must achieve 70% to pass the cognitive exam. If you pass the exam, your results state that you passed. If you failed the exam, detailed information is posted to your account to help you study for the retest.

State-approved EMT psychomotor examination

In addition to the cognitive exam, EMT candidates need to pass a state-approved EMT psychomotor examination. The psychomotor exam is a “hands-on” test assessing your ability to identify and treat the scenarios presented.

Topics covered on the psychomotor examination include patient assessment and management for trauma and medical, BVM ventilation of an apneic adult patient, oxygen administration by a non-rebreather mask, spinal immobilization of a seated and supine patient, bleeding control, shock management, cardiac arrest management, joint immobilization, and long bone immobilization.

For registration and logistics of the psychomotor exam, contact your instructor or the state EMS office.

How Can I Prepare for the EMT Exam?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

Top Study Guides: 

Best Flashcards: 


Last Updated: July 24, 2019