I have a confession to make. I have not taken a test in 11 years that was not based on material that I was taught in the few days prior. That is to say, since college, if it was not ACLS, PHTLS, or some other EMS related course, I have not tested on it. It has also been 12 years since I took a standardized paramedic certification test. Now, I am on the verge of facing the National Registry paramedic test head on. Every piece of information that I obtained in 1999 and 2000 will be called out, along with anything else that I might have learned along the way. No pressure, right?
The biggest change that I have seen over the years is the way that we are able to study is completely different. Back then, having information “at my finger tips” involved me adjurning to my book shelf or hoping that the correct material was hiding in my bag somewhere. Now with the inventions of Google, the enhancement and growth of the internet answers are even easier to come by, as they should be. I am struggling though to figure out if that will make it easier for me to study or harder. I feel like I am a prety computer savvy individual with a good grasp on what is out there in cyber space but in embracing that I am also putting aside much of what I previously knew.
For my entire academic career, when I had to I buried my nose in a book. I was not very good at studying mainly because I did not do it. My grades in high school were good, not great but good. They were that way because as I look back now, I was bored. I did not study very often and somehow still did well on tests but my grades were brought down becuase I was one of those lazy kids that did not see the value of homework. When I got to college that hurt me in some of my classes because my study skills were not as good as some of my peers. It was not until I got into my paramedic class that I started retaining things better on a second or third pass rather than just hearing it in a class.
The concept of National Registry is not new to me and I have picked up an assortment of study guides as time has gone on. Last year I went through a similar phase where I was ready to get my National and start looking elsewhere but I never went through with it for a variety of reasons and I regret that now, but the untouched study guides are still sitting on my shelf ready to be perused. I just hope that is enough to get me through this.
If not I will probaby turn to the internet. The resources that are out there are almost limitless. Then I just need to relearn how I retain. My hope is that in the eleven years that I have been away from formal education much of my bad study habits have faded as well allowing me to replace them with some new ideas and concepts.
Then there is the idea of taking a test online rather than on paper in front of me. Again, this is something that I have very limited experience with. All through college every test that I took was on paper or those great bubble sheets with my stack of #2 pencils sitting next to me. The only time that I can remember taking an actual online test was back in 1996. Computerized testing was new and I was offered a chance to take my SAT’s that way. It was my second attempt and although I was happy with my score the first time around and felt that it would be adequate to get me into the schools I was looking at, I was going to do it anyway. I had nothing to lose.
Believe it or not I actually scored lower the second time around and even today that sits in the back of my head. How will I do with an online test?
All in all though, I am confident mainly because of the support system that I have built up. I have the means to study, the people to bounce questions off of and a slew of frequently updated online resources at my disposal. Now, twelve years ago, I need to dust off the cobwebs and start retaining it all again.
One thing that I have on my side though is the drive that I currently possess. Not only am I determined to get my National, I know what having that card in my pocket and that disco patch in my shoulder could do for me in the near future. That concept excites me.
So here we go! When can I test again?