Can You Pass a Basic Paramedic Exam?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: simonkr/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The world of a front-line medical professional is fast-paced and action-packed. It's also extremely stressful. Not only do these men and women serve their communities, but they also have to make critical, immediate decisions, helping patients in various levels of distress and sickness.

These heroes and heroines see everything. From a kid who fell awkwardly and broke their arm to multiple patients at the scene of a car crash, their split-second decision-making can be the difference between life and death. To achieve a position of such responsibility, doctors, emergency medical technicians and other medical personnel not only train constantly, but have also studied for many hours to pass the exams their positions require.

Do you fancy yourself an emergency medical technician? If so, you have come to the right place to test your knowledge of both the human body and common medical situations. If you know more than where the femur is located and what a defibrillator is, you just might pass this quiz with flying colors. 

In the world of medical emergencies, what does "BLS" mean?

Basic Life Support can be provided to victims of illness or injury by EMTs until they can be attended to at a hospital. If someone needs more intense care, an EMT with more experience will attend to them.


An EMT filling in the letters "LOC" on a patient form has indicated that the patient has suffered from which of the following?

"LOC" generally refers to two phrases in the EMT world: "loss of consciousness" or "level of consciousness." This is usually written on forms to describe a patient’s condition.


If a patient is described as lying "supine," how would find them?

A patient in a "supine" position is lying on their back. This position allows medical professionals to assess injuries or ailments more easily. A patient lying on their stomach is said to be "prone."


What tube in our bodies takes food to the stomach?

Often called the "food pipe," the esophagus connects the mouth with the stomach. Food travels down this pipe using gravity as well as peristaltic contractions. In adults, the esophagus is around 25 centimeters long.


Patients who suffer a spinal injury could go into ___________ shock.

A patient suffering a spinal injury might go into a state of neurogenic shock. This is a result of the damage to the autonomic pathways. These are found within your spinal cord. A patient suffering from neurogenic shock can suffer from a slower heart rate as well as a lowering of their blood pressure.


A child that has a stiff neck, vomits regularly and is running a high fever could have _______?

The brain and spinal cord are covered by three membranes. If these are inflamed, this will cause a stiff, sore neck, fever and vomiting. This can be very serious and should be dealt with by a medical professional as soon as possible.


When talking about a "MICU" in the world of emergency medicine, what are we referring to?

A "MICU," or Mobile Intensive Care Unit, is a vehicle outfitted with apparatuses that offer advanced life support to patients en route to the hospital. This offers critically injured patients a greater chance of survival.


When assessing a patient, which of the following options is the most important?

Often, when an EMT first encounters a patient, they do not know what their ailments are. In some cases, a patient may be able to tell them, while in others, the patient might have lost consciousness. The most important thing to first assess is whether they have an open airway and are able to breathe on their own. The rest follows from there.


Where would you find the "carpals"?

The carpal bones are found in your hands. There are eight in each hand, and together, they form your wrist. The carpals create the connection between the wrist and the forearm. These bones allow your wrist to rotate and move.


What is a C-collar?

A "C-collar," or cervical collar, is a piece of equipment that is used to stabilize the neck of a patient. It is used when patients have suspected C-spine injuries. It is important that this patient (and especially the patient's neck) is moved very little. The "C-collar" provides the necessary support needed to get them to a hospital.


What does the term proximal mean?

Proximal is a term used in medicine to help with spatial orientation. In terms of the human body, it describes the points close to the body midline. In other words, splitting the body down the middle into left and right sections.


An EMT "bagging" a patient is doing what?

"Bagging" is using a “Bag Valve Mask” to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing adequately. This is to ensure they have enough oxygen in their system.


What specific part of the body would "plantar" refer to?

The sole of the foot is described as the "plantar" in medical speak. People sometimes suffer from a condition called plantar fasciitis, which is a pain in the underside of the heel. This is usually a result of inflammation in the tissue at the bottom of the foot.


Do you know what it means to place multiple patients in a "triage" order?

When multiple patients are involved (in a massive pile-up on the highway, for instance), they are assessed and placed in a triage order. Those with life-threatening injuries (called "red" patients) are dealt with first, while those with scrapes and bruises (called "green" patients) are dealt with last.


In the human body, the heart and lungs are found where?

Also called the chest cavity, the thoracic space is where you will find two major organs in the human body: the heart and the lungs. This cavity also contains the bones that protect these vital organs, namely the rib cage. Lastly, it's home to the cardiovascular system.


If a patient is to be placed in the "Trendelenburg position," they will be ______.

The "Trendelenburg position" has a patient lying on their back. Their legs are positioned above their head in the horizontal, as they are on a 15- to 30-degree incline. The reverse of this is also possible, but this sees the head raised higher than the feet. This position is often used in surgery around the pelvic area because it moves other organs away from the area through gravity.


In EMT lingo, what does "ALS" stand for?

Advanced Life Support is the care given to a patient by paramedics prior to transporting them to the hospital. This is different from basic or intermediate life support, as ALS paramedics are able to administer drugs when needed.


A patient standing upright, facing forward with their palms facing out is said to be in what position?

A patient in the anatomical position is standing up with their feet facing forward. Their eyes are looking straight in front of them and their arms are at their sides, palms facing outward. This can be used as a starting point when administering help to a patient who is able to stand.


A patient described as "A&Ox3" is which of the following?

"A&Ox3" means alert and oriented times three. This says the patient is alert and oriented around person, place and time, meaning they know who they are, where they are and the time period.


In anatomy, which body part does "C-spine" refer to?

The "C-spine" refers to the cervical spine (or neck), which is comprised of seven vertebrae (C1–C7). It also houses the spinal cord. It is not only strong, but flexible as well.


What does the EMT acronym "PERRLA" mean?

"PERRLA" is an acronym for Pupils are Equal, Round and Reactive to Light and Accommodation. It helps medical staff remember what to check for when examining pupils. It also gives a sense of whether the patient knows what is going on around them.


Can you tell us what the letters "AED" stand for?

An "AED," or Automated External Defibrillator, is a portable device used to check heart rhythm and treat sudden cardiac arrest. This piece of equipment is nothing short of a life-saver.


When listening to a patient's lungs, what would a bubbling sound be classified as?

When listening to the lungs using a stethoscope, any crackling, rattling or clicking sounds are called rales. The sounds are caused by small airways popping open after they have been collapsed by a fluid. These crackles could indicate a number of respiratory problems.


Which of these best describes an "MVA" as a way a patient may have been injured?

Helping patients injured in an accident is part of an EMT's everyday duties. They would describe the patient as having been in an "MVA," or motor vehicle accident. This is also sometimes called an "MVC," or motor vehicle collision.


Febrile seizures are generally brought on by which of the following?

Febrile seizures are often seen in infants suffering from a high fever. The seizures cause the child to convulse uncontrollably, shaking all their limbs. They may lose consciousness as well.


Can you give the scientific name for the thigh bone?

The femur connects the thigh joint with the knee joint. It is the longest bone in the human body. It is also incredibly tough; in fact, it is the toughest bone in the human body. The femur is the only bone in the upper leg.


In which type of injury would you use an occlusive dressing?

Both airtight and watertight, an occlusive dressing is used in trauma. Thanks to a waxy coating, the bandages are used to seal wounds and will not absorb blood like a gauze would.


Of the options below, which is considered a normal respiration rate for an adult?

Adults will take anything from 12 to 20 breaths a minute. This is often related to their physical condition in terms of their overall fitness as well as their age. It's measured when the person is in a resting state, because any exercise--even walking--will raise the number of times they take in air over a sixty-second period.


In the eye, which light-sensitive area has images projected on it?

Without your retina, you simply wouldn't see. Eye optics create a two-dimensional image of what you are looking at and this is projected onto the retina. In turn, our brains create a visual perception as the image is formed through electrical neural impulses.


In the lungs, the trachea splits into two ______.

The trachea splits into the left and right bronchi in your lungs. Interestingly, the right bronchi is shorter and wider than the left bronchi. Lung illnesses are often a result of problems with the bronchi. For example, asthma is caused by hyper-responsiveness of these two pipes.


In the heart, the right atrium passes blood to the ______.

The heart consists of four chambers. One of these is the right atrium, which is tasked with passing blood through to the right ventricle. The blood carries no oxygen at this point. It then leaves the right ventricle and passes to the lungs where it receives oxygen and the cycle starts again.


In the human body, where would you find the tragus?

The tragus forms part of your ear. It is the small protrusion on the inner part of your ear that protects the opening to your hearing channels. The also aids our hearing, especially with sounds that happen behind us.


In the body, what part does the midclavicular line pass through?

In medicine, the body is often portioned off using imaginary lines. For example, the anterior median line passes down the center of the chest, cutting the body in half (not literally, of course). There are two other imaginary lines running parallel to the left and right of it. These pass roughly through the nipples and are called the midclavicular lines.


Which of these explains a condition known as placenta previa?

A pregnant woman suffering from placenta previa has part of her placenta covering her cervix. This can cause problems as it will be difficult for the baby to pass into the birth canal. Normally, in cases such as this, the baby will be delivered by caesarian section.


True or false? The left ventricle of the heart pumps blood to the pulmonary artery.

No, although the left ventricle does pump blood, it is not tasked with pumping it into the pulmonary artery, but into the the aorta. The left ventricle is one of the four chambers of the human heart.


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