How I passed my NRCME/DOT Certification exam
If you are reading this blog, I’m assuming that you are either contemplating taking the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) certification exam, or you are one step closer to taking the test. Either way, you came to the right place! No, I don’t have answers for the exam itself, but I hope that this blog post can give you some tidbits on what to expect and how I prepared for my own test and successfully passed on my first try.
First, let me tell you that I’m an inexperienced, newly graduated Family Nurse Practitioner who just took the ANCC and AANP Boards last March (passed both on first try). So this blog post is all about my own experience of and perspectives on preparing for the NRCME exam. Someone who has a different background and more experience in Occupational Medicine or Employee Health might have a different opinion, however.
I just took the NRCME certification exam this Saturday (June 30th,) and got a score of 88%. Honestly, my exam score was consistent with all the scores I made during the practice questions. Passing the exam was not easy for me, but apparently it was doable. There are 120 questions, and 2 hours is allotted for answering everything, although only 100 are scored. I consider myself a relatively fair to fast test-taker, but during this exam, I was taking longer to answer each question. I used almost all of the allotted time and by the time I finished going over the flagged questions and hit the “Submit” button I had only about 20 minutes left to spare.
You get your score results after you do the short survey on Prometrics, which will come after you submit your exam, but there is no way to save your score since you can’t bring in your phone with you. I also did not get an email about my score either. I was expecting one just like when I took my ANCC via Prometric, as they sent me an email confirmation of my score within 10-15 minutes after taking the test. Good thing I was able to ask the staff at the testing center to print the result for me. So make sure to ask (or insist to get a print out) LOL.
So let’s get started.
Who can Take the NRCME Certification Exam?
According to the FMCSA Guidelines, to be eligible to vie for certification one must be a Doctor of Medicine, Osteopathy or Chiropractic, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner.
What are the steps to get certified?
First, you must undergo a training for NRCME program. There are many NRCME online training courses available. I shopped for online courses on and off over the course of two days until I found the one that worked best for me. I chose this online class because not only did they have the modules and printable materials for me to use, they also sent me a reference book which was beneficial for my exam preparation, and can also be very handy for work. At the end of the training, you will be asked to answer all the quizzes and take your final test. I think there were 50 questions. Only then will you get a certificate of completion, which you will use for verification when you apply for the certification exam and during the exam day itself.
Here is the link to NRCME online course that I used: https://www.nrcmetrainingonline.com/
How long did I take to prepare for my exam?
I wanted to get done before I start my job, so I decided to study for approximately 10-14 days. I felt it was plenty of time with still enough room in case unexpected things come along. On the first 2-3 days, I went over the module (there are 12), which included the video of the material. After each module, there is a short 8 to 10-item quiz to test your knowledge. The content itself was long, repetitive and coma-inducing. That had nothing to do with the class but the content that was loaded with FMCSA guidelines. This was one serious, hard core learning experience for me, and I had to ingest overwhelming information that was out of my comfort zone. Honestly, on the first day, I almost cried thinking there was no way I was going to remember or learn any of these information. The guidelines were straightforward but varied according to medical conditions so it was confusing to me initially. It was definitely like nothing I have ever done before 🙂
What was the content of the exam?
The exam content covered a lot of systems and medical concerns pertaining to the driver’s qualifying or disqualifying conditions but there was certainly a much heavier emphasis on the basics – like visual acuity, hearing and hypertension. So if you know how to interpret the results and have a good grasp of the vision, hearing and hypertension guidelines, that would be to your advantage. Also, several of the questions focused on antidepressant and scheduled drugs.
Truth be told, some of the questions were unfamiliar- okay, most of them were LOL, but I kept my calm and stayed focused. I bought an extra set of practice questions to help boost my confidence and familiarity with the content and I think that helped a lot. I used two other extra sources which have helped tremendously. The main thing is to prepare and it never hurts to overstudy.
Shoot me a message if you have more questions and need additional information and I will try to get back to you within the next 12 hours or so.
For more details on the certification process, here is the link to the FMCSA website: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/medical/national-registry-certified-medical-examiners-become-certified-medical-examiner