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A Guide To Passing Your ACLS Exam

A Guide To Passing Your ACLS Exam

After weeks of studying and going through the course materials, you’ve built up the knowledge to equip yourself with advanced cardiac life support skills. Before you can present your provider card to your employer, you first have to pass the ACLS exam. Even if you’ve spent a lot of time studying, you may still feel stressed out about the exam, but with the right strategy in place, you’ll be able to ace it and get your ACLS certification. We’ll share a couple of helpful tips in this article.

Reviewing Case Scenarios

While it’s important to ensure you focus on your studies, you also need to test yourself on a regular basis. This is why many people find it useful to review some case scenarios and to consider what their approach would be in each situation.

A case scenario gives you details about a specific situation. You can then imagine yourself in that specific scenario. Since you’ve been studying for some time, you now have to delve into the knowledge you have gained in order to determine what steps you need to take in each of these scenarios.

It is a good idea to write down the steps that you will take. Open up a  document or get a piece of paper, and describe how you will handle the situation. This is a great opportunity to really test your knowledge and determine if you are ready to take the exam.

There are many resources available online that can give you access to case scenarios to study. EM Sim Cases is one excellent example, and they even have a specific section for case scenarios related to advanced cardiac life support skills.

The American Heart Association also has a comprehensive list of case scenarios that require critical thinking. They provide case studies surrounding different situations, so it can also help you get a better idea of how well you have developed knowledge related to the ACLS certification. Studies have also found that this type of experimental learning process is
very useful in helping to improve the outcomes of ACLS exams.

Utilize Practice Tests

When you want to prepare yourself for the ACLS exams, it’s important to ensure you know how the entire process works. Getting a better idea about the type of questions you may be asked, for example, can go a long way in helping you be more prepared when actually completing the exam.

This is where practice tests come into the picture. These tests are very similar to what you’ll need to go through during an official ACLS exam. By completing a few practice tests, you have the ability to determine whether you have studied enough and also get a better idea about your chances of passing the exam.

If you find that you fail these practice tests, then you’ll need to go back to your studies. Go through the study material again, while also considering the specific areas where you are failing on the tests. Focus more on these subjects.

There are several resources on the internet that you can turn to if you want to do a few practice tests. Some of these resources will even give you a similar experience as writing an official exam.

Start by reaching out to the training provider you are using, as they might have some practice exams you can use to prepare yourself for the real examination.

Focus On Your Studies

One of the reasons you have to get a high score on your exam to pass is due to the critical role advanced cardiac life support skills play in a medical setting. By passing the exam, you show your ability to respond to certain situations that can end up saving the life of a patient.

Due to the seriousness of the course content and the certification itself, it’s really important that you focus on your studies. While it may be tempting to get through the study materials and do your exam as quickly as possible, you need to realize the role that you’ll play as an ACLS provider. This is why you should be patient with your studies and ensure you pay attention to every part of the course materials.

By setting aside enough time to study the course, you’ll grasp the knowledge more effectively. This, in turn, can help you improve your chances of passing the ACLS exam on your first try.

Understand The ACLS Algorithms

There are several important parts of the ACLS program – and this includes the algorithms too. These algorithms are used in real time when assessing a situation and deciding on the right course of action to take.

While you focus on your studies, it’s important to ensure you memorize the various ACLS algorithms. This will come in handy during the exam and serve you well when you do find yourself in a real-world situation where you have to use your advanced cardiac life support skills.

There are multiple algorithms that you have to understand when it comes to ACLS certifications. If you know them all, it’s much easier to know what protocols you should use in various scenarios you may be presented with during the exam.

Make sure you grasp the details surrounding the following algorithms:

● ACLS Bradycardia Algorithm
● ACLS Tachycardia Algorithm
● ACLS In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Pregnancy Algorithm
● ACLS Cardiac Arrest PEA and Asystole Algorithm
● ACLS Cardiac Arrest VTac and VFib Algorithm
● ACLS Post Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm
● ACLS Acute Coronary Syndrome Algorithm

These can be found on the AffordableACLS.com website. 

Apart from these, make sure you are also familiar with the various basic life support (BLS) algorithms, as they also become useful in various situations.

Familiarize Yourself With Medication And Doses

When you are an ACLS provider, there may come times when certain medications need to be administered to a patient. Timing plays a critical part in the patient’s chances of survival, so knowing what medication to use and the right doses can be extremely helpful.

This is why you also have to ensure you know about the medication and doses used in ACLS. Take some time to memorize the different pharmaceuticals used in various situations. You need to ensure you know what medicine to use in different cases that are covered in the ACLS course.

Conclusion

Reviewing multiple case scenarios and ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of the most important algorithms can give you a headstart with your ACLS exam. Apart from these, it’s important to do some practice tests beforehand, and to ensure you give yourself enough time to go through all of the study materials. Follow the tips we shared to make sure
you’re ready for the exam.

References

ACLS. EM SIM CASES. https://emsimcases.com/tag/acls/

Megacode Testing Checklist. American Heart Association. https://cpr.heart.org/-/media/cpr2-files/course-materials/2020-acls/2020-acls-course-materials/acls-megacode-testing-scenarios_ucm_506699.pdf?la=en

T. Kidd, S. Kendall. Review of effective advanced cardiac life support training using experiential learning. Journal of Clinical Nursing. Published 2007. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17181667/

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