Whether you’re a nurse, doctor, or paramedic, you might be studying for your PALS certification. Healthcare professionals are often required to complete the certification course and exam, and if you haven’t taken a test in a while, you might be nervous. Here are a few foolproof tips for preparing for and earning your certification.

What is PALS certification?

PALS stands for Pediatric Advanced Life Support. It’s an additional training typically offered in-person or a combination of online and in-person by the American Heart Association. During the PALS course, you learn how to provide care to endangered infants and children. This can be very important knowledge for healthcare providers as they learn how to assess an infant’s state and provide more than basic life support if needed. You’ll know what to do in any situation and the best hospitals in your area most likely require you to gain PALS certification (so if you aren’t already working at one, you might have a shot).

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How do you earn a certification?

You could complete your PALS certification through the American Heart Association, but eMedCert offers PALS classes online. A digital course gives you the freedom to complete your training where and when you can, and you’ll still earn continuing medical education credits and provider card. This can be especially helpful if you suffer from performance anxiety and hate the idea of demonstrating your skills in a test situation. However, online certification does require other certain skills. Here’s what you should do to prepare for your online PALS exam.

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Study Before the Exam

Even if you’ve completed the certification before, you have to study. Take the time to review cardiology, PALS treatment algorithms, PALS drugs and dosages, and case scenarios. Your online course provides the information you’ll need, but you can purchase additional review books if you feel you want extra study tools. You have to get at least 40 questions out of the 50 right, so take your time studying and learning everything you can before you start the test. If you feel like you started the exam before fully learning the course material, pause the test. You can spend a few more days reviewing cardiopulmonary arrest and defibrillation and then come back to it. Treat your certification course like any other class and expect that you will need to spend a good amount of time learning the materials. If you want to be an expert in pediatric emergencies, you have to learn the content and pass your exam.

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Practice in Test Conditions

When you’re in a room with other people, you feel like you’re taking a test and thus you take it seriously. When you’re at home on your computer, the conditions are very different. You might be distracted by your kids or your partner, or you might be unable to stop checking your phone or social media accounts while you’re taking the test. Make sure you study in your test conditions. When you’re going to focus on your PALS certification course, put your phone in another room. Log out of your social media accounts on your computer. You could even ask a friend or family member to come over and pretend to be your exam proctor. An online course requires discipline, so if you’re nervous about your ability to focus, practice in the right conditions. When it’s time to take the test, you’ll be used to focusing.

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Medical professionals who earn a PALS certification card prove that they can handle pediatric emergencies. If you’re looking for a doctor or physician assistant for your son or daughter, check to see if he or she has passed the PALS exam. Your child should be in good hands and receive the best medical care.