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How to prepare for the NARM exam

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any tips for me on things I should be studying or not studying. I know you can't give me too much information about the exam, but any little tips would be really appreciated. I won't be taking the exam until August, so I have some time, but I am starting to really try to prepare now. I got the flashcards to study from a midwife who took the exam last year. I have gone over Holistic Midwifery 1 and 2 for AAMI so I have a few hundred pages of notes on those books to read. What else? Are there other areas of study I should be looking at? Should I supplement with a book on herbs or homeopathy or anything like that?

Anyone else taking it in 2009? How are you preparing?

I really don't want to fail it.
post #2 of 44
Well, first you have to go to Casa...Oh wait, you already did

A midwife(who happens to work @ Casa) who I asked about it told me that the questions are designed to trick you up, so maybe that will help, maybe not. I don't see myself taking NARM until 2010, but I am already working to prepare myself for it.

I'm sure you will do fine, just review what you already know and if there is anything that you aren't sure about, study, study, study.

When are you taking it? Feb, Aug, Mana conference?
post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustLia23 View Post
I'm sure you will do fine, just review what you already know and if there is anything that you aren't sure about, study, study, study.

When are you taking it? Feb, Aug, Mana conference?
I am planning to take it in August. That gives me quite a bit of time yet to study, which is good. I just am not totally sure what I should study. I wish there were books with sample tests or something so that I could really test myself and see how much I know or don't know for this test.

I have heard the questions can trip people up sometimes and the answers don't feel very clear cut. That makes me pretty nervous.
post #4 of 44
I re-read Heart and Hands cover to cover.... reviewed parts of Varneys.... read up on the nutrition and herbal sections of Frye's HM I and mostly reviewed my protocols. I made my own flashcards as I was studying of the things I felt weaker on (signs and symptoms of different STDs/infections, for example, as in my apprenticeship.... we didn't see a lot of those).

But seriously, the test is really not that bad. The hardest part was sitting in that room for so long. I literally got up to go to the bathroom and did jumping jacks in the ladies room just to get the blood flowing.

But the test is not that scary. And, it's not specific to your state laws, etc. The test is aimed at entry-level midwives.

So, really, the best advice I got (from Pamamidwife here on MDC, I believe!) and now pass on to others is don't overthink any of it. Everything is considered normal unless the test question specifically says otherwise. NARM is not out to trick you. Take every question at face value and keep it simple.

If you've had a good apprenticeship, you should be fully prepared for this test. It's a lot of scenarios... Basically "In this situation, WWYD?"

I spent far too much time studying and stressing, and it was really not bad at all. It took me 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon, and I walked out with a 91.
post #5 of 44
I've been told(by a different midwife, you know, grain of salt) that the test is most closely based to the teachings in Varneys Midwifery. A more medical text than many of us practice.

You'll do great I'm sure, especially if you just organize and review all you've learned in the journey.
post #6 of 44
I second everything that DallasCPM says. If I had to pick ONE book to cram and review the night before the test, it would be Heart and Hands for sure. There were some questions that were almost word for word from that book.

Its really not that hard. Perhaps for someone who had no apprenticeship/hands on training it would be. But then they wouldn't be taking the test.

It helped me to remember that I didn't have to get every question right. I could miss a whole bunch and still pass. I think I got about 20 wrong and I got a 90.

You'll be *fine* erika (but I know you can't help but stress out about it until you know you've passed). that's how I was.
post #7 of 44
One tip given to me about the scenarios is don't assume anything. If the information is not included, than you can't assume that you know that. Some questions will have two possible answers if you have one more piece of information. But without that information, the second answer can't be true.
post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockportmidwife View Post
One tip given to me about the scenarios is don't assume anything. If the information is not included, than you can't assume that you know that. Some questions will have two possible answers if you have one more piece of information. But without that information, the second answer can't be true.
So, without the additional information would you understand everything to be all in a row unless the test tells you otherwise or would you go with the more cautious answer?
post #9 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reha View Post
I second everything that DallasCPM says. If I had to pick ONE book to cram and review the night before the test, it would be Heart and Hands for sure. There were some questions that were almost word for word from that book.

Its really not that hard. Perhaps for someone who had no apprenticeship/hands on training it would be. But then they wouldn't be taking the test.

It helped me to remember that I didn't have to get every question right. I could miss a whole bunch and still pass. I think I got about 20 wrong and I got a 90.

You'll be *fine* erika (but I know you can't help but stress out about it until you know you've passed). that's how I was.
I am totally going to stress it! And maybe I shouldn't because I need to stress and pass the skills part first!!

I will have to dust off my Heart and Hands, it appears!

It is just hard not knowing what I don't know... does that make sense? I just wish I could really feel, right this minute, confident that I will pass it easily. I know a few people who didn't pass it though and that makes me nervous because they were intelligent people who worked as assistants and apprentices for a long time. So, now I am just wondering if they were getting tripped up on questions because of the wording or if the test is that tricky or what.
post #10 of 44
The people I have heard not pass it are also super smart people, but they tend to overanalyze and over think everything. Just take the questions at face value and use the info they give you, don't assume anything, and remember that this is an entry-level exam, you know?
post #11 of 44
I studied Varney's and the Varney's Study guide. I also made about 9 million flash cards for absolutely everything under the sun, so that I could study anytime anywhere. The flash cards really worked for me, but that's definitely my style of learning.
post #12 of 44
I took the test with Ida Darrough as our test administrator. Before we started, she said that despite what you've heard, there is only one right answer to each of these questions and that maybe another sounds like it might be possible, but with the info given on the test, there is only one right answer. That helped a lot, as most of the people I'd talked to said it's a "choose the best answer" type of test.

It is easy to make assumptions or to say "here's what I'd do" (and of course what you would do isn't an answer!!), but you have to choose what is the correct answer based on the info there and nothing else.

I think reviewing protocols for *everything* is a good way to study. I don't think Varney's was that helpful, but do think that more "midwif-ey" text books like Heart and Hands and Frye to some extent, would be the most helpful. I don't agree that NARM was more medical than most of us are..I kinda felt the opposite and found myself thinking "I've never heard of that alternative treatment" at least a few times.
post #13 of 44
I reread "Hearts and Hands" and "Varney's" cover to cover, hightlighted the parts that I didn't know too well, and then reviewed those parts in the weeks leading up to the exam. Though it may be overkill, if you know these books inside and out, I do not think you could fail. I worked on many nurse midwifery study guides to practice test taking. One had really a really great test taking skills guide in the front. I think the best advise was to not over analyze the question. Try to figure out what the test writer is really asking you about. Oh, and attitude...studying for the NARM was such a wonderful culmination of all the years I spent learning midwifery. After all the dreaming and hard work, to finally feel that I had earned the right to call myself a midwife. Good luck!
post #14 of 44

Intense NARM Study Retreat

If you're looking for a great way to prepare for the NARM, there is an intensive study retreat being offered for each testing period in Ruidoso, NM. Vicki Penwell, who has been a midwife for 29 years and has trained hundreds of midwives through the Mercy In Action College of Midwifery and Primary Health, is offering a week-long focused review of the material covered on the exam. I received my training from Vicki and passed on the first try, as did a very high percentage of her students. I highly recommend this to anyone taking the NARM exam. Follow this link for the brochure:

http://www.mercyinaction.com/narm-study-retreat/

This training also offers a different multiple choice practice test each day, which was one of the most helpful aspects of my preparation.
post #15 of 44
Go over Varneys and read the skills sections etc. Talk about lots of birth stories WWYD. Lots of breastfeeding stuff. If you are ready to be a midwife you will pass.
post #16 of 44

How did it go?

Hi Erika, how did the test go? I am preparing for this February, so any words of wisdom would be appreciated!

Gina
Pueblo, CO
post #17 of 44
Get out the Written Test Specifications in the Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB). Anything and everything on that list is fair game for the exam. Look at each item line-by-line, and ask yourself what they could possibly ask you about each one that you do feel confident you could fully answer. Write down those questions, look up and learn the answers.
post #18 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginapueblo View Post
Hi Erika, how did the test go? I am preparing for this February, so any words of wisdom would be appreciated!

Gina
Pueblo, CO
It went really well. I was even super, duper sick with a kidney infection when I took it and still passed

So, after taking it, I believe studying what is on the CIB is the best way to prepare for the test. I spent a lot of time with Holistic Midwifery 1 and 2 and Heart and Hands to prepare and that seemed to work.
post #19 of 44
Congratulations! I've reviewed the CIB, but it's not very specific...Kind of like, "here are 599 topics that may be on the test," lol. It's not as much of the study guide that I'd hoped for.

I just got my approval of my certification application today, so it looks like I'm in the home stretch! I've been reading Myles and an older (3rd?) edition of Oxorn and Foote. O&F, while interesting reading, I do not think is going to be very relevant for the test. And Myles, while it may become my next bible of protocols, I'm also not sure about in terms of prep because it's British, but it does seem like most of their protocols are in line with most of the other hb protocols I've read.

I've got the newer edition of H&Hs coming from a purchase I just made (I had the previous ed.) and I've got all the Frye books (except Healing Passage), so those will be my next reads I guess. I have $900 of mw books in my Amazon wish list, but it sounds like I don't necessarily need all those.

Anyway, thanks! I am glad to year you passed with flying colors. I hope I will too (it's too expensive not to!!).

Gina
post #20 of 44
Thanks, Nashville. I have been going over and over the CIB--it's just pretty broad! I like the idea of making up my own questions regarding each topic. That's a really good idea...

On another list when I asked how to study someone said something along the lines of your clinical experience being the best prep, and she had 300 births by the time she tested. While I now have about 75 (thanks to an internship at a birth center), I still can't possibly get those kinds of numbers in before I test, so I really do need to feel ready didactically.

Gina
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