How to prepare for the NARM exam - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#2 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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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?

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#3 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#4 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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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.

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#6 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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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.

Mama to ds#1 (7) and a ds#2 (1 1/2)
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#7 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 10:07 PM
 
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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.

Comforts of Home Midwifery

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#8 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#9 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#10 of 44 Old 01-28-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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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?

Mama to ds#1 (7) and a ds#2 (1 1/2)
Homebirth midwife
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#11 of 44 Old 01-29-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 44 Old 01-29-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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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.

Charlotte, midwife to some awesome women, wife to Jason, and no longer a mama to all boys S reading.gif('01), A nut.gif ('03) S lol.gif ('08) and L love.gif ('10).
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#13 of 44 Old 01-29-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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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!

Wife to Joe and Mama to Rosie, 6/28/06, Jack, 10/25/08 and JoJo 3/18/10.
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#14 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 44 Old 12-03-2009, 11:03 PM
 
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Hi Erika, how did the test go? I am preparing for this February, so any words of wisdom would be appreciated!

Gina
Pueblo, CO

Gina Gerboth, CPM, IBCLC, MOM
Pueblo, Colorado
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#17 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#19 of 44 Old 12-05-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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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

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#20 of 44 Old 12-05-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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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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#21 of 44 Old 12-05-2009, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Clinical experience is great, but it wouldn't work for everyone as preparation. If things in the clinical experience are not based on solid midwifery knowledge then one would get those questions wrong. I had just over 100 births when I took the NARM and did just fine.

Spending time just reading the textbooks helped me so much. I just read them and read them as if they were great novels. And then I remember during the test several times having a question and the light would go off in my head and I could remember that I read that one in HM1 or H&H or HM2 and I knew the answer right away. The great thing about just reading the books is that you won't miss anything, you will have read everything at least once before the exam.

I think a great way to study for it is to take each thing point by point on the CIB and read up on it. So if the CIB says to know about newborn jaundice then read up so you know things like : when it starts, why it happens, how long it lasts, when you would transport, when you would consult, what holistic treatments there are for it, how much of it is normal, and at what point it is not normal. That is only an example.

I think it is a good way to do it because you will begin to realize your weak points prior to the exam and can spend some time going over them.

Overall, it wasn't that hard of a test. It was stressful and afterwards I had no idea if I had passed or not (thought maybe I had, but didn't want to get my hopes up!), but it wasn't overly hard. It was all stuff that is available in the text books and most likely things you have already read at one point or another. Just spend the time reviewing and I am sure you will do just great!

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#22 of 44 Old 12-05-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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Thanks Erika. It is easier for me to sit and read the books cover to cover anyway. I'm not a great note-taker, but am trying to this time so that I have notes to study of those things I'm worried about remembering.

I sat the IBCLC exam last year in July, and we didn't get our results until October. THAT was the hardest part of that experience. How long did it take you to get the NARM results?

Gina Gerboth, CPM, IBCLC, MOM
Pueblo, Colorado
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#23 of 44 Old 12-05-2009, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It took about 16 or 17 days for my results to get to me, so much better than your IBCLC exam!

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#24 of 44 Old 01-24-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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Hi Gina,
I'm taking the NARM this Feb too...hope you see you on the other side!! I've appreciated the answers to these questions...it feels good to get confirmation of what I'm doing
Ruth
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#25 of 44 Old 01-24-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Thanks for the update MW Erika! I have been following this thread intensely as I am also taking the test in Feb... HM1& 2, and the CIB are my constant bedside reading companions.
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#26 of 44 Old 02-01-2010, 05:15 AM
 
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hello there. I am a new member. First of all, I would like to say thank you for all of you who contributed to this forum topic as it is certainly the most useful information I have gotten so far regarding how to prepare for the NARM (besides what's in the CIB).

I just have a question for any of you who have completed the test. I'm a little confused about what is referred to in the CIB as skills assessment test specifications. Is there a skills assessment as part of the written test? Or is that only for those applying via the PEP process? How much do I need to focus on these skills assessment test specifications?

I'm taking the NARM in 16 days. I'm feeling relatively prepared but beginning to get a little nervous.

Any last-minute tips are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

~jen~
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#27 of 44 Old 02-01-2010, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The skills assessment is for PEP route, so if you went the MEAC route then just ignore it completely.

Good luck!

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#28 of 44 Old 02-02-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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Very helpful. Thanks, Erika!
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#29 of 44 Old 02-22-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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Hi Gina,
I'm taking the NARM this Feb too...hope you see you on the other side!! I've appreciated the answers to these questions...it feels good to get confirmation of what I'm doing
Ruth
Hey Ruth! Well it's over, but I have a bad feeling about this (as my husband loves to quote from Star Wars)...It was totally different than what I'd expected and I just don't feel confident at all. How about you? How many people were at your test site? There was only me and one other in Denver.

Ugh.

Two more weeks? Three?

Gina Gerboth, CPM, IBCLC, MOM
Pueblo, Colorado
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#30 of 44 Old 02-26-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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I took the NARM in Portland, Oregon (I'm from Washington). There were 10 of us, 2 were retaking it! 2 were from out of the country, 2 from Washington state and 6 from Oregon.

I'm anxious to get me results. Wonder how long it will take?

Allison, mom to 3, midwife,
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