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Failed to get ACLS Certification? Here is What You Need to Do

Instructor teach their students about how to give advanced cardiac life support

Dealing with Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) failure can be overwhelming. It strikes fear and downgrades your confidence level as a dedicated healthcare professional. So, if you have been feeling stuck due to your failed ACLS course, buckle up, as we are here.

All you need to do is navigate the setbacks and follow the path to successful advanced cardiac life support certification. This blog will give you guidelines on how you can prepare yourself better for the next ACLS certification. Following the guide will help you focus on your shortcomings and move on the right track.

What is ACLS?

ACLS, or Advanced Cardiac Life Support, is a program specially designed for healthcare professionals or medical students. The course helps them to be more medically trained so that they can recognize and manage life-threatening conditions, like cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

Understanding Your ACLS Score

What are ACLS scores?

Just like any other course, the ACLS certification course also has a grading system to analyze the performance of the participants. The scores help to give a clear picture of the candidates’s knowledge and skills during a medical emergency.

So, when performed in a simulated scenario, the scoring system used in ACLS helps acknowledge the real performance during a stimulating medical scenario. This helps the ACLS instructor measure their performance, decision-making skills, knowledge of medical emergencies, effective communication, and proper execution.

Components of the ACLS Score


You cannot perform your CPR skills unless you have a theoretical knowledge of cardiac rhythm. The proper administration of hands-on training skills helps them perform in the right manner. As a result, you need to have thorough knowledge before administering the right technique for CPR.


Once you have gained a thorough understanding of ACLS algorithms, it is time to learn the right skills. Therefore, you need to focus on improving skills like high-quality CPR, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), airway management, medication administration, and so on. The ACLS instructor also takes note of your leadership skills and communication. This demonstrates your quick decision-making skills and enhances your leadership qualities.

Breakdown of the Scores

Based on your performance, your ACLS scores are divided into:

Written assessment

Your written test gives a comprehensive idea of your theoretical knowledge during a medical emergency. So, the questions determine the complexity of the topics and evaluate your complete knowledge of cardiovascular emergencies.

So, the ACLS instructor analyzes:

  • Step-by-step protocol to manage cardiac emergencies
  • Proper medication dosage and usage
  • Recognizing and interpreting cardiac rhythms
  • Applying theoretical knowledge in a highly stimulating environment

Practical Assessment

Your practical knowledge helps the ACLS instructor comprehend whether you can perform effectively in a medical scenario. Based on your theoretical knowledge, the practical skill sets help in evaluating your ability to apply your knowledge in these scenarios.

So, the score is based on:

  • Administering chest compression depth and rate 
  • Appropriate airway management
  • Calculating dosage and demonstrating AED skills
  • Administering medication
  • Effective communication skills
  • Leadership and collaboration skills

So, the overall ACLS score depends on your total grade, combining both the written and practical assessments. If you want to pass the ACLS training program, you need to pass both assessments.

What to Do If You Have Failed ACLS Certification?

If you have failed your ACLS certification, don’t get disheartened. It is very common, and the only thing you need to do is work harder the next time. You can ask for feedback from the ACLS instructor, which helps give you a rough idea of where you need to focus.

Over here, we have compiled a few things that you can do to pass the test:

How do you identify your areas for improvement?

Gaining insight into specific areas helps you identify your mistakes. To know where you have been going wrong, here is what you can do:

  • Request feedback on breaking down your score from your ACLS instructor.
  • Give attention to feedback from your instructor.

Review ACLS course material, practice online sessions, video tutorials, and mock tests.

Find the group to understand the unique challenges and other ACLS concepts that you were not aware of.

Seek help from ACLS instructors if you are struggling with some specific areas, like resuscitation stimulation and much more. Please note: There are other areas to consider as well, so getting advice from your professional ACLS instructor will be the right move. To get ACLS recertification, speak to your ACLS instructor regarding the policies and procedures for recertification.