Healthcare providers that deal with emergency services or acute care need to acquire an Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification. The certification will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to administer important interventions in case a patient is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency such as a stroke or cardiac arrest.
Taking an ACLS certification will help to expand your knowledge and know how to perform emergency resuscitation. Apart from this, undertaking the certification can help your career in the nursing field as many emergency services and hospitals require it. The certification is even more valuable if you obtain it through the American Heart Association (AHA).
Before taking an ACLS certification, make sure that it is recognized and approved by the AHA. Otherwise, it won’t be valid. The AHA requires that all ACLS certifications to include a written exam and a practical test where you have to prove your skills.
There are two ways in which you can study for an ACLS certification:
- Study at home using online resources
- Go to classes available in your area
If you choose to enroll in local classes, choose those that are offered by hospitals or medical educational facilities. The classes are usually offered for a fee.
Studying ACLS Certification Online
If you cannot find ACLS certification classes in your area or do not have time to attend the classes, you can study online. To study online, you will need to find excellent resources that will help you to understand the concepts of ACLS and guide you through the practice tests and exams.
Below, we have reviewed the best ACLS study guides you can use if you opt to study online.
Best ACLS Study Guide Comparison Table
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ACLS Study Guide Reviews
This is a great book if you are looking for ACLS certification or recertification. The book is approved by the American Heart Association and is recommended for all ACLS classes. In fact, the authors are the ones involved in coming up with the examination topics.
In the book, you will find detailed information on what you need to know regarding ACLS exam. The book has clear explanations and comes with a number of learning aids such as the ACLS Pocket Reference Card Set to help you understand the concepts of ACLS. Other learning aids that come with the book include:
- The ACLS Cardiac Arrest, Arrhythmias, and Their Treatment card
- The ACLS Acute Coronary Syndromes and Stroke card
However, one thing we noticed is that the book does not have practice question or tests.
- The authors are involved in putting together the ACLS examination
- Approved by AHA
- Has clear explanation
- Compact, lightweight and easy to carry around
- Goes in-depth into everything you need to learn for the ACLS certification exam
- Does not have practice questions or tests
Another ACLS study guide you should check is the ACLS Study Guide from ECC. This is a well-organized, comprehensive guide that will teach you how to provide the best emergency cardiovascular care. The book is easy to read and has hundreds of colorful illustrations and photos that make it easy to understand difficult concepts.
The ACLS Study Guide has everything you need to understand ACLS concepts, from airway management to cardiac arrest rhythms. The book also covers topics such as electrical therapy, acute strokes and coronary syndromes, and others.
The ACLS study book has up-to-date information about ACLS algorithms and dozens of helpful case studies that will help you understand how to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life situations. The case studies will help you understand how to administer the correct medication, apply your skills in cardiac rhythm interpretation, and more.
What we love about this book is that it has case studies in each chapter. Therefore, after finishing a chapter, you can apply the theoretical knowledge to gauge your understanding of the topics covered.
You will also love the ACLS pearl boxes that come with the ACLS Study Guide, 5e. These boxes have a brief explanation of complex topics, which improve your understanding of the process.
There are also end-of-chapter quizzes to help you internalize the concepts you have learned. The quizzes will help you identify your weaknesses and how well you are prepared for the ACLS certification test.
- Has dozens of case studies that will help you understand how to apply theoretical notions to real-life situations
- Comprehensive and in-depth information
- Has dozens of illustrations and photos
- Well organized material
- Contains some advanced material that you may not need for your ACLS certification
The ACLS Review Made Incredibly Easy is a great ACLS preparation guide. This book is well-organized and presents difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. The book makes many of the boring definition of ACLS easy to remember.
The book’s content presents step-by-step directions on the latest ACLS treatment algorithms. Here’s what you will find in the ACLS study preparation book:
- IV and invasive techniques
- How to manage the first 30 minutes of a cardiac episode
- How to apply different procedures and the devices you would need for each procedure, e.g., pacemakers, intubation, ventilation, etc.
- How and when to administer CPR
- How to identify and manage various cardiac rhythms
- How to apply current treatment algorithms
- Up to date information on interventions such as adult cardiac arrest algorithm, defibrillation, and basic life support skills
- Up to date information and standards on cardiovascular pharmacology
There’s even more comprehensive information in the book.
We also love this ACLS study guide because it has colorful illustrations and diagrams that will help you understand various core concepts and interventions.
The book also has easy-to-read reviews of the exam content and is helpful to both students and healthcare professionals. There is valuable information on how the exam works and various study strategies you can use to prepare for the exams.
You will get even more insight into ACLS through various special sections that cover:
- Tips on identifying and interpreting arrhythmias
- Real-life case scenarios on how you can apply ACLS interventions correctly’
- Advice from experts on how to solve problems that may arise during interventions
- Quick summary of each chapter
- Dozens of colorful illustrations and diagrams
- Practice quizzes and tests that are similar to the questions asked during ACLS examination
- Breaks down complex concepts to make them easy to understand
- Well laid out content that is easy to follow
- We found some editing errors and typos
To begin, the ACLS Provider Manual Study Guide is not officially endorsed by the American Heart Association. However, the guide comes in handy when you want to review the knowledge you have learned.
There are five important sections you should check in this ACLS study manual:
- Stroke and acute coronary syndrome management
- What is a Mega Code and what is the standard procedure
- ACLS and BLS surveys
- Important information on resuscitation
- How to recognize basic dysrhythmias
The information above is not as comprehensive as we would have loved. Therefore, if you are already familiar with the basics of the concepts, you will find the information seriously shallow.
The most important part of the book, and in our opinion, the most useful, are the 160 review questions. The questions will greatly help you to test your knowledge and understanding of ACLS topics.
- Has 160 review questions
- Great as a supplementary material
- Does not cover topics comprehensively
This is a 130-page guide that has the latest ACLS treatment algorithms and procedures. The book is well-organized and explains ACLS concepts in a simple manner. However, not everything is covered. Therefore, the book is better for ACLS practice or revision sessions rather than learning from scratch.
The ACLS Certification Exam Q&A with Explanation has updated and well-designed reviews. The book comes with 101 practice questions and is quite affordable.
By going through the questions, you will be well prepared to answer any ACLS question. If you are already familiar with ACLS questions, you can use this book’s questions to assess your preparedness of the exam.
We recommend this book to healthcare professionals (dentists, residents, paramedics, nurses, and physicians that would like to recertify their ACLS. You will, however, also find the book useful if you have gone through the necessary resources and want a quick way of testing what you have learned.
We love the tips presented in the book, which include:
- Myths about the AED and why you should not believe them
- How to memorize lots of new information
- How to survive your first code and how to use the experience to improve yourself
You can also keep up with the author through her YouTube channel where you can get more tips on how to use the guide. The author is also available on email in case you would like to get in touch with her personally.
- You can get in touch with the author directly
- Great material to update your knowledge as a healthcare professional
- Great book to use for reviewing the information you already know
- The content is organized well
- The practice questions will help you get familiar with the ACLS certification exam
- The author does not go in-depth into the concepts covered
Editor’s Verdict: Best ACLS Study Guide
Attaining ACLS certification can be quite difficult as you will be dealing with life-threatening emergency situations. You will have to know how to react and the procedures to implement when a patient’s life is hanging in the balance. Therefore, there is no room for mistakes.
For this reason, you should be well prepared for the exam by studying well. This is why we recommend you buy the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) Provider Manual 2015 Guidelines. This book is approved by the AHA and explains in depth everything you would need to be certified in ACLS.
If you want to expand your knowledge, you can also get the ACLS Study Guide, 5e. This book, however, has more information than you would need for the exam.