How to Prepare for the ANCC FNP Nursing Exam

Posted by Christian Nicolini on

Taking your career to new heights can be exciting. At times, though, the process can be stressful, especially when a new certification is on the line. When all your hard work and years of schooling come down to a single qualifying exam, the pressure can be overwhelming. While it's important to push oneself, it's equally as important to arm yourself with the tools you need to meet your goals. Simply sitting down for the test and hoping for a passing score will get you nowhere fast.

Instead, take the time necessary to really invest in your ANCC studies. While there may not be a silver bullet method for getting a perfect score, there are some helpful strategies you and your classmates can use to ensure you pass. Tried and true study strategies can be the ace in the hole you need if you're feeling unsure about the test. After all, the rigorous certification necessary to become a nurse practitioner should not be underestimated.

Preparing for the ANCC FNP Nursing Exam

Understanding the nature of the ANCC Nursing exam is a great first step towards acing it. The ANCC-FNP stands for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Family Nurse Practitioner test. It's considered the baseline for anyone hoping to work as a nurse practitioner. After becoming certified, FNPs can provide many of the same services that doctors offer patients, like writing prescriptions, performing exams and making diagnoses. Most hopeful nurse practitioners sign up for the ANCC-FNP right after graduation. A passing score qualifies test takers for five years.

The test is made up of 200 questions to be answered over a four hour testing window. Not limited to just biology, the exam tests practical application of medical knowledge. The questions cover everything from the respiratory and endocrine system to population health and advanced diagnostic reasoning. Thankfully, those taking the test are only graded on 175 of the 200 questions asked. The other 25 are simply beta-test questions to be used for future tests. To pass, test takers must receive a score of at least 350 on a scale of zero to 500.

Creating Your Study Schedule

Everyone's skill level and mastery of concepts are on slightly different levels, but those taking the ANCC-FNP should consider beginning their study plans at least six months in advance of the test. Meet with friends who are also studying for the exam and form a study group. It'll help keep you accountable and on track. The ANCC offers a helpful test content outline that can help you and your friends plot out which areas to focus on when. The outline even tells you the percentage of questions that come from each section. Create a calendar to review and study these concepts each week, then get together in person to quiz one another.

The best way to study for the ANCC-FNP, though, is to get real experience with the test-taking process. Standardized testing isn't something that comes natural to most people. Practice, however, can indeed make perfect. Studies show that answering questions in the same format as the exam for which you're studying is the best way to get the scores you need. Even better, the more questions you conquer while studying, the better you're likely to do on the real test. Exam Edge has no shortage of such questions, with more than 5,000 unique questions available in their bank of ANCC-FNP practice tests.

Given three times a year, the SLLA is based around the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, or ISSLC. While the test itself does not prepare educators for a career as administrators, it does gauge the knowledge and problem-solving abilities of test takers. Comprised of two sections, the SLLA test uses both multiple choice and constructed response questions to test the knowledge of future administrators. The 100 multiple choice questions revolve around the following five categories:

While you're taking practice exams and studying hard, remember that there's no penalty on the ANCC-FNP for guessing. Making educated guesses and using a process of elimination approach to choose an answer is a great way to up your odds of answering a question you're unsure about. Try reading the entire question and each answer choice before selecting an option. You'd be surprised at how frequently your gut feeling will get you the right answer!

The Big Day

When it comes down to the day of the test, there's nothing like a good night's sleep, full stomach and relaxed attitude to set yourself up for success. Make sure to plan for an early bedtime the night before and a protein-centered breakfast like eggs or yogurt before the exam. No food or water is allowed in the test room, so be sure to quench your thirst before heading inside. Of course, it's always a good idea to make a restroom stop before beginning a long test, too! While you can stop and take a break to use the bathroom during the test, the four hour clock doesn't pause while you're away. Make careful use of your time or risk running short.

When it comes to the ANCC-FNP, there's no such thing as being too prepared. Because the test is so important and so lengthy, it's crucial for future nurse practitioners to devote many hours to studying. Thankfully, online practice tests through Exam Edge offer a proven leg up on traditional study strategies. Initial practice exams are free of charge, so there's no reason not to start studying now. 

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