Hi, I wanted to add my input as a newly passed CCRN. I looked on this site for lots of tips and hopefully I can add a few as well.
I scored 111/125. In school I was a 4.0 student and have experience in MICU and SICU. This is the first exam I've ever taken where I had NO IDEA how I was doing as I was taking the test. There were many questions, approx 30-40 questions that were pretty obvious. Another 30-40 were more the type I had to think about and work through the patho. But the other 75 OMG! I had no idea. It was as if none of the answers were right and I had to choose the least harmful one or the one that looked like it was talking about the right topic. No joke!
It was heavy on cardiac drugs, specifically in combination with each other. I'm good with lungs, but there were some not-so-realistic scenarios that made the answer choices tough.
Prep: I watched the Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio videos. Although I learned a lot from these, I don't think they really did much for me on the exam. This was a surprise because of so much I'd read about her videos being so spot-on. Perhaps it was just the version of the test I received. That said, I still learned a ton of useful info from these videos that help me on my job every day so I certainly still recommend them.
PASS CCRN: Ignored the book mostly - did the CD practice questions for 3 weeks. I think the formatting of the practice questions is a good warm up for the actual exam, but still the content wasn't that well matched to the exam. I would say that reading and understanding the rationales of these questions lead me to learn/look-up more info that was the type which appeared on my test.
I think if you work in a critical care setting, actually practice critical thinking, and study your cardiac/neuro/lung basics you will be able to pass this exam. Prep for uncomplicated swan questions, basic ECG stuff, and a lot of questions regarding treatment of visitors, patient priorities, and choosing a policy vs. common sense. I'm not sure how to prepare for those - maybe it's in the book, but I wasn't focused on that at all.
Good luck to everyone! It took me 3 weeks of intermittently intense study. I was worried that I should've studied more but in the end - after the exam - I realized that there's nothing I would've studied past that point that would've given me more answers on the exam.
OH, the one thing LGV says in her video that is super true - they throw the crazy questions at you first - the ones that no one is going to be able to answer. Don't get discouraged! Just realize that's what's happening and move on!