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rninme, MSN, APRN 8,486 Views

Joined Jun 12, '06 - from 'somewhere in Downeast Maine'. Posts: 1,729 (9% Liked) Likes: 252

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  • Aug 31

    I would say no one is ever really 'ready' to be an NP. What quantifies being 'ready'? Is someone who has 10 years working in a nursing home more 'ready' than a 2-3 yr nurse in a busy ICU? Or is the 3 year RN in the innercity trauma ER more ready than the 3 year suburban ER nurse?

    I think it comes down to this; if you want to take the challenge of going back to school and learning new things than go for it. If you want to advance your career and take on the challenges of being the decision maker than go for it. I've been an NP for almost 4 years now and I can tell you everyday I learn something new. Medicine is so vast that you will never be able to learn it all, thus my argument of how can you define being 'ready'. If you want the responsibility of diagnosing patients, ordering/interpreting studies and labs, prescribing medications and creating a plan of care than go for it. You may not know now, but that's why you go to school. It takes a lot of time and sacrifice to complete so I would advise you once you go back to put your whole heart into it.

    Ill leave you with a great quote:

    You do not go to school and study to pass a test. You go to school to study so that when the only thing between a patient's life is you and death, you will know what to do.


  • Aug 15

    I wanted to make this post for one reason, a positive review. When I was reading about FNP certification there were far more negative reviews than positive. Here is my personal experience. I have a very varied background from ED, ICU, management, to flight nursing. Total of 212 credit hours with MSN and FNP track with certification in AANP exam. Your training and education at your school shall prepare you to test. I attended USI and was well prepared. It is not much different than Press Ganey scores, only the angry patients turn them in. The same could be attributed to the AANP exam as well, and I dare guess the ANCC (although there are theory questions here which I hate). People who have had a poor experience need a venue to vent. I passed this am, 150 questions in 54 minutes. I felt fairly confident. Study prep was only the Fitzgerald online review (most of it), over the weekend and I did take the practice test available through the AANP. This test was very representative of the real test, and some questions were exactly the same. Knowledge is prep, and you'll be fine. I just wanted to be one who posted a word of encouragement to those about the take the test. We always tend to think of those few we know who failed the exam, rather than the many we know who already passed and are practicing. Focus on the positive and not the negative. PS, if you test in Indianapolis stay there the night before, and beware the GPS will NOT take you to the testing center. Good FYI.

  • Jul 26

    Took the FNP exam today and PASSED!!! I graduated in 2010 and never took the boards due to life situations. I honestly studied for 6 hard weeks, last two weeks I took off from work and studied 7-8hrs per day. With a 1 and 2 year old toddlers it wasn't easy but I had a study plan. I used Leik Review book which I highly recommend for the clinical aspect of the it from front to back 2 times. I also did Fitzgerald online review course and review book, great depth of knowledge. (The questions in her book were very similar to the ANCC questions on the test) I did some of the FamilyNPprep questions which was not reflective an iota of what the real was like. Another book that GREATLY helped me was Windland-Brown review, particularly the Exam portion and Issues in primary care. This book is very in depth and I love that it has rationale which helped me alot especially with the non-clinical portions of the exam. There were a few research questions that asked to rank in order of strongest to least research, pictures of the eyes, hypertensive and diabetic retinopathy and musculoskeletal pics. There were a fair amount on drug safety esp. in pregnant women. The drugs were some of the older, commonly drugs. There were lots of Asthma on the exam and cultural questions. I like the fact that you can mark the questions and go back later to it. I must have marked about 15 questions and change my initial answers after looking at it deeply. Overall it was a fair exam. Not tricky at all. Good luck to all!!!

  • Jul 18

    I'm probably older than all of you, and it's an issue I've been thinking I really want to spend all that time and money at this stage of my life.

    I start my 1st class next month

  • Jul 18

    I graduated NP school at 44 after years of being an RN. My advice-- do it now, don't wait.

  • Jul 9

    I passed the FNP ANCC certification this week and I wanted to share my study strategies since this website was so useful to me in my preparation!

    Here's what I did:

    I graduated May, 2016. I took two days off per week from my job to study for boards. I signed up for the ANCC which was a relatively smooth and easy process. I blocked out a calendar to study for approximately 6 weeks. Each day, I reviewed a system/topic and did 50-100 practice questions. I am a huge anal retentive list-maker, so I would check off my progress and this motivated me to stay on track with studying. I then made notecards for my "trouble areas" and things I felt I needed to memorize, such as ABX, Tanner staging, dermatology, etc. I took my test the first week in July and I passed. I took about 6 weeks of studying, therefore I wasn't "cramming" and didn't feel pressure to rush through material I needed more focus on!


    • I took the Barkley Review in January, 2016. I took this because I thought it would give me more time to study, however looking back, I feel I should have waited and taken it closer to graduation. It was basically a crash-course of everything we learned in graduate school compiled into 2.5 days. He was an excellent lecturer, however this really was not my style of learning. I did use the book provided to me during this course to study from and focused on the "PEARLS" of the exam which were helpful.
    • I bought the "Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review 2nd Edition" book which was hands down, the BEST resource. It's basically the "quick and dirty" of the ANCC. This is the book I felt prepared me for the ANCC. I went through all of the chapters and systems and utilized this to focus on the theory, insurance, billing, etc. portion of the ANCC exam. There were 650 practice questions in the book which were also very helpful!
    • I also used the Family Nurse Practitioner Review Secrets Revealed" book for the questions, however I did not use it for anything else.
    • The FNP mastery phone app was awesome- I would answer questions when I was in bed, waiting for friends, etc. It was $30 and worth every penny!
    • The week before the test, I stopped doing practice questions, focused on my problem areas, and reviewed the Leik book PEARLS one more time.

    Almost Test Time:
    I am very superstitious and like my RN boards, I only told two people when I was testing. I had scheduled my boards for July 5th, so when my friends knew I wasn't coming out to party, I'm sure the suspected my test was happening soon! The day before the test I didn't study, I watched movies, worked out, and relaxed. I was SO nervous all day, sick to my stomach, palpitations, etc. I just kept reminding myself that I was prepared! My test was at 8am, I woke up at 4am, 5am, etc. SO nervous that I would miss it! I arrived an hour early, was checked in, went through a metal detector, had to empty my pockets, sign in, verify my ID, etc. This process was slightly intimidating but the staff at the testing center were very calming!

    The Test:
    I have never been so nervous or unsure of myself. The test is composed of 200 questions, however 25 are used for future test question development. It took me about 2 hours to go through the 200 questions the first time around and I marked the questions I needed to go back to. If a question was too "wordy," I would mark it and come back to it. At my two-hour mark, I took a quick bathroom break and returned. The test was not at all what I expected. It contained many non-clinical questions which were still difficult, however I was able to figure out with some deep thinking! My exam was all over the place, from derm to cardiac to pulmonary to ethics to leadership, etc. You name it, it was on there. I felt well-prepared, however hitting the "submit" button gave me the biggest stomach-drop EVER.

    The Results:
    I went to the area to get my results and of course there were four people sitting there! AHHHH-Noooo, what if I failed? They are going to see me ugly cry!!! The nice man sitting at the desk asked for my ID and signature and I blurted out "DON'T SAY MY RESULTS OUT LOUD!" Everyone looked at me like I was a bit crazy, but he said "don't worry, I never do." I saw the sheet of paper laying on the desk and saw the word "Congratulations!" This was one of the BEST moments of my life! All of my hard work and dedication have paid off-finally. Anyways, he handed me the paper, I started happy-crying, hugged the four people around me in the testing center and was on my merry way!

    Bottom Line:
    I've struggled with test anxiety my whole life. I've done well in school and have to work hard to get good grades and do well on exams. This may seem impossible to some, but it is SO doable and the best feeling after you're done.

    Best of luck to everyone testing!

  • Jul 6

    Xeno, I am working inpatient acute unit, doing consult liason and carrying a caseload. My collaborating psychiatrist is awesome and loves to teach. For my salary I was lowballed by HR (typical for them) and fought long and hard with the backing of my director and psychiatrist to get a 30k increase. I'm very happy with that.

    I worked per diem on this unit as an RN so it is familiar ground, and I do love acute psych. I am also very pleased with having a psychiatrist with decades of experience who is just amazing

  • Jul 6

    I passed my boards for the ANCC AGPCNP exam yesterday on the first try. I used the Barkley Review home study, Fitzgerald NP certification book and the Leik book on the Kindle app on my phone. I listened to the CD's non stop and made flash cards. When I made the flash cards I used all three resources together at the same time and included info from all three. This helped to eliminate incorrect information and bring the concepts together. I bought the Fitzgerald book during my second clinical rotation. The test is 200 questions. When I wasn't studying the flash cards, book or Barkley manual- I was studying the Leik book on my kindle app on my phone. I felt very prepared with these 3 resources. I would recommend visiting the ANCC website, there is a practice test. The main concept that assisted me was mastering the material and not doing question banks. When I had mastered the material I was able to answer questions with great confidence from any test bank correctly. When I sat for my boards, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I would suggest reviewing pictures of skin and eye conditions online. This helped me when answering questions from test banks and during my exam.

  • Jun 29

    Ok ya'll....I took the ANCC FNP board exam last evening and PASSED!!! If I can do it, I know you all can too. I will embarrassingly admit that I took and failed the AANP board exam first (failing by just 7 points!). I rushed into that exam by taking it 2 weeks after graduation and not giving myself enough time to REALLY study. I hate myself for it and advise that you do not make that same costly mistake. Please allow a full 6-8 weeks of steady studying to really be prepared. There are so many body systems, so much to know about each system, that one can never study it enough because you have no clue what part of that system the exam will ask about.

    The exam questions are much harder than the practice questions, however, the practice questions get your brain thinking and learning the material so you have the skills to break down the actual exam question and have a higher chance of choosing the correct answer.

    I did not attend a live Review course because my school made us do Margaret Fitzgerald video course which came with a review book. I went through these videos 3 times, making note cards for studying. I also have both the APEA (Amelie Hollier) and Barkley CDs and review books. I listened to both of these twice. Each time I would add something different they had said to my note cards so the note cards had info from all 3 major instructors. I cannot say one instructor is better than the other because they all have good material. I think one's personality may relate better with a particular instructor's teaching style.

    As for AANP vs ANCC. AANP is 100% clinical. I was just not prepared for all the clinical questions as I had not memorized lab values, the 1st line treatment for each diagnoses, and the recommended dosages. I had heard the normal lab value ranges would be on the exam so I did not memorize them. WELL...neither exam gives normal ranges so learn them! I also thought AANPs questions were worded in twisted ways to confuse you. AANP is strictly multiple choice.

    My ANCC exam seemed approximately 50% clinical and 50% nonclinical. The questions were very simple to understand, not written to try to confuse the reader. The clinical questions were not as intense as AANPs. The computer program also allowed you to highlight keywords and to "strike through" answer choices. I don't know if they helped but they were fun to use and may have allowed me to organize the question to better break it down. I was usually able to strike out 2 answers immediately and then thoroughly think through the remaining 2 choices. Most of the questions were multiple choice. I did have a few matching column A with column B, arrange these answers in order of strongest to weakest, etc. I had pick "two" or pick "three" of the following answers. I'm so glad there were no "check all"! I had a few pictures of the eye and Derm pictures. I felt prepared to read an EKG but I did not have one on my exam.

    ANCC: I totally agree with the first posting on this blog...Quoted "So as far as study advice I would say really really really really DO NOT SKIP OR GLOSS OVER epidemiology, all the technical jargon about nursing roles, standards of practice, quality improvement programs, risk management programs, sentinel events, root cause analysis, outcomes analysis, malpractice, CPT, ICD-10, incident to billing.

    Learn these definitions so well you can repeat them back including, if applicable, their precise names (International Classification for Diseases, Budget Reconciliation Act). If there are stated steps to the "risk management review process"- know them by name and in order. If you get these type of questions wrong on your practice exams, pay A LOT of attention and review, retest, try to fix. Don't think "ugh, whatever, I know what 'leadership' is"... they will ask it in strange ways". DITTO to all of that!!

    I had not studied any nonclinical material for the AANP exam so I had to really buckle down and review this material. I was so nervous about this part that I had great regrets about applying for the ANCC exam. that I have done it, it wasn't that bad at all! I think some of the answers will come to you because you have seen it before during your FNP program; things like ethics, research, billing, etc. Not as scary as I had thought!

    You have the ability to do this! You have successfully completed the FNP program. With dedication and determination, you can pass the FNP board exam too! Good luck to you all!

  • Jun 26

    Quote from rninme
    Something I forgot - with your Fitzgerald review - there are a bunch of online resources you should look through that aren't directly accessible from your online learning modules. Look for the tab marked Resources on the side under the NPxpert tab. Lots of information she doesn't directly touch on in depth but you will run into on boards. Do all the extra's she provides -- people that fail boards after using her live or online review usually haven't completed extra materials. Good luck!!!
    Thanks for the tips. Currently doing Fitz online review and I have the Leik book. Will buy boardvitals...will see how it goes. Thanks again

  • Jun 23

    Thank you for your advice. I am doing Fitzgerald Online Review now. Once I am done I am going to sit for the ANCC.

  • Jun 23

    Quote from rninme
    I passed the ANCC FNP exam today! Really didn't find it that difficult - but I have been studying for the past 2 years in preparation for today!! Have to say that Dr Fitzgerald's review and her other book were the keys to my passing. Lots of leadership questions - know research, policy, culture, ethical principals. Majority of questions were very straight forward - a couple I had to read several times to try and figure out just what question was being asked. Hopefully those questions were part of the non-graded section because they were very poorly written. Done is about 2 hours - but I have always been a fast test taker. Use the cross out function, very helpful in trying to zero in on the correct answer when unsure.
    Hello rninme, supper congratulations. I'm so happy for you. I'm new to this blog and you responded to my post. Thank you for that. Do you by chance have any study tips/study guide that could help and don't mind sharing? I'm terrified of ANCC exam...I don't know why. I started the fitz online review this Wednesday. My email is any study tip I will greatly appreciate. Thanks and congratulations

  • Jun 22

    I used this thread to see if I was on the right track for studying. I took the AANP exam yesterday and PASSED! Wooohoo! Anyway, I thought I should give my two cents about what worked for me and my thoughts about the test itself.

    What I did:

    Do to the logistics of graduation and my test date, I was unable to attend a live review. I ordered Fitzgerald's online review. I would complete one module following along in the workbook and making notes. I would then go to her prep book and read more in depth as she doesn't cover all diseases in the review course. This also allowed me to take quizes and see what I need to brush up on later. This process took me 3 weeks, studying monday through friday 8-5.

    By the time I finished this I was pretty burned out. I then took the APEA predictor exam, scoring 77%. I spent the next day brushing up on things I missed and took the exam again, scoring an 81%. They say anything 70+ is predictive of passing the AANP so my confidence was definately boosted! I took the exam on a Tuesday, so I took a break on Sunday and reviewed one last time on Monday, primarily flipping through the whole review workbook for ages and numbers that I often confuse.

    The Exam:
    I took the advise of someone on this thread and wrote down my MR. PASS MVP ARMS, and antibiotics for various diseases as soon as I sat down, before starting the exam. It gave me a chance to make sure I didn't confuse myself in all of the anxiety of taking the test.

    -I didn't get many pregnancy questions, only what meds are safe during pregnancy.
    -I had maybe 1 legal question.
    -Most questions were covered at some point during the review course.
    -Probably 25% of the questions: I had no idea if I chose correctly or not, don't panic!
    -Use the mark button so you can go back and review later. I think I only marked 4-5 but it gave me a chance to think about something else and return to the question so I didn't over think it.
    -The test took me about 2 hours, meaning I had about 90 minutes left when I finished.
    -Learn how to "take the test". Many times, at first glance I had no idea what the answer was. Through various strategies I was able to at least narrow it down to 2 answers and often down to the only possible right one. It's shocking, but you can do it from your knowledge and experience even if you know nothing about what they are asking!

    Good luck everyone!

  • Jun 22

    Hey everyone! Since everyone was so helpful with posting their results of passing the ANCC/AANP boards and the advice was very much appreciated, I figured I would post about my experience.

    I used the following resources to study for the ANCC:
    *Leik book- this book was very helpful (especially for some of the nonclinical topics she covers in the back of the book). Also, it was helpful for practicing taking questions because there are about 650 questions in the back of the book. She has helpful test taking hints throughout each chapter as well that are beneficial. I did not notice any repeat questions on the ANCC that was in the book per say, but it helped with learning the content.

    *Exam Edge questions: I used this website to practice taking questions. I bought 25 exams and took all of them. There are 100 questions per exam. Very few of the questions were repeated with each examination, so these questions were helpful in preparing for how to get ready for the boards. I will be honest and say there were no repeat questions on there that were on the ANCC. Although, it helped with learning more of the content that was on the ANCC boards.

    *Fitzgerald Blue review book: I used this book more throughout grad school than I did for the sole purpose of studying for ANCC. It is just too wordy. I repeated some of the questions I had previously taken in the book, but did not take many of them.

    *Past tests from roles/policy & research class from grad school: I used my old exams to review for these topics to help. I also reviewed the "research triangle" in my research books/notes.

    *APEA review book from live course: I used this book the most for the clinical portion of my exam. I really feel that this review course was super helpful. Unfortunately, I had to take it in January before my last semester of school for a grade, but the book was beneficial on its own as well!

    Okay, so I spent exactly 3 hours on the exam. I did not get up at all because it does not stop the time if you take a break. They give you 4 hours to take the exam and you have 200 questions. I had multiple select all that apply and drag and drop questions.
    This exam was difficult, but I studied hard for this exam. There are some questions that was on mine that I felt was a complete guess answer from me, because I had no idea. So, I narrowed it down to 2 answers and used my "best guess".
    The nice thing about this exam is that you can highlight words or sentences to help you pick out important info. You can also strike out answers that you have narrowed down as the incorrect answer to help avoid being distracted from those incorrect answers. Also, you can "mark" the questions to review them at the end if you have time. I did this for way too many and ended up not reviewing them because I have a policy that I have stuck with throughout school... DO NOT CHANGE YOUR ANSWER unless you are certain it is incorrect! I never change answers because my first choice is usually the correct one.

    Know the research triangle. Know about epidemiology, first-line treatments, & leadership. There are many questions with pictures that you have to interpret diagnosis or treatment. Familiarize yourself with different cultures. I had multiple peds questions as well. And, cancer questions. I will not go into detail what all was on the exam due to the inability to post that type of information or tell others what was on the exam.
    It is definitely half clinical and half nonclinical!

    Good luck to each of you! You've got this! Study hard and be prepared. Take a deep breath and ACE this test!!

  • Jun 18

    I am almost a year into an online FNP program. It certainly is a lot less rigorous than your program, but honestly I would prefer to be challenged like you describe in your program and actually feel like I'm being taught/learning something. Our 'classes' consist of assigned readings and writing discussion posts and replies to other students. There is absolutely no guidance, no lectures, and no constructive feedback as to whether or not you are truly comprehending the material. It seems that if you touch on the required talking points and follow APA you'll get an A regardless if you actually understand the topic.

    If I were you, I would stay in the program and be thankful that they are preparing you properly for graduation and the real world.