I've been a neuro ICU for almost 4 years now. I work in a very busy neurosurgical unit, in a large teaching facility. When I say we get the worst of the worst, I'm not kidding. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty strong nurse and I LOVE this line of work.
That being said....
I took the CNRN exam on Nov. 10th. My hospital paid for me to go to two days of review (and paid for me to be there) and even paid for my first year of membership to AANN. The review was very good and was taught by a mixture of nurse educators, neuro NPs, APRN and MDs. I actually learned quite a bit and it cleared up some stuff that I wasn't sure about. Then, in addition to all that....my unit education gave me three books of articles and a couple sample tests to read. So, to make a long story even longer, I thought I was prepared out the wazzoo! LOL
Then the test came. Talk about feeling like a frigging idiot!! I seriously don't know why I even bothered to study! LOL It's honestly geared more toward floor nursing. Unfortunately, it's the one certification that floor nurses can take too. So, with that, there's less critical care stuff on that. There was a lot of rehab questions, therapeutic techniques questions and I probably had between 5-10 pediatric questions. I've not touched a baby in a clinical setting since I was in school!!! Agh!!!
So, what can I tell you to study? Well, you should have gotten the breakdown for the percentages of questions on each test. If you didn't, then let me know, and I can email you the one from my test, it probably won't change a whole heck of a lot. Oh, and if you want some good articles, I can hook you up there too! The largest majority is, of course, CVA stuff. Make sure you really know your Circle of Willis and what each section supplies on the brain and what's in that area of the brain....such as Broca's area, Wernicke's area, the motor strip, etc. Also, what symptoms/deficits you'll see with strokes in like the LMCA, Acom, etc. Thank goodness for me that this was all drilled in our heads during our unit orientation....it does help though.
Truth be told, I kinda felt like it was pointless to study. There was a few things that I refreshed myself on prior to the test that helped, but overall, I don't think studying helps a whole heck of a lot.
Oh, and do you understand how the test is actually scored and how you pass??
What I didn't know until I was in the review class is that they grade the test on a curve. So, depending on how well someone does, depends on how high the curve will be set. Then, only the top 80% nationally will pass. So, in theory, you could do well, but still not pass.
Also, questions are weighted differently and are worth different numbers of points. So, you and your friend could get the same number of questions right, but she would fail because you answered more difficult questions worth more points.
And, like the state boards, there are test questions on there, but you don't know which ones are the test ones. So, if you get them wrong, it doesn't count against you, but you get more points if you get them correct.
I still don't know if I passed, but hopefully I'll find out soon. Our unit has a very good pass rate (up until the last test, it was always 100%, but one guy failed last test).....I'm hoping that'll hold up for me too!! Cross your fingers for me!!
If you need any more info, let me know. I'll help any way I can.