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    okay all,
    i successfully took the ancc's exam last wednesday and had a poster ask me a few questions about the acnp exam. i will repost their questions here and will try to answer any other questions you may have about the exam. also, some other acnps may be able to offer an alternative perspective/pointers that i hadn't thought of.

    *please note: i will not be posting specific questions from the exam as i don't think it would be fair, but i will give you an idea of what to expect. plus, you can go here to see sample questions:

    [original poster: yellow finch]
    while it's still fresh in your mind... spill the details of the exam!
    1. what should we look forward to?!?
    2. how long would you say you spent?
    3. what did the questions focus on?
    4. were the questions diverse in the field?
    5. any specific advice you would give?

    first of all: it is not as bad as you think it will be. seriously.

    1. you can look forward to 175 questions, 150 of which count and 25 are simply "uncounted" questions for their evaluation - but you do not know which questions do not count. you will also note an allotted time of 4 hours: 30 min for the tutorial and 3.5 hrs for the exam. the test is administered in a prometric/sylvan learning center. you should not have any difficulty with recognizing medications - they give you both the brand and generic names. the questions, surprisingly enough, do not try to trip you up. they are very straightforward and fair. there were no "double negative" type of questions, and i think i may have only had 2 "all of the above/none of the above" if that many. also, you are able to go back to previous questions during the exam and you are able to "mark" questions you aren't sure of to review at the end of the exam, time permitting.

    2. i spent exactly 2 hours on the exam, including the 30 min tutorial.

    3. & 4. the questions were quite diverse. if you download the ancc test blueprint (available at you will have a very good idea of what to expect on the exam and what types of problems may be included on the exam. i was fortunate in that many of my questions were cardiac-related. i had a lot of blood pressure control questions, myocardial infarction recognition, a couple "what would you order first?" questions, role questions (e.g. "in which of the following scenarios are you fulfilling the role of educator? collaborator? interdisciplinary team member?" etc.). there were a few questions that were a bit "uncomfortable" for me, but they were not unfair or unreasonable.

    5. not to be an advertisement or anything, because i am sure there are other great reviews... but the review by dr. thomas barkley ( was invaluable. i know that i would not have as well had i not gone to this review course. let's just say that he is very well aware of what is on that examination. he was apart of the first acnp class to take the exam and has had his hand in its development (in the past) and has been teaching review courses for it for a very long time. he is hysterical... and an excellent educator! he basically teaches you the entire acnp program in 12 hours, but it doesn't feel overwhelming. the course is expensive ($300+), but very well worth it! i cannot stress this enough, especially after knowing what is in his review manual vs. what was on my exam. *hint. hint* he stresses that succeeding on the test comes from mastery of the material... not from repeatedly going through practice test questions (the nclex was a test of minimal competency vs the acnp exam which is a test of mastery for certification). hence, you have to understand the "whys and hows" of a disease process. also, i did not really start reviewing the material until a few days before my exam. i wish that i had given myself a little more time to review. (keyword: "review.") this is not an exam you can "study" for. by this point, you should give yourself a little credit because you probably know more than you realize. you cannot expect to sit down and study for an exam that covers everything you have learned over the last 2+ yrs of your acnp program.

    and just fyi: at the barkley review, you will receive a notebook of "notes." basically, it is just condensed information that you have already learned. it's very well simplified, but has enough information for you to succeed on the exam and have a good foundation for practice. (just a side note: i also utilize barkley's practice guidelines for the acute care nurse practitioner, 2nd edition, 2008, for my protocols - and it is very helpful.)

    hope you find this helpful...

    Last edit by DaisyRN, ACNP on May 5, '08
  2. Visit DaisyRN, ACNP profile page

    About DaisyRN, ACNP

    Joined: Jun '03; Posts: 383; Likes: 166
    Cardiology ACNP
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Acute Care - Cardiology


  3. by   DaisyRN, ACNP
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    i just replied so this post could be easier to find for some people asking me about acnp test-taking strategies...

    best of luck to you all!

  4. by   yellow finch
    You rawk. Thanks for bringing it up again.
  5. by   DaisyRN, ACNP
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    another classmate just took her test and passed...

    she was unable to attend the barkley review, but bought his review cds and found them to be very helpful as well in preparing her to take the test... and pass.

    just another option...

  6. by   lifelong
    Hi Daisy, How long before your exam did you attend the review program? Did you attend a during weekend school? I ask becuase the closest one is coming July in Nashville. I live in Ohio and it's fairly close and I could drive. I don't graduate until November. Thoughts?
  7. by   DaisyRN, ACNP
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    well, i think the sooner after you go to the review that you take the test, the better. however, just going to the review will help if you regularly review the material until you test. i went to the review at the beginning of jan, then tested at the end of february. i do know that this girl i graduated with wanted to go to new york anyway, so she flew to ny for the review, then went shopping. so, you could make a vacation of it, if there's one closer to graduation.

    i looked and there's one in baltimore in the beginning of jan... that would be close to you too, huh? i know that its a bit out after nov, but it takes a while to have authorization to test from ancc, so that review may be right about the time you're allowed to test. that's what slowed me down... i took the review in january and was waiting on my auth to test until the end of feb. and i rushed everything i did... it just takes a while (think 6 wks or better).

    best of luck!

  8. by   yellow finch
    Our school is requiring us to test in the Fall from the APEA site to identify areas of knowledge deficits. They provide a CD set and, according to my instructors, past students have used their study programs. The school has a very high passing rate on the boards. Have you ever heard of APEA? Know anybody who used them?

  9. by   DaisyRN, ACNP
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    hey finchie :typing,
    well, i have not ever heard of that site, but i just kinda perused through it and some of the 'sample it' questions. seems okay... any review is gonna be helpful, but dr. barkley said (and now i understand why) that you shouldn't just do practice tests over and over because you aren't really learning the content (unless you truly look the answers up or they offer good explanatory statements).

    if that apea site offers good review materials (more than just practice questions), that'd be fine most likely. you just have to remember, this is a test of mastery, not familiarity. so, even though you may associate a particular topic in a question with a certain answer, unless you've reviewed more detail about the topic... you might miss it.

    and like i've said before, its a very fair test... but it still wants to assess whether or not you have a good understanding of the content, because some of the questions require you to think about the patho behind the disease its asking about. it's not just black and white, but if you are well-rounded in most of the key topics listed in the test blueprint at ancc, you will do absolutely great.
  10. by   rnhunter
    Hello everyone,

    I graduated from Wichita State University in December 2007. I took the ANCC ACNP exam Friday and successfully passed. It took forever to get clearance to test. I prepared for the exam by listening to Sally K.Miller review CDs from Fitzgerald Associates. I thought that they were well worth every penny. I listened to them about 3 times. I also used the Acute care Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination: Review Questions and Strategies by Barbara Todd. I thought that overall the questions were a little harder than the exam. However, they give really good rationales.

    John Hunter, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC
  11. by   christvs
    Hey Daisy-I forgot to tell you this: after reading about how much you praised Dr. Barkley's review course, I went online and bought his notes and CDs and have listened to almost all of them now. He really does a great job at reviewing everything. I also went to the Fitzgerald/Sally Miller course last month too, so I have two sets of notes to use for my review which is nice. Thanks again.
  12. by   jackieharmon
    Great information! Thanks for sharing!!