- 9Feb 2, '13 by Cessna172I haven't posted in quite a while, but I read allnurses almost daily. Yesterday, I took the AANP FNP test and passed, which of course was a relief. For the past several months the posts about people either passing or failing the exam were of special interest to me, so that I could see what might help me pass. There seemed to be alot of variations in what helped one person vs another, and I came to my own conslusion that there is not a "cookie cutter" recipe for studying. So, I am going to give you my little contribution, in the hopes it will be of help to someone preparing for the test, as I was recently.
I graduated in December, got my letter to test in early January, and I put off deciding when I would test because I thought I would have a revelation that I am ready. I could see that revelation wasn't going to come, so I chose a date and scheduled it. At least I knew that I have X number of days to prepare and I work better under pressure anyway.
At first, I assembled every book and note or printout that I had since beginning school. The dining room (my official study area) looked terrible, but everything was in one place should I need it. I had signed up for the APEA live review course, which was the weekend of Jan 12. My original strategy was to review my books, and refresh my memory, I realized that would take forever. I started officially studying after my son returned to school after Christmas holidays were over for him. I had also bought the Fitzgerald CD's a long time ago, and have listened to them off and on in my car, but they didn't especially help me on the test. I bought her review book in early January, and I found it very helpful!
The APEA review was also excellent, and I highly recommend it. However, the review alone would not have helped me pass. After the review, I came to realize that going through all my books and notes would not be the most effective use of my time. What would be effective would be to use the resources by APEA and Fitzgerald, since they seemed better for test prep than just rereading books. I purchased APEA's online testing and a couple of the "predictor" exams. In my opinion, that helped tremendously. The online testing has rationales to the questions, and when I wanted more info, I simple looked it up in my textbooks. I studied using the Fitz book and APEA site for the majority of my study time and they were very helpful.
Also, it's a good idea to refresh your memory on guidelines, such as JNC VII, GOLD for COPD, ATP III, and refresh your cranial nerves. Now I'm gonna have a bonfire with all those notes I have, LOL. Hope this helps someone.
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- 0Feb 3, '13 by Patti_RNYes, this does help! I won't take the exam for another year, but I plan on studying for it the way I studied for the NCLEX: while I was still in my early semesters of nursing school. I bought study materials and did practice exams way before I could answer 1/3 of the questions correctly. Doing the practice exams actually helped me with the exams in nursing school. I just started looking for AANP study materials, and wasn't sure what to buy. Your suggestions are great; I'll be ordering them this week. Thanks!
- 1Feb 4, '13 by LindaBrightCongratulations! That's a hard test, but it seems like you put in the work and were successful! I think it is fantastic that this community has been such a help, there is nothing like the power of community, especially in nursing. We don't get the same sort of depth, sometimes, in the day-to-day interactions in school or on the floor. Being able to share, learn and help each other is amazing. Congrats again!!
- 3Feb 21, '13 by takotsubo82Congrats Cessna. I too passed my FNP AANP board on Feb 2. This was my second time taking the test. The first time was a hot mess. I flunk the first three questions and it just went down from there. My study skills were ineffective and I had too many personal things going in my life during that time. I studied from both Fitzgerald and Barkley, but were too focused on practice questions from Leik (probably was my biggest mistake). I kept failing these questions and contradicted myself w/ my studying materials.
My suggestion to those who are going to take this exam is to really understand the main concepts in depth. The second time I took the test, I knew what to focus on my study. Remember you are not going to manage DKA, MI, and Stroke unless you are a ACNP. So you don't know need to know much in depth about those things, but just recognize that it is an urgent matter and need to refer out. After two months of reviewing contents, I decided to lock myself in my room and go to the public library everyday (I am single and unemployed). No Facebook and computer.
It's true assessment is key to passing this test. At least it was for me. When I got my scores back the first time, assessment was my biggest weakness. I looked up any assessment that I didn't know in the second time studying such as Lachman test, Apley, and Romberg. If you don't recognize something, don't pick it as answer.
Finally anxieties... another reason why I failed the first time. I didn't sleep well the night before. I almost vomit getting out of the train station before taking my test. During the second time, I knew I was ready. I had confidence and slept okay the night before (had to take Ativan 3 nights before the test).
Know your contents. You know you are ready when you can recall all the main concepts on the top of your head. For example if someone asked you about "cauda equina". You'll know the diagnosis w/ the info they give you in the stem of the question, but what will you do. Order an x-ray? Refer to ED? NSAIDS? Reassurance?
FYI some of the questions did came up twice.
So to sum it all up:
1. Study contents, not practice questions. Take notes. Once you have a generalize review of the materials, focus on 3 body systems per day. Keep going over these each day and add on 3 more until you have mastered everything. Go back to your health assessment book and look things up you don't recall learning from school.
2. Isolation from the world for a while
3. Get all of the personal problems out of the way while you are studying (breaking up w/ bf, jobless, moving, family issues--- this was all me)
4. Make flash cards. I made nearly 400.
5. Eat well, sleep well, consistent life schedule.
6. Pray if you believe in God. I started going to church again on Sundays after many years.
7. When all of these is done, organize it in a pile. Take a picture to save the moment and get ready for the burning man ceremony in your fireplace.
It's been almost 3 weeks since I passed. I am now looking for NP jobs in the bay area, but it's so saturated here. I may have to move to follow my dream. You can do this friend! Just believe in yourself.
If you don't pass, you can do your 15ce credits for free from AANP https://cecenter.aanp.org/Program?area=All It saved me money to take the AANP again. It also gets easier the second time, maybe because I was prepared this time
- 0Feb 21, '13 by Cessna172Congratulations on passing, that's a great accomplishment. Sounds like you have some great tips for those preparing for the exam. I hope you job search goes well too. I know what you mean about anxiety, it was tearing at me too, and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me when I passed the test. Thank you.
- 1Feb 21, '13 by takotsubo82As to what materials to use for studying. I studied both Fitzgerald and Barkley. I find that Fitzgerald is too details, but she does cover some information on back pain like cauda equina,orbital cellulitis, and giant cell arteritis that Barkley didn't go over. Honestly, she's quite obsessed w/ microbiology and P450 inhibitor, which I didn't think you really need to know for the test. However, it's good to know for personal knowledge when prescribing antibiotics. Barkley breaks down each disease process in steps, much easier to absorb. I reviewed Fitzgerald book once, but used my Barkley's workbook to go over my contents each day. I also listened to both lectures on CDs, but even that was too much to absorb. Don't just rely on these CDs, I thought I was an auditory learner, boy was I wrong the first time I took the test. I Hope this helps. God bless.