I took the CPNE in Feb of this year. Passed with no repeats. I went to CHE workshop in San Jose, California. There were several people there that had already been to the Excelsior workshop and said they did not feel they were prepared after taking it. They said it was crowded and many of the questions that were asked of the instructors were not answered because "That's not what we're here for" whatever that means. Read the reviews on at www.cheducation.com
and you will find many people raving about how wonderful it was. It was a very intense 12 hours per day for 4 days. There is a huge classroom with stations and hospital beds set up just as you will find at the CPNE. She will not accept more students than she has epuipment to allow ample practice time. There were 15 or so people in the class when I took it. Everyone passed the first time. The average pass rate for the CPNE is around 66 percent. The cost is 500 dollars and as a student you can stay at the Holiday Inn Express for half price. I would definately recommend that workshop before the CPNE if you can possible afford it.
CAUTION: It is definately possible to pass the CPNE without taking a workshop but YOU WILL NOT PASS IF YOU DO NOT STUDY!!!! Everything that is expected of you is in the Study Guide. It is not enough to say, of course I can do an abdominal assessment or respiritory assessment, you have to do it including every step listed in the study guide and in many cases in the correct order. WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO, DO NOT "WING IT"!!!
Good luck to you,
BTW, I took my CPNE at Grady Memorial in Atlanta. Everyone was fair and sometimes even a little forgiving. Noone went out of their way to increase your stress level. It was a pretty good experience for us all. Six people tested, six people passed!!