I took the ANCC exam yesterday...and passed, yay. I have been I psychiatric nurse in various capacities for 8 years. Truthfully, I bought the ANCC book a few weeks ago and probably studied for a total of 6-8 hours. The study questions on the website and in the book are not quite representative of the type of questions on the test. The study questions are more straightforward, whereas the test questions are much more obtuse. For instance: on the actual test, the questions are like: "A patient is admitted to the unit and has not slept in 2 days, cannot sit still for more than a few minutes, and has pressured speech. The nurse will provide nutritional support by:" ...and you have to choose from 4 options. Do NOT go too far in depth on the pharmacology or the brain A&P. There was nearly nothing on that. If anything on the meds, study side effects. The best thing I can say is that the ANCC study guide is a VERY good psych nursing book. I probably benefited more from reading that from cover to cover than I will for having the certification itself. Since it is so fresh in my mind, I will list some very specific things I remember from the test:
Yalom and group therapy: universality, curative factors (3 questions on this alone)
Asian culture: do you address the dad, mom, or child first? (not even kidding)
Lithium toxicity symptoms: they gave similar lists of symptoms, and I had to pick the right one
Who provides guidelines for psych nursing practice? (ANA, State NPA, etc)
Nursing theorist who focuses on relationships?
Difference in presentation between NMS and acetylcholine toxicity?
Examples of triangulation vs scapegoating?
Those are the more concrete questions I remember. But honestly, I think the studying only helped me on about 20% of the questions. The others are more like: what should you do first, what is the best strategy for.., what is the best response when the patient says... It's more about figuring out what they are looking for in those critical thinking questions. (ie - reflect what the patient says back to them rather than tell them what to do, etc.)
Well, that's my two cents... Good luck!