Passed AANP FNP today. Useful Tips.
This article details at length what I believe any prudent NP student should do to adequately prepare for and be successful on the AANP FNP exam. It discusses relevant study materials, reviews, and other preparation tips that I found useful. I found similar posts to this during my preparation for boards to be very useful and therapeutic, and want to share my experience to give back to the community here in as thorough a way possible.
Today I passed my AANP FNP exam, two days after graduation. I used this website constantly to read tips and stories about people that both failed and passed, and can't be more thankful a forum like this exists. This is going to be long, but I would like to contribute my 2 cents for others like me that can't get enough info. I loved reading peoples in depth study tips. Here are some useful bits of info I think are important to success:
Attend a live review in person or online a month or 2 before you plan to test, or at the very least, buy CD's.
I don't think the company matters much. I went to a Fitzgerald live review at the beginning of November, and thought it was great for condensing and focusing all the information I learned over the last few years. Although I didn't care much for Fitzgerald herself (thought she was dry and arrogant), the content was great. I also went dutch with a classmate and bought Barkley CD's, which I LOVED. Whenever I heard his voice on the CD's I imagined Mr. Garrison from South Park and thought he was hilarious. Several classmates went to Hollier and Barkley live reviews and also found them to be completely worth it. The point is, they all advertise over 99% pass rates, so they're all good. If you want to eliminate any doubt, do it.
Get the APEA Q bank a month or 2 before you plan to test.
You get over 1000 questions available to you and the rationales are the most in depth of any practice question resource available. I found them to be much more difficult than the actual exam, and I thought there were several similar questions on the exam, although not nearly as complex. These questions help you retain why something is relevant or why it isn't. It also is very light on the non-clinical stuff, which the AANP has none of. Don't be discouraged when you start doing these questions in 10-20 question quizzes and absolutely bomb them. They're hard, and you'll get better.
Leik Fast Facts
Some of her Mnemonics (like for heart murmurs), saved me on the exam. I mostly just read the Fast Facts and Exam Tips in each chapter, and didn't focus much on the content since I already had the Fitzgerald and Barkley review manuals. Barkley tells you straight up that his review manual is all you need to study for the exam in terms of content, and he's right. The Fitzgerald manual is great, but has way more than you need and lots of sections that send you online to review additional content.
ExamEdge Practice tests for AANP
Reviews on this site are mixed for them, but I found them to be pretty useful even if they're not perfect. Take the tests on explanation mode to get rationales. This also helps you just bypass the theory and medicare/caid questions that trickle into the practice tests, and are not on the AANP. When I first started doing these exams I was scoring in the low 60's, and by the end was getting low 70's to low 80's. They are the most affordable practice exams for the money, and are a great way to track your progress over time despite some dumb questions that aren't on the AANP (like rarely asking you drug dosages, insurance, billing, and theory). I bought a couple practice exams from APEA and Barkley, but don't really think they were worth it for the money.
Take the AANP Practice Exam.
I know it's expensive at $50, but the questions on this are similar wording and structure to the real thing, and I had at least 4 questions from it that were word for word identical on the real thing. I actually took it twice, once at the beginning, and once at the end of my studies. I first scored a 64 back in August at the start of my last semester, and last week got an 87.
When you read this website and see lots of people saying they failed, it can freak you out, which can be a good thing if it motivates you to study, but too much stress is a bad thing. They are also a small minority of test takers. Remember, in 2013, 88% of people passed the AANP exam (some years over 90% pass). This isn't an exam that's out to screw with you. It's an honest exam. Yes there are questions that you will not know and be pretty clueless, but that's normal. As I went through the exam I marked on my scratch paper questions I was sure I got right, questions I had at least 50/50 chance, and questions I had no clue. When I submitted, I had a little over 100 questions I thought I knew, 35 questions I thought were 50/50, and about 15 I was clueless. You only need about 87 questions right to pass. When you are able to think of an answer before you have finished reading the question on a lot of the content, you're ready.
Good luck to everyone that will be taking the test soon. If you have any questions about study materials or want more tips, please don't hesitate to ask here, or just PM. I am absolutely happy to answer and give back.Last edit by Joe V on Dec 17, '14
About Riburn3, MSN, APRN, NP
Joined: Oct '07; Posts: 515; Likes: 1,023
FNP-C, AGACNP-BC; from TX , US
Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Internal MedicineDec 16, '14Congrats!! I just scheduled my AANP exam for December 30 (first date available...I was hoping to be done by the holidays (ugh!)). I love reading the tips and stories here also and knowing my scores on practice exams are close to those who post they're passing helps me not stress as much.
Hoping I can make a similar post to yours in a couple of weeks....Dec 16, '14Yeah, there was only one day available in my hometown the entire month of December, so I grabbed it. Just stay positive and you'll do well.Dec 20, '14Congrats Riburn3!
I am about halfway through Psych Mental Health NP school. Do you (or does anybody) know if these tips would be helpful for our exam as well? I've heard that there is a lot of the FNP material on the exam mixed into psych aspects of the questions.Dec 20, '14I honestly couldn't tell you how the psych exam is. I can say though if there's a national review for it, seize the opportunity to attend it somewhere.
Overall my advice is to start early. It's easier to study a little bit here and there for a long period versus cramming a ton of info in a short amount of time. Obviously the closer you get to exam time the more intensive it will be, but if you start familiarizing yourself early, it makes the later stages easier.Dec 20, '14Congrats Riburn3. I am a FNP student over 1 1/2 and I will be graduating in May 2016 (Only by the Grace of God) My Advanced Pharmacology course shattered my confidence and fear has slowly taken roots in my mind and every fiber of my being. I appreciate your tips and was wondering if you have any additional advice on how to excel in the last three clinical courses. Where do the Universities get their midterm and final exams from? I often studied from the beginning of the semester (textbooks, online questions, quizlet) only to barely making the grade. I am great on assignments, discussions and research however when it come to the multiple test exams I just crumble. Any tips on how to excel in NP school would be great, Please note I stated "excel nor survive." Thanks.Dec 20, '14Have you purchased one (or more) of the review texts? They are often good study material throughout school. Fitzgerald, Leik, etc.
For NP level exams, remember you either know the material or don't. You need to invest the time to make sure you know it. Discussions you can research and prepare for. Exams you need to already be prepared.
Sent from my iPhone.Dec 20, '14Yes, i second that. Fitzgerald, Amelie Hollier and Barkleys review books/CDs certainly helped me through my pharm and patho exams. Did i mention Leik's review book? I have other review books with questions and rationales. Those were very helpful. Like you, i studied the textbooks and notes but soon discovered our questions were mostly worded as actual review book questions. I leant a lot from doing questions and reading the rationales. If we were doing endocrine, i would read the concept in the textbook to have a basic understanding and then do endocrine in those CDs and review books etc..….guess what? My grades improved greatly! … Hope that helps...Dec 20, '14Also for quick review for clinicals (not so much for patho or pharm) I have been listening to a podcast called Physician Assistant Exam Review.
Guy is to the point on topics (signs and symptoms, diagnostics, general treatment) so not as helpful for the patho and pharm but, again, a good quick review. He's made it through many body systems and is still working on it.
I've realized the combination of reading, listening, and also looking up topics on YouTube to be a good combination for me.
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