AANP FNP - My Experience & Exam Tips


Hey everyone,

I used this website a lot preparing for the AANP FNP exam so I just wanted to contribute now that I've passed the exam (today). I graduated from my program in December and I was super swamped with clinicals and school and did not study until after I graduated. The first month I got a little punch-happy with my newfound freedom, so I didn't really start studying until February. I unfortunately failed the first time I took the exam, for multiple reasons, not least of all my own unpreparedness. Looking back now, while the exam is still fresh in my mind, here are the resources that I used:

1) Fitzgerald Online Review and Book: I took the Fitzgerald Online Review first. It was helpful, but she focused on a lot of things that were not at all on the exam, which was definitely not helpful. Her book is pretty good, because the section gives a breakdown of each disease. She focuses a lot on specific bacteria, which you really don't need to know. She also generally asks more complex practice questions than are on the exam.

2) Leik Book: I really liked this book and would've studied it more if I had more time. I liked how it gave a classic case of each disease. She sprinkles in a lot of "exam tips" that tell you very clearly, "know ___". The questions that come in the book, which I think are also available online, are pretty helpful. They are a bit easier than the exam questions, but they cover the right topics.

3) APEA (Hollier) Online Review: So I used this after I had failed my first exam and I had a limited amount of time to prepare for the second exam. I preferred this one to the Fitzgerald one, and I know people have had varying opinions of both reviews. I felt that the Hollier review did focus more on the topics that you needed to know for the exam. She (rightly) states that the exam focuses more on derm and ortho, and for many questions I flashe back on something she said or something I saw in the review. Inever had a chance to get her book so I can't comment on that, but if you have the time, one of these reviews would be good. She also simplified a lot of the important topics that Titzzgerald makes a bit too complicated.

4) Practice Exams: I took quite a few of the APEA predictor ones and to be honest I kept scoring the same, which was borderline (69-73%). I would take this exam early or periodically, depending on how much money you're willing to spend, to guage where you need to practice, but don't take them too seriously. For one, each time you take it, there'll be some questions on a new topic that you haven't studied yet o r is obscure. Second, don't get too hung up on your results. Doing well won't mean you'll pass, and doing badly don't mean you'll fail. The AANP practice test does mention a lot of the important topics, but is a easier and simpler than the real exam. Exam Edge wasn't especially helpful for me, and the exam questions are not written really well or anything like the exam.

So basically after failing my first time, I took the APEA review course and after each topic, I went back and reviewed the topic in the Leik and Fitzgerald review books. This way, I not only beefed up on the topics she mentioned, but I was able to fill the gaps on topics that weren't mentioned.

Still, there were a few questions on the exam that mentioned something I'd never learned about. For a lot of the questions, I was between two answers. A few tips I can give looking back at the exam and stuff I've learned from other people on this website:

-For multiple similar diseases in a system, memorize what makes them different. E.g. Scarlet Fever v. Roseola: Roseola doesn't happen on face, scarlet fever peels

-For every disease memorize: 1) classical signs/symptoms, 2)what diagnostic test you will order 3) first line treatment

-Don't waste your time memorizing Medication dosages, especially if you don't have time. For the most part it's important to know which drug you're prescribing, not how much

-When in doubt, remember what is supported by guidelines or is safest!

-In the exam, identify what the question is asking you and just focus on that. They will sometimes give you extraneous information. Also, for each answer, justify yourself. If you can explain to yourself why it's right, you'll feel a lot more confident in the answer.

I know this isn't absolutely comprehensive and might not reassure all of you guys. I practically haunted this website in the last week, looking for reassurance that I was doing okay. Don't stress yourself out, but if you don't feel ready, don't feel pressured to take the exam. It's okay to reschedule until you feel ready.

Good luck!


4 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you that was helpful and I think I will do the same. How long did you take the exam after the APEA (Hollier) Online Review?



2 Posts


About a week and a half, but I had already scheduled my exam before I even started it. If you have the time, I would say give yourself at least a couple weeks to review everything.

Good luck!