ANCC FNP exam: My experience

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by GoodNP GoodNP Member Nurse

Specializes in Cardiology, Research, Family Practice.

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Tgreenrn

Tgreenrn

2 Posts

I just wanted to say I passed ANCC September 28th I found the exam had a good mix of clinical and nonclinical. I thought that the questions was worded easily And actually the pic questions was not hard at all and the exam was very straightforward. I studied Leik and the two books off the ANCC website I studied about 2 months for this exam. Now with that said I failed AANP on July 31st I was devastated I had studied for 3 months took a review and felt prepared but I found the test very.... Confusing and vague I really did not know half the time what they were asking. I focused on Fitzgearld the first time with AANP but for ANCC I studied Leik and the two ANCC books I took practice test and done well on those. I wish I had taken ANCC first but so many discouraged me because of the different types of questions but I found them to be well easy for me now I can move on best of luck to each of you

rn47038

rn47038

2 Posts

Thank you so much for the input from everyone. I will be taking my NP exam in spring of 2017 so I still have advanced assessment and clinical to go. Great to hear all the success stories!

MariaNP

MariaNP

1 Post

As I was studying for my boards, I checked out all of the posts from others who had already taken it. I paid close attention to what people said, the ones who passed and the ones who didn't. Since I felt that I really learned a lot from them, I wanted to give back a little and share some things about my experience with the FNP boards. First of all, I took both the AANPCP and the ANCC and passed both on the first try. You can, too.

First, let's talk about the tests themselves. Overall, the tests are very different. The AANPCP exam is strictly focused on clinical information. The test itself is 150 questions and you will get 3 and a half hours to answer them all. Some of them don't count because they are there for AANPCP to test out and see how people do with them. The content of the exam is exactly what the outline that is posted on the AANPCP website says – it covers everything. As Fitzgerald says ‘common things occur commonly' and that is what you will see on the exam. Think of the big things that you treat in primary care – COPD, asthma, GERD/PUD, diabetes, heart disease, hypercholestremia, etc. These are the things that we have to know in practice and this is what the AANPCP test writers want to be sure we do know before they agree that we have mastered the content. As many others have said, the normal lab values are given on the exam. Somewhere I heard that the values are given only once (maybe in a review course or on a blog, I'm not sure where) but I think there were a few that didn't have the normal values, too. So, just in case, it would be good to review common labs.

In contrast, the ANCC exam for sure does not give you the lab values of anything. If you are taking that exam, be sure to study those numbers! The clinical content on the exam covers the same areas as the AANPCP exam. Like the AANPCP exam, everything is on the blueprint that is posted on the AANP website. The ANCC website also has lots of sample questions that are helpful. Click on the FNP page and you will see the sample questions link on the left hand side. Do those, but also take the sample questions for all of the other NP tests – there are peds, gero, adult, etc. Family covers everything, so it's all good information - and ANCC is offering it to you for free! The questions on the real exam cover things commonly encountered in primary care - like I mentioned above. The questions, in my opinion were much more straightforward than on the AANPCP exam. However, there were lots of questions about culture, ethics, research, and professional roles. Again, this is all on the blueprint. I think if you are taking the ANCC exam, it is especially critical to take a review course to be sure that you know this content pretty well. If you do that and take the time to learn the material you will click right through those questions. The ANCC test has 200 questions and you get 4 hours to answer them all. So, you have to move a little quicker here than on the AANPCP exam. But, as I said, the questions are more straightforward so it's doable. One difference between the two tests is that there are some exhibits (photos, EKGs, etc) on the ANCC exam and these are not on the AANPCP exam. Some people get nervous about this but I found it helpful. There are also multiple multiple choice questions where you have to pick two or three answers and they there are a few where you have drop and drag. If you take the Fitzgerald course, there are some of these types of questions included in the online practice tests.

To prepare for this test, I would recommend taking a content review course like Fitz or Barkley (I'll talk more about them below) and using practice questions to help you narrow down the material and identify weak areas. Nobody knows everything, so the trick is to just figure out where you need to spend your time and what you already know. After all of those courses and clinicals, you know your stuff. But, trying to figure out what is most important is almost impossible without some guidance – that's where the review courses come in.

So, let's talk about your plan to prepare for the exam. Some sites recommend a 6-month plan. I would say that while you are in your program start preparing. I started at least one year before I finished. I borrowed an older set of the Hollier review CDs from a friend and listened to them in my car everywhere I went. Even though it was an older set, listening to them helped me to break up the content into chunks and get a handle on what types of things I needed to focus on. But, because it was an older set of CDs, I didn't memorize guidelines from that review. However, I would still recommend the Hollier review because her explanations of things like anemias, developmental considerations, and other things was great and really helped me to grasp some bigger picture concepts.

Six months before I finished my program, I took the Fitzgerald review course. I didn't have Fitzgerald herself so maybe my reflection and advice on this is different from what others have said. But, if I had to do it again, I would buy the CDs or online access to the lectures and not go to the face to face course. For one thing, if you go somewhere for a course, you have to pay for travel – either gas or a plane ticket, which is not cheap. You also have to pay a hotel and meals and be away from your family. For all of that, you hear the content once and get the content printed in a spiral bound book. If you buy the CDs or the online lectures, you can print your own handouts and listen to the lectures more than once – and they are mostly recorded by Fitzgerald herself. The downside of that is if you don't go to a face to face course you have to be disciplined and actually carve out the time to listen to the lectures. So, for some people, being in a class was the best thing because they got to devote a certain amount of time to the course and get away from all of their distractions at home. No matter what you decide, DO NOT skip the online content from Fitzgerald. As she says, almost one third of the content is online. Listen to those lectures and do ALL of those practice questions – don't skip them. They are really useful and the content is critical. The test questions familiarize you with the types of things you will be asked and help you to focus on areas where you need to study more. And, practically speaking, you paid for it – so use it!

Around the same time as when I attended the Fitzgerald course, I bought the Barkley course so that I could listen to it on my own. The Barkley online course includes BOTH the CDs so you can listen to them in your car AND online access to the lectures so you can listen to them anytime you have internet access – like on a plane! The course overall was excellent. The peds content was a bit much for preparing to take the FNP test, but it's a review, so you might as well sit back and enjoy it. The adult content is where you really want to focus your time and energy. Dr. Barkley is an awesome speaker and explains things in a very straightforward and fun way. I listened to those lectures in my car over and over and also online. As I was taking the tests, I could recall some of the examples he gave and some of the things he said about different diseases, treatments, and issues. I would highly recommend the course. I thought the online tests were better in the Fitz course because the questions in the Barkley review focused on very detailed things that they discuss in the course. The actual boards focus on bigger picture issues, so they don't reflect what is asked on boards. On the other hand, I guess if you memorize all of the facts they asked about in the Barkley review questions, you would be able to answer all of those bigger-picture questions, too. Other than the practice questions, I thought the Barkley review was awesome. I can't really say whether I could recommend one review course over another. They were all great and they all helped me in different ways. I am NOT recommending that you all take 3 courses – just trying to share my thoughts about the different courses so you can think about what you might like best.

No matter what review course you do decide to take, I would highly recommend the Leik app. It is only $20 and has over 600 questions for review with rationales. You can choose topics that you want to focus on or you can just click all of the topics and get a random test. You can also choose the number of questions you want to do. I would usually do 10-20 at a time each evening and then review the rationales for the ones I got wrong AND the ones I got right. I bought that app about a month before I took the AANPCP exam and worked through ALL of the questions over that month. I then went back and reviewed more questions specifically in the areas where I was a little weaker. The app will even identify areas that were weaker for you, so the work is done. Two to three weeks before my test, I was still weak on thyroid content and some respiratory stuff so I buckled down and really learned that stuff. I wouldn't have done that without the app. So, for $20 – go ahead and splurge. It's worth every penny. One issue is that right now they do not offer a version for Android. You will need to have an iPhone or iPad. (Just an FYI).

Three days before my AANPCP exam, I purchased the predictor test on the AANPCP website. There are 75 questions and you need to get a 66 on the test to pass it. I got an 80 and was a little worried, even though it was above the passing grade. I saw that others who wrote online about the predictor exam scored a lot higher, but since I passed, it seems like an 80 was ok.

The last bit of advice that I can give you is to do whatever you can before bed in the last few days before your exam to relax. Whether you do yoga, meditate, pray, run, color, take a hot bath, whatever you find that calms you and helps you to feel peaceful – do it. It's important to give your mind a break from all of that studying. I hope this was helpful and good luck to all of you future NPs!!!

Rhythsetradio

Rhythsetradio

29 Posts

Hey Everyone! Since I was following this thread so closely, just want to share my experience. I just passed the ANCC exam today.

I did no classes and no cds. Studied from two books, one primarily and another as resource for "extra". Do not need anymore conflict in information.

Background: I have been very, very casually studying since I graduated in June 2015 from one of the top NP programs in the country. Went on a few vacations but really started grinding away at it, four weeks prior to my exam date. I spent four hours on each system or chapter in the book and made my own study guides. Essentially you are paying the $$$ for classes to make it for you so I felt it was better to retain information doing it myself. I also work full time, part time through my program. It can be done!!!

Recommendations:

1.) Primary book: FNP Leik book. $35~

FANTASTIC, forget everything else. It is simple, straightforward. You can cover so much, in very little time. The questions in the back were the best. Way better than the ANCC questions online you pay $$$. Which I did and felt it was such a waste of money. Will talk about in a bit. Also this book covers what you need for the non-clinical questions...but there are nonclinical questions you can't study for on that test. It's just, you know or you don't as a nurse for those questions. Would not start those practice questions in the back of the book however, till you are about 1/2 way through the chapters to get the best bang... skip all women's health/peds questions till you get to the end of the book chapters and then go back and do them. Review all the questions you miss, with a very fine tooth comb.

2.) Fitzgerald Review Book $60~

Great reference for the topics I really don't remember/didn't understand. The questions were.... not as good as Leik but they were okay to review topics I didn't know very well.

Review all those common current guidelines. Because they are better than all the books (books don't always have the right info)!! (Plus great graphs/charts)

FOR QUESTIONS:

DO ALL LEIK BOOK QUESTIONS AND REVIEW THE MISSING ONES.

Do not recommend:

1. ANCC exam questions for $100. There were too many grammatical errors... some of the questions were straight from the leik book (how weird). Some very incomplete questions too. Was very disappointed.

2. Listened to one of the tracks of Fitzgerald discs, awful. I respect her, she sounds like an AMAZING nurse practitioner but the cd's, sometimes she goes on this tangent about something or another... very distract. Not helpful.

3. Class? If you fail sure, but it's seriously not necessary if you develop your own study notes and graphs. It's active learning vs. sitting there.

Cheers!!

ruthcb

ruthcb

1 Post

Passing ANCC Adult_Gero Primary

Hello everyone,

I have been reading the posts on this link and found them very helpful towards passing the test. I took the ANCC AGPNP yesterday and I have to say it was not I was expected. I have prepared for 6 weeks studying 5d/week for at least 8 hours each day. I used Fitz and Leik, took Fitz live class, and bought practice tests from Fitz and ANCC (scores for practice tests averaging 78%). Looking back, all the materials I used were helpful in the aspect of test taking skill and as a refresher course in preparation for future practice. I say this because the questions I got for the test were mostly non clinical/non-disease processes which is the total opposite of Leik's and Fitz's which are mostly disease focused. I had lots of independent practice decision making, research, policy/advocacy, and ethics. Also, I got a lot of "chose all that apply" items, long scenario questions, and at least 10 items with exhibit (pictures). Honestly, I thought I will failed and in fact while taking the test, I was thinking ahead when I will take the test again. But, I passed!

If I will have to do it again, I would spend more time studying about ethics, advocacy, nursing research, reimbursement, and etc..

Overall, sitting for the ANCC needs lots of preparation.

Thanks

fwatson

fwatson

Has 24 years experience. 7 Posts

I am very nervous about taking the ANCC test. Could you email me at fanaewatson@yahoo.com so things that I should really concentrate on. I have a job waiting on me. I just have to pass this test. Thanks

lisad_2007

lisad_2007

1 Post

What is the ANCC Yellow Book?

grateful67

grateful67

Has 20 years experience. 8 Posts

Exam Edge must be very different for FNP's. I have been using them for Acute care (AGACNP)...and they have ranged from stupid (what does pc mean for medications) to dermatology trivia. I have continued using them, as I am improving my guessing...which, I believe is helpful. But, I wouldn't recommend them as a good preparation tool...and, I bought all available in my specialty.

God bless!

grateful67

grateful67

Has 20 years experience. 8 Posts

Please be very calm....check your anxiety at the door....as someone else wrote. God bless!

Lornilla

Lornilla

1 Post

Took the Psych Family exam recently. The exam has a LOT of NP role questions. Do not get bogged down in the reviews; use them as aides. Learn the P450 system in regard to psych meds as well as medical meds. Know the laws relevant to the NPs and the NP- Community relationship.

bugmei

bugmei

3 Posts

Hi Everyone,

I also want to share as I have followed this page and most of advises that were given. I graduated in an online FNP university. I honestly was not so confident with our clinical education. Thank goodness my BSN education was top notch because it really helped (esp in remembering facts).

Study Plan:

I am the type to procrastinate. So I was on and off reading and doing online review (APEA review was provided for free by our school). I started a month after graduation upon the recommendation by one of my professors. Then I was really full on 2-3 weeks prior to my exam date. However, I think you should atleast start 6 mos prior to graduation. I wish I did, it would really help with clinicals too. I had classmates who went to live reviews a year before our graduation.

Review Materials:

I had been listening to Fitzgerald's audio cd while driving to and from clinicals. I also have her 3rd edition of the Nurse Practitioner Certification Review book. I think her books are very detailed and is an excellent reference. However, I found Leik's to be more on point in terms of giving what topics are more common in the test. The 600 plus questions were very useful. Watch out for typo's such as the real name of INH (isoniazid) etc. Make sure to cross-reference your facts with another source.

Hollier's online live review was very on point and simplified. She makes you understand the disease process in a very easy and memorable manner. I think it's better to have an online-live review than actually paying and going to the live ones. This way is accessible and in the convenience of your own home in your own time.

The Exam Edge FNP prep was alright for me. I purchase a 75$ thanksgiving sale 10 test bundle. I only used 6 out of all of them. There were just few similar questions to the real one. I would say just get the lesser bundle unless you have all the time to practice. It gives you a similar feel to the actual test (timer, review).

Test Day;

I had a lot of anxiety and I could not sleep even if I took a sleeping pill LOL. Get plenty of rest the night before, get a massage, watch a funny movie = Relax!

Try to get to the testing center atleast 1 hr before your scheduled test, estimate the possibility of traffic (I got really anxious).

Don't bring unnecessary things to the test center. Wear a light sweater if you get cold easily. If you need a break, take it but you will have to go through the whole screening process once again.

Read their rules and regulations (found on the Prometric site).

My test had a lot of common disorders and emergencies as previously mentioned and of course ethics, research, professional and cultural stuff. All in all, get a good study plan and stick to it! One can study all you want but you still will never know all the questions because some are just out of this world! :woot: Just trust in yourself and of course the Lord.

Thanks and God Bless everyone who are still going to take it.

GreatDaneAPRN

GreatDaneAPRN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Hospice. Has 5 years experience. 9 Posts

I wanted to share my experience. I graduated with MSN on 12/12/15 and passed ANCC today. In November I attended an APEA live review and purchased their review book. I also purchased 10 practice exams from Exam Edge that were specific for ANCC. There were several multiple response questions and a lot of Derm questions.