CEN exam

  1. Ok I finally got my act together and retook the CEN exam after letting it expire during the time I was a director or nursing. I know I was stupid. I'd been hearing the horror stories and about the changes in the exam, and I went in sure I wouldn't pass.

    Well I was worried for nothing and I'm sure that most of you who haven't taken the exam for one reason or another, would find out that you were worried for nothing. There was nothing in the exam that I didn't deal with almost on a daily basis in the course of doing my job as an ER nurse.

    So My comment to everyone, is to take a deep breath and just take the exam. Don't be araid of it. The biggest obstacle is feer of the exam and failing.

    Plus I will say that once you pass, make sure the CEN doesn't expire.
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    About CraigB-RN, RN

    Joined: Apr '01; Posts: 1,241; Likes: 835


  3. by   GilaRRT
    I agree that the biggest obstacle is not the test, it is in fact within your own mind. I find allot of people do much better on tests when they approach the exam with aggressive thinking and confidence in their own abilities.

    I would not go as far as to say the CEN is easy; however, some people get the luck of the draw so to speak. The exam literally draws from a pool of thousands of questions. Some people may answer questions that they know, while others get questions from out in left field. Much of this relates to that nurses experiences and knowledge base. For example, I had to answer a few questions on supraglottic airways. At least two related to the combitube. Some ER nurses may have little to no experience with this device. I was lucky to have roots in EMS and was able to answer the questions without difficulty. Luck of the draw really. Easy questions for me, but a nightmare for somebody else.

    The fact that the exam is very broad and general in nature, makes studying for th exam difficult. I have found the best techniques are based around actual test taking. If you know how to read the questions well and understand what the question is asking, then you have a real advantage. I find doing 100 or more questions in one sitting followed by some light review for several weeks is a great way to prepare for the exam.
  4. by   CraigB-RN
    But 2 questions won't cause someone to fail. It's the whole scope of the test and i'm sure the nurse who's working in a small rural 15 pt/day ER will have a harder time than the one working at a busier facility.

    I don't remember what was on the test 10 years ago when I took it the first time. It's not an easy test, but I didn't find it particularly hard either. I didn't study very ahrd, I listened to the Gasparis tapes and took the test. What was on it was things I see every day at work.
  5. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I'm soooo glad to hear you say that Craig!!!! :kiss I've been putting it off,..no time to study,.didn't want to fork out all that money and then fail it,....lots of "excuses",...I just need to do it,.get it over with and move on to the next experience... THANKS!
  6. by   JJEDRN
    Thanks for bringing this topic up.

    The CEN is on my "to do" list.

    MY background is Critical Care. I've had my CCRN since '84. But I'm relatively new to ED...just 16 months.

    I've recently taken PHTLS, NRP, and TNCC in hopes this would improve my abilities and skills as they related to my work. (Current on my ACLS & PALS FWIW).

    I have the Gasparis tapes on CEN. Are still relevant?

    Do you guys have any recommended study materials? Review CD's or books for CEN? Are the review courses worth the price of admission?
    I don't mean to hijack the thread...

    I think my anxiety level is "fairly" normal regarding the CEN. But I think having the CEN improves marketability as well as demonstrates professionalism.

    Good going Craig!


  7. by   JJEDRN
    Questions answered thanks to the "search" function..

    Thanks to GilaRN and others.

    Good info.

    Thanks again,

  8. by   GilaRRT
    No problem. I know a few other threads went into specific detail regarding study guides. I recommend the test book that can be found on the ENA's website. You have to take several 150 question exams. In addition, you take two timed tests that mirroe the CEN exam online. I did every exam in the book and studied any incorrect answers. For about two months, I did nothing but take exams. I took the tests until I answered every question correctly and could burn through 150 questions in an hour.

    The Laura review tapes are good in that she gives several good test taking pointers. Some of her material is dated however.

    With your experience of taking and passing the CCRN, I would not expect you to have difficulty with the CEN.

    Actually, two questions can cause you to fail. The test is not like the NCLEX where you are graded according to a general level of competency. The CEN a simple exam, you need to score a specific percent to pass.
  9. by   CraigB-RN
    Actually the point that I was making was that if you only get two questions wrong you won't fail. Actually you have to have 109 out of 150 to pass.

    The Gasperas tapes are good in the fact that she points out the little details that we sometimes forget in our daily practice. i.e. Dilatin and its antiarythmic properties. I know that when I'm hanging Dilantin, that's not the first thing I think about. I'm just trying to remember to use a filter.
  10. by   Victoriakem
    When I took the CEN, & failed by a few questions, there were so many questions on the eye! Couldn't believe it. I may try again, but when I came out of the testing, I felt like a truck hit me. Maybe it was my own stress level, but it was pretty hard, plus I don't work for an eye center, but a mid-level ED in a suburban area.
  11. by   GilaRRT
    Yes, the CEN can be that way. It pulls from a bank of many questions. Some people just have bum luck. I cannot count how many questions I had to answer that related to cranial nerves.