NPAC Testing Sites: Albany vs. Utica

  1. As promised, here is my comparison of the Utica testing site (St. Lukes) and
    Albany (Albany Medical Center). I tested in Utica in February of 2013 and
    Albany in April of 2013.

    Travel considerations: Utica does not have an airport. The nearest you can fly
    into is Syracuse, so you will have about an hour drive if you fly in to
    Syracuse. There are toll booths along the way, so be aware of that as well.

    Lodging Considerations: The recommended hotel in Albany is literally attached
    to the hospital via walkway. You also have a wider choice in food options and
    more amenities there. This hotel was $20 more expensive per night than the
    recommended Utica hotel, but they have a complimentary shuttle which will save
    you mucho mula on taxis. The recommended Utica hotel was $99/night excelsior
    rate and the Albany hotel was $119/ night excelsior rate. The Taxi rate from
    Albany hotel to the recommended hotel was $25.

    There are hardly any hotels in Utica and most have very, very poor reviews. You
    have more lodging options in Albany but I highly recommend the recommended
    hotel; it is worth the money if you can come up with it. As of February 2013,
    the recommended Utica hotel was undergoing extensive renovations, did not offer
    shuttle service, and did not have an elevator.

    Also the Albany recommended hotel offers free extended check out until 2pm and
    half room rate will allow you to stay until 6pm so that really comes in handy on


    Differences in the CPNE process: Please note that these differences by be
    related to the CA preference and NOT site.

    Lab Stations: In Utica, you were allowed to open all the supplies at the lab
    stations. Many students even got a chance to practice right before lab started.
    In Albany, the CA asked us not to open supplies. After student protest, she
    allowed one pair of large gloves to be opened at the wound station and one
    syringe with needle and one insulin syringe to be opened at the SubQ/IM station.
    Friday at Utica seemed more organized than at Albany. We got out pretty early
    on Friday night at Utica, but It was after 8pm when I got back to my hotel in

    PCS process: In Utica, if you failed a PCS, you got to attempt your next PCS as
    soon as a CE became available. Almost everyone failed their first PCS so lots
    of CAs were available and we were permitted to jump right in to the next PCS.
    In Albany, they stick to the schedule and you are sent back to the hotel until
    your next PCS is set to begin (a big reason I recommend coming up with the money
    for the recommended hotel). The CA and CEs at both sites seemed relatively fair
    and they do really want you to pass.

    Also, you WILL get a peds patient in Albany; it is rare to do so in Utica.

    Again, keep in mind the format may change based on CA and not on site; I get the
    feeling that is the case. Equipment and lab supplies also varied based on site.

    Hope it helps and good luck!
  2. Visit tnmarie profile page

    About tnmarie, LPN

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 283; Likes: 264
    Agency/PDN; from US
    Specialty: geriatrics, hospice, private duty


  3. by   Pixie.RN
    So ... did you pass?? Eeek!
  4. by   tnmarie
    No. On the bright side, I landed a great LPN job and now I don't have to decide if I'm going to sit for the RN NCLEX.
  5. by   tnmarie
    Someone on here commented that she believed the grading of care plans to be subjective. I'll just say that I didn't fail one care plan in Utica and failed 2 in Albany. I only took Sheri Taylor prior to Utica and I took the NCP conference from Excelsior prior to Albany.

    Also after PCS 1, a student commented "the CEs aren't supposed to help you, but they do". She ended up passing the CPNE. I heard that CPNE journals were removed from the CPNE site because students were saying they got extra chances to do stuff. The stuff about "CEs will read from a script and all students will get the same information" is a huge pile of crap.

    I didn't expect to be handed anything but I also expect the other students not to be handed anything either. Makes you wonder how they decide who gets the extra chances. I guarantee that "objectivity" has nothing to do with it, no matter how many times the word is repeated in the study guide.

    A big thanks to everyone who helped me on my way, though. I definitely learned a lot. Much continued success to current and future students!
  6. by   mimedic
    Quote from tnmarie
    No. On the bright side, I landed a great LPN job and now I don't have to decide if I'm going to sit for the RN NCLEX.
    I am sorry to hear you did not pass....but glad you got a great LPN job. Do you have another attempt left? If you do, take your time enjoy your new job and do it again. You have made it too far to stop now.
  7. by   jlynn167
    I am so sorry you failed, now you say you took Sheri Taylors prior to Utica..did you actually go to Atlanta or did you do it online? How crushing...but good luck on the new position.
  8. by   NursePooda
    I'm sorry to hear. They give you 3 chances I would use them all. I'm sure some CAs and CEs are helpful and some aren't. It's not realistic for each of them to have the exact same attitude. I guess that's why they say ask your CA or CE questions before starting on how they want you to do certain things because each are different. No experience will ever be the same unfortunately. Sometimes you get things right the first time, others get it the second time but the third time is always a charm! You'll look back and say wow god is amazing.
  9. by   sunshiine:)
    I'm so sorry. This is very discouraging.