I told myself that I would post a discussion about my AANP exam experience. I'll start off by mentioning that I am also a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. To be a Chiropractor, you have to take 5 grueling board exams with 2 of them having 6 sections. That being said, I feel like I have a lot of experience taking board exams and passing them. I took my AANP exam on February 8 at 2:30pm, finished my exam at 4:30, and walked out of the door was a PASS on the paper they give you.
I graduated from my FNP program in December 2017. I took an APEA live course in July. I know this was super early but it the date worked best with my schedule. I planned on reviewing the material during my last semester at school but I had two clinical rotations plus I worked full time, so that plan went out the door. I began studying at the end of December. I found someone selling their APEA videos. I'm pretty sure that I watched them 4 times. Amelie was spot on during the lectures when she would say "this is going to be on the exam". I liked the last couple of pages on each section where it tests your knowledge. There were lots of questions that came from there.
I also purchased the latest edition of the Leik intensive review book. I loved all the exam tips and if I had to do all over again, I would put tabs on the exam tips and review those daily the last few days of intensive studying. I read the 450 or so pages of the book, excluding the sections on HIPPA and roles of nurse practitioners. I heard that you will only get 2 questions max from that those sections so I just rolled the dice and hoped it would be common sense questions. I did not get any questions from these sections. The sections I spent the most time on was pediatrics, geriatics, dermatology, gastro, and cardiology. These were my weakest areas so I wanted to make sure I was good to go.
I also purchased a subscription to the q banks and took a quiz on the sections I was reviewing that day. I did all the questions twice. Looking back, I don't know if there were exact questions from the q banks but I wanted to be able to test my knowledge and go back and review the information that I was having a hard time grasping. I also purchased 10 tests through Exam Edge per the recommendation of my school's board mentor. I loved these tests and found that they were very similar to the board questions. On all except one, I had an anticipated passing AANP score on the first attempt. I also had full access to the Leik app which included all the questions that are in the back of the book. I liked this app because it also gives you access to the entire book and I would study certain sections in bed. The quizzes were good too but I didn't spend a lot of time doing them.
The bottom line is that you must have a solid understanding of the material to pass the exam. During the last three weeks of studying, my plan was very focused. I followed the sections of leik and I would listen to the APEA lecture of that section. Let me explain a little more. For example, the first three sections that matched up with APEA in the Leik book were pharmacology, HEENT, and dermatology. I would start off by listening to that APEA section which would take about an hour, then read the LEIK book on that section, and then take the q bank quiz for that corresponding question. Then I would move on to the next section. Yes this was a slow process, but I was very thorough. Then the last two weeks I would take an exam edge test. I also took the two APEA predictors. I scored a 67 on the first one and a 78 on the next one, taken one week apart. I also took the practice exam that AANP offers. I scored above a 70 on that.
I think it's very important to take some sort of practice test questions. If you have a basketball game, you warm up by taking some practice shots before the game. I took about 100-500 practice questions every single day for the last three weeks unless I was working all day. If I had to give myself advice again in a step approach, here's what it would be:
1. Take a live review at least a month before you are going to commit to studying hard core, maybe the last semester of graduation. I recommend APEA, but to each their own. Learn all the material from the review course book, especially the practice questions.
2. Purchase the LEIK book. Learn all the normal findings in each section, disease review, and exam tips. Focus on the sections that you know you have trouble on.
3. Take practice test questions every single day.
4. Take predictor exams to see where you are at and review the questions at the end that you got wrong and focus on that material the next few days.
Give yourself 6 weeks or so to study. I took a two week break in the middle of my studying because I had to work a crazy amount one week and then I went on a 7 day cruise the following week. This actually helped me be more refreshed and ready for my last 3 weeks of intense studying.
There's one thing that I haven't seen anyone talk about in these forums is the $$$ for all these exam preparations. I think my APEA class was over $500, but I just looked at her website and the price went up to $600. Then I had to pay for a hotel while I was there which was another $300 or so. While I was there, I spent $120 on the q bank access. The Leik book was $80. The exam edge 10 test package was $95. The two predictors from APEA were $55 and the predictor exam from the testing center was $50. I also spent $225 on ebay to get the vidoes from APEA. Oh, I also bought the Leik book last summer when they had the second edition which was $70. I didn't know they were going to release a third edition in November, so of course I had to buy the newer one. Then of course the AANP exam was $315. So I roughly spent $1,860 on the entire process. I don't remember what I paid the Texas Board of Nursing for my APRN application, possibly another $150.
I hope this helps someone that is about to take their exam or graduating this year. Let me know if you have any questions!
Congrats on passing! Thanks for the post. I'm starting to think of review classes/materials now for the AP exam, so I'll have to see if APEA has lectures for adult-gero.
congrats!! and thank you for sharing your experience =)