How I Passed the AANP Certification Exam Today (Tips and Insights)!

Updated | Published
by CCNP-FL CCNP-FL

Specializes in Critical Care Medicine. Has 6 years experience.

Just a summary of my strategy for NP-C exam success with tips/suggestions/insights.

How to pass the AANP certification exam?

How I Passed the AANP Certification Exam Today (Tips and Insights)!

Today, I successfully passed the AANP ANP Certification Exam! I wanted to share my strategy for passing as I found the exam quite easy after my preparation using only about 100 study hours following two years of lackluster performance in NP school. So, if my lazy-arse can make it, then so can all of you!

PREFACE & BACKGROUND:

I will preface all of this with my experience: four years as an RN, two in critical care. I had never touched primary care until my practicum experiences. I followed three internists and one CNM in my rotations. I went to Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and South University.

THINGS I DID NOT LIKE:

I touched the Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald Health Education Associates) review questions application and the ExamEdge questions as well, but didn't find them useful during my review OR in retrospect. ExamEdge's questions seemed out-dated and Fitzgerald's seemed too esoteric quite honestly compared to the actual exam.

KEY POINTS WERE "KEY":

When studying, I always was sure to memorize key words, phrases, or specific rule-in criteria. "Bulls-eye" for Early Lyme Disease, Saw Palmetto became Saw P(rostate) to me, "Pearly" was a key word for Basal Cell Carcinoma, etc. If there was something that made a disease process or a lab value unique, I committed it to memory using some kind of mnemonic or phrase. For example:

Herbal Therapies: St. John's Wart = "You need Jesus (for depression)!". Saw Palmetto = Saw P(rostate). Soy Bean Isoflavones = Soy beans look like ovaries to me (estrogen-like). Wild Yam Root = Wild Women (for hot flashes).

MY OBSERVATIONS:

Let me just say that I was not a great student. I focused too much on working in the ICU than on my primary care practicums. I say this because I didn't start preparing for the exam until three weeks prior to graduation and spent only about 100 hours studying for it. If my crazy-a@# can pass this exam, then anyone can! I primarily used Leik's Review, Hollier's Online Review, and her MyQBank. I got a good night's rest and ate well for the three-days preceding my exam. I did the same thing I did when I took the NCLEX that worked for me in-regards to rest-prep, I suggest you guys draw on your feelings/experiences from that as I think it was similar (or we can learn from our NCLEX rest-prep mistakes).

MY SPECIFIC PROCESS:

I spent a few hours each day going through each lecture section on APEA's Online Video Review. I didn't do more than 2-3 hours or 2-3 lessons depending on time so I could really focus on material and not overkill a-day with LOTS of information. This was my process in a nutshell:

  1. APEA MyQBank: Exam Mode, Subject-Matter Test, All Available Discipline Questions (ie. Cardiology has 99 questions available). Get a raw score. Do NOT look up rationales/answers.
  2. APEA Video Review: Watch and take notes on the provided syllabus.
  3. Leik's Review Book: Read corresponding discipline section and take notes on APEA's syllabus.
  4. APEA MyQBank "Patient Management": Tutor Mode, Subject-Matter Test, All Available Discipline Questions: Get rationales and answers as you go and then retake after to ensure 100% retention.

Each time I took a "pre-test" (step one) I would get in the 60s and not look up the answers. After I did the video review sections (for cardiology, etc.) and read Leik's review for the same area, I would retake the same questions in tutor mode where I got the answers in real-time, read all the rationales no-matter if I got it right or wrong (step four). I would usually get 70s or 80s on my post-tests. By the end of four weeks, I had gone through all of APEA's Video Online Review Course and most of Leik's book. I did ALL 1,200 questions on the MyQBank. I did a few of Leik's questions in the back of the book.

ON EXAM DAY (TODAY):

In retrospect, Leik's questions (back of book) were similar to the AANP ANP exam. Questions from MyQBank onAPEA were almost exactly the same as the actual exam - in-fact, I'm almost certain some of the questions were nearly identical. I am convinced that Hollier's online course and the MyQBank (which I did all 1,200 of the Patient Management questions on) was what made me pass today. I strongly suggest her course (or a similar one) and a massive QBank like the one in the back of Leik's book. I think if I had realized Leik had practice questions first, I might not have bought MyQBank, but in retrospect it was worth it because you could build specialized tests and such and get real-time feedback and statistics.

LINKS TO MY FAVORITE RESOURCES AND COSTS:

Title: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review

Author: Maria T. Codina Leik MSN APN BC FNP-C

Link: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review @ Amazon.com

CONCLUSION AND APPLICABILITY

This is just to share how I made it from lackluster student to NP-C in just a few short weeks. I spent many hours on this forum wondering when I should take my exam and looking for advice. I DID take the AANP practice exam and scored at 67% before starting review at all and did NOT look up the rationales and answers. I retook it AFTER I did all my review and scored an 88%. This process worked for me, so perhaps it will work for others. As such, my friend just took the AANP FNP exam and was successful with a very similar strategy, so I suspect this may work regardless of which specialty you are taking from the AANP.

Good luck to you all on your exams!

CCNP-FL
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6 Comment(s)

XXXMasonXXX

XXXMasonXXX

14 Posts

I'm thinking about doing South University for a FNP program. Do you recommend this? What were the pros and cons?

CCNP-FL

CCNP-FL

Specializes in Critical Care Medicine. Has 6 years experience. 1 Article; 58 Posts

I liked South, but I went there out of pure convenience. I am a full believer that you get out of school what you put into it. I honestly wasn't a very dedicated student. I spent most of my time outside of practicums learning from the CCU physicians I work with who let me tag along after work or when it was slow in the unit. IT worked for me because the group welcomed me aboard before I even finished school. Really, I saw unless you're going to have your eyes set on a top-notch school, South University is as good as the next one in-regards to what you'll learn. You won't get the extra courses like a suture workshop like at Nova Southeastern University, but in the end, I think really it is the degree and the certification that is the cake. I can live without the icing since I got a good job out of school. Just my two cents though!

That said, if you have the opportunity to go to a good, top-notch school, I would take the opportunity! I am doing this in my post-masters studies if possible as I honestly do regret going to a place I am not really proud of saying I graduated from.

Edited by kChoRN
Additional Info

ksenakim

ksenakim

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Medsurg. Has 3 years experience. 23 Posts

Excellent post - thanks for your honesty and tips. Sitting for the AANP exam in several weeks - very nervous!

KagoFNP

KagoFNP

1 Post

Kevin, thank you for your post. I found it after searching hard for direction on how to study. I graduated in 2012 and had taken my exam 3X before and failed. I had taken AANP 2X and then I took the ANCC 1X. Along the way, life happened and I had my second baby in 2015 and so I concentrated on being the best mommy and wife. I revived my dream here recently and I started studying for the test again. I used your study tips. Amelia Hollier's review was the best from my standpoint and her Qbank for $79 on patient management. I also saw this video and YouTube that helped me tremendously.

. I bought the AANP-FNP.com exams as well 2 days before I tested because that's when I saw this video. I bought a bundle of 10 but was able to do 6 only. The exam I took looked exactly like the qbank from the AANP-FNP.com. I PASSED MY AANP TEST 12/16/2016. For those who feel discouraged, let me encourage you that there is hope. I trust in God who walked with me through this difficult journey of shame and failure and now He helped me become succeful in this test. Praying as I studied and asking for direction from God got me here. I hope this comment helps someone out there!! Good luck!
gdj

gdj

66 Posts

Thank you for your post.

gdj

gdj

66 Posts

Kevin, thank you for your post. I found it after searching hard for direction on how to study. I graduated in 2012 and had taken my exam 3X before and failed. I had taken AANP 2X and then I took the ANCC 1X. Along the way, life happened and I had my second baby in 2015 and so I concentrated on being the best mommy and wife. I revived my dream here recently and I started studying for the test again. I used your study tips. Amelia Hollier's review was the best from my standpoint and her Qbank for $79 on patient management. I also saw this video and YouTube that helped me tremendously.
. I bought the AANP-FNP.com exams as well 2 days before I tested because that's when I saw this video. I bought a bundle of 10 but was able to do 6 only. The exam I took looked exactly like the qbank from the AANP-FNP.com. I PASSED MY AANP TEST 12/16/2016. For those who feel discouraged, let me encourage you that there is hope. I trust in God who walked with me through this difficult journey of shame and failure and now He helped me become succeful in this test. Praying as I studied and asking for direction from God got me here. I hope this comment helps someone out there!! Good luck!

Me too. I graduated in 2015 and took the AANP twice and ANCC once and failed. I found out I was pregnant after my graduation and I was devastated. I had complications with the pregnancy and after birth. Until now I still have the postpartum depression. I am on counselling but choose not to take any medications. I still believe that God has a plan for me. I am starting to review again. Hopefully to pass this year. God is always good!