I passed my CPNE in Syracuse this past weekend.It was my second try.I'm a little discouraged at the tone on this board lately, but thought I'd post anyway ... there's something I just gotta say.The CPNE is so easy -- AND so easy to fail. Yes, you must know your critical elements ... I'm NOT a nurse (but I will be when I pass my boards!) and maybe, frankly, that made it easier for me. To me, the critical elements are what common sense tells you you need to do to get each of these things done. I went four months between tries and didn't even look at my notes til the day before the test. Not that I'd recommend it, but you know about asepsis, you know how to do these things, any second year nursing student knows how to do these things. Memorize those elements anyway, especially if you are use to 'real life' nursing. This is not real life (although they are real patients), this is only a test. You aren't supposed to do this as an LPN with 20 years experience, you are supposed to perform as a New Grad. Without exception the CE's were great, both times around, and they don't want you to have the same ones both times so it was pretty much a new batch, even the CA was different. They help as much as they are allowed to, they are supportive, give hints, and remind you that while they can't answer teaching questions as a new grad you can look things up or ask the nurse. You aren't alone. Take your time and check yourself every step of the way, if in doubt wash your hands again, don those gloves again, whatever you need to do.If at all possible take a workshop. I took Careplan from Chancellor's before my first try and it helped a lot. I failed strictly because of nerves: My BP and pulse were up and I had been taken off my ADD medications and I thought I was in control but I wasn't. I forgot the stupidist things over and over and blanked out. The stress is unbelievable, and frankly mostly self-perpetuating. So do whatever you need to to help yourself with that: Baby yourself the week before the test, get some solid relaxation techniques under your belt, splurge for that massage. Document EVERYTHING, spell everything out -- don't use abbreviations. Show your math work even if you do it in your head, more than one person has been saved by them finding something in your scribbles on the back page that should have been in your documentation. They don't want to fail you, they look for these things.Excelsior is definitely not for everyone, if you are thinking about it, think carefully. It is not a quick and easy way out. It is not cheap, but it is not more expensive than the average RN program. It was ideal for me, and for others like me, who simply could not have finished their degree without a program just like this. Everyone is individual, you have to find what works for you. If you go with a study program, and some people do find them easier, check their reputation and don't make it your only resource -- sometimes they actually get something wrong. When I went to Careplan they were telling us about this 'catchall' nursing diagnosis and just at the time I was taking my test they had started cracking down and were telling people at their own workshops that if you use that diagnosis and the patient has been there more than 24 hours you will fail. But I failed that particular PCS on some other matter and the CA was great, she didn't just go over the part I failed on she went over all my paperwork and pointed out other things so I wouldn't make those mistakes again. Second time around, I had no repeat PCSs.Use your old nursing books, notes on Yahoo I used exclusively on NC4 exam. Buy used guides from different publishers on ebay -- you can almost always resell them when you are done for about the same price you paid for them and this gives you a chance to see if they are helpful for you and if so, which ones. I did buy a couple Chancellor's because I like the tapes, I'm largely an auditory learner -- talk me through it. I also tried college network and individual handwritten notes from others, the latter had a lot of wrong information in them so be careful either way. Some people just Google the information.Excelsior is a good program, but not for everyone. It's not quick and easy, they have the same hiring problems as traditional programs do -- there's a nursing shortage because of lack of instructors not because of lack of qualified students. So sometimes you have to wait. It's a popular program and sometimes you just have to get in line, so factor that in if you are looking for a quick way to finish. Getting on a cancellation list the second time got me an appointment about 5 weeks after I sent in my paperwork.Check your own needs against what they offer. It was the only way to go for me, and it took a few years because of family health problems but that's why it suited me... the ability to pause and pick up again. I'm finally done. Wow.