Passed the AANP FNP Certification Yesterday-Tips!

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Has 10 years experience.

I just passed the AANP certification exam and would like to give back and let you know what I did to prepare and successfully pass the exam. I hope this helps someone else along their journey.

Which tools & resources did you use to prepare and study for the AANP certification?

Passed the AANP FNP Certification Yesterday-Tips!

I took the AANP certification and passed. I know if you are a FNP©, you are probably pretty worried about testing, too. Naturally, you've spent much time preparing and are ready to start your career!

I know before I tested, I also browsed through the posts on All Nurses for people that successfully passed the exam. Today, I'd like to give back and let you know what I did to prepare and complete the exam successfully--the first time around. : )

First, I tested at 1 pm, Leik will tell you the difference between passing and failing could be a couple of points and could be equated to the time of day you take the exam. She said in her book that most people may be tired after lunch, which is completely true.

You have to know yourself best! I personally feel a bit more alert at around 1 pm vs 8 am, so know yourself and schedule that time accordingly!

Plus, you technically have to be at your center 30 minutes early, so 1 pm gave me time to review a bit more and get a bite to eat and some caffeine.

Tools And Resources For AANP Certification:

Fitzgerald's Family NP Exam Review Book

In the beginning, Fitzgerald was my prep of choice, only because I know myself, and wanted to read more depth into the knowledge. I know it'll be there for me when I need it.

Leik Family NP Review Book

I began heavily relying on Leik in the last month, going over her exam tips and reading the chapters in depth. There are errors, so look up her corrections!!


My school had us pass the predictor exam and we had access to the APEA QBank and her recorded review course (you get 2 views). Hollier's approach to cardiac murmurs is a VALUABLE resource!

After passing my capstone and learning the cardiac murmurs, I didn't really use APEA anymore. However, they do have an app for iOS I found useful for completing my coursework.

I kept hearing from classmates that examedge was a useful resource, so I went in with a classmate and bought a bundle of 10. It's better to do it this way if you're able.

The questions are ridiculously worded, but they get you in the mindset for the exam. There are also straight up questions for a RN, NCLEX style questions--which are obviously unnecessary!


A friend bought access to boardvitals, which you can get on a monthly basis. It had great orthopedic questions in it, but I would not personally invest in it.

We found a lot of the questions are probably geared toward the ANCC vs AANP.

Fitzgerald's Live Review Course -taken 2 weeks before boards!

Yes, I traveled and went for her live session. It's a better value to get her online review course (versus buying a plane ticket, her review course, hotel/car, food) ,BUT, I know myself, and know I'd pay attention in a live review course vs trying to get through the online review.

It also gave me an excuse to travel. ;)

There were some people that hadn't graduated and were taking the review course, this may work for you. I found it helpful right before I sat for boards.

Leik's FNP Review questions for iOS

It was one of the best purchases to prepare for the exam. I didn't have to use the questions from the back of the book and haul out the book each time. I could easily do these questions while traveling to interviews, before bed, when you're brushing your teeth. Pretty much anytime! It gives you the rationale, so you're not flipping to the right page in the book to look.

PSI AANP Predictor Exam

Helpful for sure! It gives you an idea of how the questions will be worded and are actually pulled from retired AANP exams.

As you read this, you'll probably say, "WOW!! She uses a lot of commas and also spent way too much money!"


I was really freaked out about the exam, and obviously, my classmates were as well. Like you, we bought and tried different resources trying to gain as much knowledge as possible for success.

I underlined the things I liked best. ?

You can do it on a budget, if you're going to get any resource--I recommend Leik and the app for iOS!

How To Prepare For The AANP Certification:

I started buckling down and REALLY reviewing a month and a half ago. Like many of you, family, full time work, etc, kept me busy. The best decision I made was going PRN at the end of the program. I was really fortunate!

My school required you to pass the APEA exit exam with a 70% or better in order to pass the capstone course. It was at that time and after that I really got in the mindset to test.

I already had bought the Fitzgerald and Leik texts months before, but started working on them heavily.

STEP 1 Make a timeline for yourself.

Set your test date. Push yourself to read and do some questions each night. Your classmates are great support! Lean on them and make connections! (Although, YOU are responsible for your education! You have to have discipline and have self-direction. You already know this since you've made it this far! ? )

STEP 2 Make notecards

Not enough for a sequoia...but probably enough for that small tree you planted in your backyard about 3 years ago.

STEP 3 Make up silly mnemonics and memorize them.

STEP 4 Read the Leik book and did her questions multiple times.

When I was finished, I deleted the questions and started from scratch.

Some people will try to just do the questions and pass, you really have to read the book to gain the knowledge.

STEP 5 Realize that every question will be on a classic presentation.

When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras! It ain't gonna be a zebra on the exam.

A very awesome physician I interviewed with right before my certification, allowed me to shadow him for a time and reminded me that common diseases are common, except when the diagnosis is rare. SO VERY TRUE!! I actually reminded myself of this on the exam!

STEP 6 Maintain a positive attitude!

You have the skills and the ability, it's time to put them to the test!

Some people will say that you will know when you're ready. I didn't necessarily find this true. I knew I was sick of studying, but always felt like there was more to learn and know.

I prayed! I teared up(just a tiny bit)! I had some nauseous stomach pain from the bowels of hell (totally unlike me) sprinkled in before, during and after the exam --. To me, the stakes were much higher then when I took the NCLEX.

The preliminary results printed out that I passed (we all know what that means!) and I started to tear up a bit!

I hope this helps someone along their journey. I know other posts have helped me! You definitely have it in you! : D

Believe in yourself!

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Specializes in Oncology, ICU. Has 4 years experience. 4 Posts

Thank you so much for this post! I'll graduate in May and I'm already feeling anxious for the AANP/FNP test. I already have the Leik and Fitzgerald review books and they served me well during my core classes. I'm looking forward to trying the Leik app and taking the Fitzgerald review course. Congratulations on passing the exam!!


Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 12 Posts

Ah! Thank you! I'm glad you found it helpful. May will be here before you know it, and you're going to rock that test!



16 Posts

Congratulations! I, too, passed my FNP certification exam from AANP - I graduated on 11/1 and took my cert exam at 9AM on 11/14. You did a lot more preparing than I did - kudos to you! Your advice is spot on. I'll share mine in case others are interested:

I gave myself a break from studying for 9 days after graduation. It is a totally arbitrary number but I felt like a mental cool-down period was essential.

Throughout my courses, I would use the Fitzgerald practice exam book - I did questions that corresponded to the unit I was studying to guage whether or not I was ready to take an exam. I did not pick up that book again, though, and did not use it to review prior to boards. I did, however, purchase an online practice test from Fitzgerald that I took maybe 3-4 days before the exam and made a 67% I think. I typically do worse on Fitzgerald questions than any other resource.

I also attended a live Hollier review literally the weekend before my exam (11/11-11/13). I wanted the information to be fresh in my brain. Dr. Hollier recommends making > or = 70 on the APEA predictor exam before testing. I had the benefit of my school requiring us to take one prior to entering clinicals after all of our didactic coursework was complete - I made a 74 at that time. I took another APEA practice exam 2 days before boards and made a 78 (not going to lie, I cried because I am a perfectionist and I just KNEW I was going to blow it out of the water and thought I should have made in the high 80s). I told Dr. Hollier this and she told me to go take my exam. Good thing, because I already had it scheduled. Her review was fantastic and I highly recommend it.

I think reading Liek would have made me *feel* better prepared and have less anxiety. I got this book late and didn't have time to go through everything but it looks like an excellent resource. I skimmed through the test taking strategies and then did 150 of the questions the day before the exam. I scored this myself as if it were a practice exam and made an 88% or something like that.

I made sure to eat well, get daily light exerise, and stay well hydrated prior to the exam. The night before the exam, my friend and I made each other stop studying at 8pm to take a mental break, have a glass of wine (just 1!), and go to bed early - rest is important! I ate a light breakfast the morning of the exam, even though I am not a breakfast person.

There were very few things on the exam that I felt like I had no idea what they were talking about. In fact, only 1 or 2 questions come to mind. Less than 1/4 of the questions were ones I was in-between answers. The rest was very straightforward. I agree, don't go looking for zebras.

Honestly, I felt like this exam was easier than NCLEX or any of the practice exams I took, and my friend who took it with me said the same thing. But I agree that you know yourself best. I killed myself studying in school, so by the time I graduated, it was like, "If I don't know this by now then I will never know it." If you slacked off a little (or a lot), then you may want to spend some more time studying.

My mantra: "You have passed so many exams up to this point. You'll pass this one, too!"

Stay positive - you can do this!


Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 12 Posts

Thank you! That was a quick turnaround! I got my certification number today and took it on Friday! Congratulations to you, too! Thank you for sharing your tips, people will be interested in a different viewpoint. You also utilized resources I didn't!

I think these are great tips!! I definitely was well prepared, but that is due to knowing friends that had failed with jobs waiting. I already had a job, and didn't want to go through that.

I think the NCLEX is different because you are suddenly using critical thinking to answer questions that were most likely hard to dissect and completely foreign before you went through initial training. I can't remember much about the NCLEX, other than I only had to take it once and it shut off at the minimum number of questions. Thank goodness.

Now the AANP is a different ballpark in a sense, because you're once again testing on assessment, diagnosis, treatment and follow up. Where before, we never were able to make a true "diagnosis".




16 Posts

Yes! The final certification results come in quickly - I had mine the next day. The license... well, that is a different story. Still waiting!

Congrats again and good luck on all your endeavors!


Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 12 Posts

Congratulations to you, too!! Check your mailbox!! :D



4 Posts

My school had us pass the predictor exam and we had access to the APEA QBank and her recorded review course (you get 2 views). Hollier's approach to cardiac murmurs is a VALUABLE resource!

After passing my capstone and learning the cardiac murmurs, I didn't really use APEA anymore. However, they do have an app for iOS I found useful for completing my coursework.


Thanks for your post. I bought hollier, how did you get the murmur's to stick for you? Are you talking about the "Mr peyton manning?" Murmur's are fighting me, lol.



Has 3 years experience. 2 Articles; 352 Posts

It shouldnt take that much review to pass the NP board exam. I think most people in my class just did the required review book they made us do and threw the test down the week of or after graduation. I mean really 8 different sets of materials? Shouldnt school teach you most of what you need to know?


Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 12 Posts

Thanks, Aromatic! I like being prepared. ?



6 Posts

WOW!!!! I really enjoyed reading this. I dont graduate until October but for some reason tonight I decided to start looking into the process of how to get certified and licensed once I finish. Your post has given me much to think about and much to look forward to. Thank you so much.


Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 12 Posts

@adlomu120 , well, you're at that fun time I started doing the same thing ;) You're not alone lol, I bet some of your classmates have been, too! :) And thank you, I hope it helps you!