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PCCN Tips?


Hi guys!

So I've been doing Cardiac Step Down/CCU/Open Heart for 3 years now and I want to get my PCCN cert. I've got the Ace the PCCN books by Nicole Kupchik and I bought and already took the 120 Question practice question book from the AACN. Was looking to see how much time you dedicated to studying, and if any particular method or schedule worked for you. And what scores were you averaging before you took the test and passed? I know 68% is about the min to pass, but just seeing what else is out there.

Nurse Katelyn BSN PCCN, RN

Has 4 years experience.


I passed the PCCN last year and used the same books. I also used the PASS PCCN exam book with practice questions which were super helpful. 

I set up a calendar and studied something every day. I would practice a bunch of questions every day. I used the AACN test prep videos and set a calendar and spent about 3-4 weeks. 

Good luck!

Scarlettz, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg ICU step-down, Psych. Has 8 years experience.

I started studying at the end of August. I probably studied about 3 hours per week for 2 months. I sort of wish I scheduled my test sooner because on month three I have not been studying much at all. Part of it is because I picked up extra shifts at work and it has been different there since switching to Covid. I have one good week to study before the exam so I am reviewing it all again and doing practice questions.

I mainly used Nicole's study book and questions. But I have been doing various questions from different sources. I also am looking over the study guide my nurse educator gave me.

Edited by Scarlettz


Has 1 years experience.

do you like nicole's resources? is it helpful?

Scarlettz, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg ICU step-down, Psych. Has 8 years experience.

I liked her books. The study guide was a fast and easy read. It was my main study book and passed the test with a score of 86. I read each chapter multiple times. I made up practice quizzes for each chapter. Wrote down the most important facts. Drew diagrams. My learning style in a combination of reading/writing. Some people like to listen to audio lessons or Youtube videos. I tried it, but I am not an audio learner. I zone out or fall asleep. Some people fall asleep with reading. What style works best for you?

Do lots of questions, too, from various sources. There are some free online tests and some cheap kindle books for purchase. I bought the test book by Nicole as well. I also bought one test online from the AACN site for 25 or 35 dollars. Also make note as to what topics seem to pop up frequently from these various sources and study them, I.e. pericarditis. 

Also, it is a 125 question test so make sure that you are doing a few 125 tests in one sitting. It will help you with endurance for the test. 

Edited by Scarlettz

martymoose, BSN, RN

Specializes in PCCN. Has 18 years experience.

I got a 75 on it. 

we luckily had a review class for PCCN offered by my employer ( they were on a certification kick for a while) , and I googled lots of internet resources, especially for ICU and cardiac .