I just wanted to share my experience with the CCRN since I couldn’t really find much of anything from 2021. I have 1 year of ICU experience and I studied for about 3 weeks. I took the CCRN exam 3/15 and passed with a 95/125. You need 83/125 to pass--not 87. It took me about an hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam. To study, I used:
Laura Gasparis videos: I bought the set from nursing.com. She does a really good job teaching the meat and potatoes of what will be on the test, and I found this especially helpful since I don’t have years of experience. She’s funny and relates the material to past experiences she’s had with patients. It wasn’t super dry, I wasn't zoning out the entire time. I think it cost around $170-$180. Like I said, it was really helpful for me, but I don’t really think she would be all that helpful for someone with more experience and has a better grasp of the core content.
Barron’s book: I went through the Barron’s book (the blue one) while listening to LifeLongNursing on Youtube. The Barron’s book was great because it gives you stars next to the things you need to know for the exam. There was one pretest and 2 150 question practice tests. I was honestly scoring in the 50’s for all of the end of chapter quizzes and practice tests, I got discouraged and quit using it. The practice questions were stated like they will be on the CCRN exam in the sense that it was to the point. I only referenced it for the key things I needed to know. I think the book was around $30.
Pass CCRN: I did not buy the book; I only bought the question bank. This is where I spent most of my time, but I have always learned best through practice questions. I did all 1,124 questions. The big thing here is to make sure you understand the rationales, and also read the test taking tips. The rationales sucked sometimes, so you may have to Google it to find a more in-depth answer. As for the difficulty of the questions in the qbank compared to the real CCRN exam, the questions are going to be asking you the same things that you’ll be asked on the CCRN exam. In my opinion, the biggest difference between Pass CCRN and the actual exam is that the Pass CCRN qbank has a lot more fluff in the questions, meaning you are given a ton of information about the condition of the patient and the actual question has nothing to do with any of the info you just read. The real CCRN exam is much briefer and to-the-point. The question bank was around $30 as well.
Some advice I have:
Don’t read into the question, take it at face value. Don’t assume any information that was not given to you. Remember your basic ABC’s, and that if your patient is in distress, the answer is going to be to intervene. Even if the only way you can intervene is to call the doctor. Make sure you know your hemodynamics and how the body responds in various stages of shock, hypertrophic/dilated cardiomyopathy, SIADH/DI, HHS/DKA, ABG’s and what vent settings you will change to improve the next gas. Know your electrolytes and how they balance with each other (when this one is low, this one will be high, etc). When you answer a question, do not change your answer unless you know for an absolute fact that you are incorrect. And it may be a good idea to go back through the test before you submit, sometimes other questions can give you the answer to a previous question. DO NOT TAKE THE ETHICS PORTION LIGHTLY, the Barron’s book does a pretty good job breaking down their Synergy model. The ethics portion can truly make or break you.
Sorry for the TED talk, best of luck!! 🙂