I just graduated on May 17th, 2020 and I passed my AANP FNP board exam on May 23rd (1st-time pass!). When I was studying for this exam, maybe like many of you, I was on this site looking for any helpful tips from successful students on how to pass this exam.
First and foremost, you must know that I am the type of person that is NOT a good test taker. I get a lot of anxiety before an exam especially one this big. All the resources I used were helpful in their own way. So here's what I did:
Began Reviewing Content March 30, 2020
I started with content review with the Leik book. I read the entire book front to back. Each day I focused on a different topic and then did the questions on the Leik app on my phone based on the topic I reviewed. E.g.: If I reviewed the content on Cardiac health and Pulmonary health, then I did the questions on the app focusing on those topics. Personally, I think this is the best way to grasp a good foundation before you get to the intense question practices. I think the Leik book, in general, was the best source I used while studying. It provides the most information without being too overwhelming. MAKE SURE TO FOCUS ON THE EXAM TIPS ON EACH CHAPTER! I can't express enough how much that helped me the final days of studying in order to pass this exam. This portion of studying took me about 4-6 weeks to complete. I reviewed content for about 2-3 hours per day. Don't feel like you need to study for 10 hours, YOU DON'T.
Fitzgerald Live Review
There are SOO many live reviews out there and I cannot speak to all of them. I personally chose the Fitzgerald review since I heard through the grapevine that Fitzgerald writes some of the board questions. On May 6-7, I sat at home in front of my computer doing a 2-day live review. Each day was about 8 hours. PRO: This review really dissects the questions so you know how to answer them. Some of the board questions can be tricky on what they are really asking and this review definitely helped me master that. They also provided great mnemonics to use so you remember certain things. CON: SUPER DETAILED!! The content you go over is EXTREMELY detailed. Although most of it is great to know, a lot of the specifics I felt weren't necessary for the exam. After the two day review, Fitzgerald provides you access to the online portion of the review. MAKE SURE YOU DO THE ENTIRE REVIEW. Like I said, there's a lot of info that they provided that they can't cover all in a matter of 2 days so the rest is left for you to finish. At the end of the online portion, there is a practice exam that I thought was VERY helpful.
PSI Practice Exams and Board Vitals
For the rest of the time being, I was on my own just reviewing content I was weak at and doing practice questions. Every day I did about 50 questions on my board vitals app religiously until the week of the test. NOTE: The questions on board vitals, in my opinion, are much more difficult in general than what the actual questions are on the board exam, however, they were great to use in order to practice how to dissect questions.
The week of the exam I did two of the practice PSI tests on their website. There's a total of 3 practice exams now on PSI for FNP but I only did the first two. Each exam is $50 but I promise its the best money spent. These exams consist of "retired" questions from the board exams. These exams related most similar to my actual board exam!
I hope this helps out some of you! Like I said, all my resources helped in their own way but I believe my favorite was the Leik book. Her questions are not that difficult but its good to go through them to just see how much you retained with content review. The board exam is 150 questions and you have 3 hours to complete the exam. I was able to finish in just shy of 2 hours. You will find out your results at the testing center. It is the best feeling in the world!!
FACT: The best piece of advice I can give you is ... Believe in Yourself!!
We have been nurses and we know our stuff! You will pass! Good luck