I will throw my recommendations in here as I am coming to the end of the program. I am currently waiting to take my CPNE. I began my journey in August of 2015. I took classes through Excelsior for the prereqs and tested out of all the nursing classes. I became CPNE eligible in August or September of 2016. I took the CPNE in Feb. of 2017 in Wisconsin, failed and appealed, appeal granted so that first attempt was like I never took it. Second attempt was July 2017 in Albany NY. Failed that one so on my record I have one CPNE failure. Reapplied and paid for round 2 of the CPNE in August of 2017 and have been waiting since to have my name called with my 2nd CPNE date.
As it stands right now if you apply for the CPNE today you will not be taking it until 2019. I don't want to discourage anyone but some people think this is the easy and fast way to get you RN. It is neither fast nor easy. My first CPNE take 2 out of 8 passed the CPNE. My second attempt, 1 out of 8 passed.
Do not purchase anything from the college network or any other publishing company. The practice tests that are available through Excelsior are extremely worth. I don't know what they cost now but I think i paid like 70 dollars for each nursing class to get the practice tests.
You have to be disciplined and study. If you try to "wing" it, you will fail the tests. I would lay money on it. You have to put the work in to achieve success. I don't care if you have been an LPN since before they invented medicine, you will not pass.
The CPNE, you have to do it the way Excelsior says and wants it. If you do it the way you learned at work and it isn't what excelsior wants, you will fail.
I could sit here all day and write til my fingers bleed. There are many on this site that will vouch for what i am saying. Im not doing it to scare anyone, but this is, in my opinion, harder than going to a 2 year RN program. You don't have deadlines like in a brick and mortar school. If you don't do it no one will be there to give a kick in the butt to get you started and motivated again, its all on you.