AANP FNP 9/2017 (Failed -> Passed!)
I told myself if/when I passed the AANP, I would create a post for anyone who was in my similar position. Today 9/20/17 I passed the AANP FNP! But the journey was not that easy and hopefully if this similar situation pertains to you, I hope it provides some ease of mind/emotional relief.
On Friday 9/8/17, I took the FNP AANP exam for the first time. Unfortunately, I received the Preliminary "Not Passed," notification. I Didn't know how to feel. I felt I was ready and was already burnt out from studying, and could not believe all the time committed did not payoff. Even worse, I did NOT feel the exam was that difficult and not 1 questions really stumped me or made me feel like I didn't have at least a general idea.... Yet, to my surprise, I failed. I was basically in shock and did not know what else to do, as I felt my studying was sufficient and I felt comfortable with the material. I even slightly had a peace of mind when I walked out of the exam thinking "that was slightly difficult, but I'm pretty sure I passed." - Nope. What I did next, set me up for success...
Immediately when I got home, although saddened, I started highlighting out the questions and/or info I remembered and looking up answers to make sure I didn't miss them. I compared questions with a friend who also took the exam the same day, and I couldn't believe it considering all the "hard" questions, I got right, yet still failed. I trolled these boards numerous days, along with google to find out 1) if anyone recently was/has been in my situation, what they did next 2) if anyone has ever had their preliminary score changed to passing = which is a no btw, maybe like 1/99999999999 chance 3) any advice I could think of regarding how to pick myself back up and do differently...
Honestly, it was emotionally difficult, but I refused to be put down too long. Literally, Exact same day, I finally told myself, yes I failed, but it happened for a reason, maybe so I could review even longer and become a better NP in the long run? or it just wasn't my time. It's not the end of the world, I can and I will overcome this. I basically turned my sadness into even MORE motivation. I gave myself 5 hours to beat myself up, embrace the results, and immediately got back on it...So if you are reading this and in the same similar situation I was in...Stop your negativity mindset now, tell yourself it is what it is, and Do what I did next....
In order to retake the exam, I needed to complete 15 CEU Hours and reapply. I didn't wait for the AANP to mail me my results and I am glad I didn't, considering it does not even break down in detail the test composition percentage, only mentions ... "The following information lists the strengths to weaknesses in descending order - Diagnoses, Assessment, Plan, Evaluation." ... I googled, AANP CEU's, was taken to their website "https://www.aanp.org/education/continuing-education-ce" There, I had to register/become a member (if you are already a member, great), forgot how much was membership but not too bad, but this opened up the door for free CEU's. Then I just started completing random ones. Mine were all online videos that I pretty much pressed play, let it run for the 1-3 hours, and came back to save my certificate. There is a post quiz after each video but you have unlimited chances (I am not recommending/advising you to do this, maybe you will learn something in the video?) I completed the ones that provided the most CEU's in 1 online video and I will post them below. Concurrently, I entered in the CEU hours on the aanpcert.org website to save time. Note, Save the certificate pdf to your desktop as you will have to upload the document when reapplying for examination. You don't have to go through the tedious steps when reappyling, it is only uploading the CEU certificates and a copy of your present RN license you originally sent... So here's the timeline of CEU's.
Friday 9/8 - I failed.
Saturday 9/9 - Treatment of Heart failure, Acute Rashes in Urgent Care, Polypharmacy, Pharmacology 101.
Sunday 9/10 - Bugs and Drugs Antibiotic Overview, Opioid Prescribing, Obesity Treatment, 2017 Update for Dx and Mgmt of HTN.
Monday 9/11 - Resent the retake application to AANP via their website, concurrently emailing them notifying I did so.
Tuesday 9/12 - AANP Approval and PSI notification to reschedule exam date..! (That fast)
I was up and down about whether I wanted to retest that same week, but also was nervous about it being my last attempt, so I decided to schedule it 1 1/2 weeks later on 9/20. Realistically, if I took the exam the next day/same week with the same amount of information I knew back then, I probably would have passed... it wasn't an issue of lack of studying/information, but moreso overcoming the nerves, and more importantly applying strategy I practiced.
My errors on my first attempt:
1) I was sooo nervous/anxious on every question, I "did" look at how much time was left, (I quote "did" because I would look at it but never really pay close attention to how much time left compared to questions still unanswered) but I didn't use it to my strategy. I knew the general rule about answering and marking the question if questionable, and theoretically should be answering 1 question per minute, which if performed appropriately would leave me 30 minutes to review. Yet, despite knowing that strategy, I ended up with no time at all to review my answers. I completed all 150 questions, but literally had 1 min left for 1 last question.
2) I focused too much on memory dumping everything I could on my scratch sheet prior to beginning the exam, thinking if its on the paper, all i have to do when a question comes up (such as dermatology/viral exanthems/JNC 8, statin benefit group, DM) is look at my scratch paper and I knew what "med" to start or what diagnoses the question referred to based upon characteristics... It felt like it was quick, but when I add it up, this wasted SOOO much of my time because when a question did come up, I would compare and contrast why one is the correct answer versus why the others are not,even though I knew the answer/diagnoses,etc... yet I wanted that secondary confirmation because it was on my scratch paper...
3) I was so tense in my neck/back. All the studying, anxiety and lack of rest leading up to test day created so much tension, I found myself changing positions frequently, which probably altered my 100% attention on the exam, misreading easy questions, and not applying test strategies for every question.
Those were just a few big ones.
What I did differently today and my game plan.
1) Mental/Physical preparation: Up until the day before yesterday, yes I did study, but it did feel like I had already known the information. BUT what I did differently, yesterday the day before the exam, I decided to take a break and enjoy the day. I looked over notes 1 last time last night. Today, I woke up early, ate a good breakfast, went to the gym for a small walk/run to ease my mind/nerves. I went home, studied for 1 hour. Had a pre-set massage appointment at 1030AM-1130AM to relieve all potential muscle tension and again, calm my nerves. Closed my eyes and told myself I got this...Took my exam at 1PM-4PM. Passed.
2) Test Strategy: I knew I had to use time more efficiently. Even prior to the first exam, I was great at test taking strategies and knew the information well enough to answer any question in 30 seconds or less (on practice exams), but didn't perform on the actual test day. So I needed to keep that mindset of confidence. My goal was to read the question at a pace not too fast to misread, but not too slow, and keep it at a pace I have practiced up til now. I'd kinda sorta think of the answer beforehand, look at all the answer choices, pick the one I thought was my first gut instinct with reasonable rationale, but before hand, would take a quick second to make sure I had a rationale also as to why each other answer choices were wrong, and more importantly LOOK FOR PATTERNS!... For example, Which of the following would more likely lead to tachycardia? A) HTN, Anemia, Pericarditis. B) Hypotension, Anemia, Fever. C)Hypothyroidism, Anemia, Hypotension, D) Pericarditis, HTN, Fever..... In this case this is how my mind worked... "Yes anemia and Hypotension cause tachycardia, so I need to pick a choice with at least those two... eliminate A and D. I see hypothyroidism, nope eliminate C. My left over answer was B.
3)Test strategy: I did mark questions I felt I needed to review, but I did NOT want to overmark any questions like I did on the first exam. My goal was if I could rationally break down a question literally to a 90-100% chance, I would pick and move on and not mark. But if I really did see a 50/50%, 60/40%, chance, or wanted to review it later because although I had a choice, I was questionable. I ended up marking 30 by the time I was done with all 150 questions (still overmarked but better this time). But in reality, it was probably only 10ish I truly needed to review while the other 20, I looked back and said yes... that's right, why did I mark it.
4)Test strategy: I mentally and physically practiced my test-pace and performed on exam day, finishing the exam in 2 hours. I took a quick 5 min break, then came back to review the marked questions. Even then when reviewing those marked questions, I again prioritized my time and I gave myself 30 minutes to review the marked questions, and the remaining 30 minutes to review the entire test just clicking to make sure I was pleased with my answer choice.
5) Test Strategy: Scratch paper - this time I was not going to info dump and fill up paper before starting as I mentally convinced myself I know it with confidence, I only really wrote down specific dermatology characteristics/viral exanthems (not all), Heart locations/sounds like APEA MR. PM. AS MVP/ARMS. CN 1-12, as well as Hepatitis B antigen,antibody Core/Surface results so I didn't spend a second trying to interpret. For these type of questions, its best to look at answer choices first because they will give you random non-related information like Hep A stuff, Hep C stuff, that isnt even in the answer choice, so don't spend your time trying to interpret those that when you finally do... you find out it's not even a choice.
6) Test Preparation: In summary, I used the following:
1) APEA Amelie Hollier review course (although I do find it great/simplistic, I believe it prepares you just enough to pass, thus if you don't know every little detail down, bad news)...
2) Leik's FNP Intensive Review (rented on - this was great! You can look at reviews, etc. about people saying it is not up to date, or has misleading information, but it goes over more in detail topics barely/rarely mentioned in APEA that DO show up on the exam, thus use it as a guide to make sure if the information is mentioned in the book, better go online to look it up more... The fast facts are amazing and question dissection.
3) APEA Qbank - I thought this was great as it has millions of questions
4) Lastly for my on the go, FNP Mastery.
....I also rented Fitzgerald because I felt I needed ALL materials I could get my hands on, but in reality I barely used it, not because it wasnt good, but because I had too much overall. I would recommend actually just MASTERING only 2, I recommend APEA/Leik's book (Paying special attention to the Geriatrics/Pediatrics portion... again geriatrics portion...)...
I do have even BETTER indepth topic strategies/tips/Recommendations for studying, but I feel its best you message me.
That's my story. I know it was long, but I know I'm not the first/last to experience failure to success, thus whoever came to this for guidance, hope it helps. Keep your head up, you got this, Good luck.Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
Sep 22, '17Congrats on passing!! I am in the same boat, I just took in on the 21st and did not pass. When you restarted did you have a few of the same questions come up or was it a whole new bank of questions?Sep 25, '17I had probably about 1/4th of the same questions. The 3/4ths of the questions were new, but did not seem as difficult. I would suggest as well... using quizlet as an outlet source. You would be surprised the type of information reviews/study guides you come across if you search hard enough . Send me a message directly via email and we can discuss further.Sep 25, '17Quote from Benia89I had probably about 1/4th of the same questions. The 3/4ths of the questions were new, but did not seem as difficult. I would suggest as well... using quizlet as an outlet source. You would be surprised the type of information reviews/study guides you come across if you search hard enough . Send me a message directly via email and we can discuss further.Congrats on passing!! I am in the same boat, I just took in on the 21st and did not pass. When you restarted did you have a few of the same questions come up or was it a whole new bank of questions?Oct 2, '17So...I just failed my exam. I stumbled across your post in my emotional upheaval. Like you, I took the Hollier review and have been studying the Liek book. Like you, I felt so confident going into the exam. Now I'm not even sure this is the right path for me. Your post did get me to giggle a bit through my tears when I got to the part about getting over my negative mindset. I'm in the same place you were, as far as being burnt out studying, and frankly, I want to take it again as soon as possible. I could quite possibly be thinking illogically since I'm an emotional wreck and my brain is fried. You mention a a better, in depth strategy that you'd be willing to share. I just signed up for this web-site so I could contact you, and it won't allow me to message you. Is there an email contact you'd recommend, or are you able to message me in some way?
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