ANCC- Finally PASSED the 1st Time - FNP Jan. 2018

  1. I'd been so AFRAID to take boards since graduation May 2017, that I didn't even tell my family I was taking the exam!
    I sneaked out to take it and showed up at home in a T-shirt I had made at the mall afterwards: "I Passed!" (front), "The 1st Time!" (back)...

    Since I can remember, ANY time I had a Major Exit exam in order to advance to the next level, I have ALWAYS FAILED FIRST and passed on the SECOND time.
    **8th grade; High School; Associate's program exit exam and first RN state Board 20 yrs ago; and then Master's RN DRT March 2017**

    While I don't share this for pity-sake, nor to demean myself, I do hope to encourage others who may struggle the same.
    Now, admittedly, I did not have the greatest study plan-initially. But it got better...
    First, here's my exam breakdown (from what I could remember).

    MY EXAM: 200 questions (175 graded)
    1. Nearly half was non-clinical: Practice, Research, NP role, Professionalism, Ethics (including definitions)
    2. Approx. 10 Derm. questions
    3. Approx. 5-8 Resp. questions
    4. Approx. 10 Contraception, OB, STDs, Gyne, Women's health
    5. Approx. 5-10 Gero. of varying types (appropriate meds, age-related changes, injury, appropriate communication, etc.)
    6. less than 10 Peds
    7. less than 5 Health Screening & Promotion questions
    8. 4-5 Cultural questions EENT, hearing, vision
    9. And a variance of Psych, Neuro, Cardio, Renal, GI
    10. NO Cranial nerve questions (and I was Really prepared for those)

    Types of Questions
    1. Multiple choice-single answer option
    2. Multiple choice-"choose 2", "choose 3" (specific # indicated)
    3. Photos (examples)
    Knowing which patient you might need to order a topical steroid for this disorder
    Knowing which patient would need an vascular surgical intervention?
    An Xray-knowing where a disorder might initially manifest in the chest
    An Xray, CT, or MRI of a joint, spine, etc
    4. Drag & Drop (3-4 questions)
    Example: Place these interventions in the order in which you would perform them
    5. Placing types of studies in the order of strength (4-5 questions) - Drag & Drop style
    Example: Survey vs. Double Blind Randomized Trial vs. Expert-written article

    WHAT I DID: it was organized on paper, but in real life, more hectic in execution
    1. Initially, an app called "FNP" and answered all questions there (System-by-System); writing down all rationales/concepts that I couldn't remember easily; studying pertinent Mnemonics
    2. LEIK: Chapter by Chapter, adding details to the System-by-System notes mentioned above (and Review questions)
    3. BARKLEY: Listened to an audio review-- adding details to the System-by-System notes; very strong in pointing out HALLMARK s/s, BLACK BOX info, and KEY PHRASES.
    4. ANCC 2-Volume study guide: Practice, Research, NP role, etc. (and Review questions)
    5. FITZGERALD Review questions
    6. Q-BANKS: BoardVitals (ANCC), ExamEdge (ANCC & AANP), Barkley
    7. Essentially I had created and typed my own very large version of a Study Guide, that I could use to study Every System--but only the subject matter that I was most lacking in, needed help remembering, or that had very specific information (guidelines, stepwise, etc.)

    BEFORE STUDYING: Inside EACH study tool you choose, read ALL of the "tips, tools, & tricks" they offer; Each one offered great advice I had never considered.
    It changed how I read, understood, & answered questions.
    1. Start studying early
    2. Choose which board you will take (AANP vs. ANCC)
    3. Plan which study tools you will use
    4. Do not register for/set a date until you are ready to begin studying [I was still working more than full-time and not focused on studying until 3 weeks into my 90-day time-frame]
    5. Stick with your plan
    6. Answering questions from various Q-banks & Study Guides helps you learn to answer a variety of posed questions.
    AT THE EXAM: Don't skip the tutorial; there are helpful features:
    Strike-Out (answers you know are wrong)
    High-lighting feature (in the body of the question; not in the answers)
    Marking questions
    Skipping questions
    Reviewing at the end

    LONG 1st Post--but I hope it helps someone like other posts here helped me!
    Last edit by triciapharaohFNP on Jan 13
  2. Visit triciapharaohFNP profile page

    About triciapharaohFNP, MSN, APRN, NP

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 6
    from IL , US
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience


  3. by   Mhsrnbsn
    I graduate in May I'm in PANIC MODE. I travel 1 hour to clinical and was wondering if anyone has reccomendations for audio reviews I need to listen several times
  4. by   triciapharaohFNP
    I mentioned in my post, the Barkley audio exam prep, but it is my only experience.
    Because it was a recording of a live class, it was as entertaining as it was informational; I enjoyed it (as opposed to the Pharmacology online class which was very dry--basically reading the PowerPoints at you)... downfall, however, is that I did not have their training book that was used in the informational. But since you plan to listen while driving (thus not actively taking notes), this could still be useful for you!
  5. by   mbonilla1170
    Hello spiritualnurse913,

    I just took my ANCC FNP for the second time today and failed by 12 points. I used the MAria Leak review book and did an online review from Apea. I study for a long time and honestly feel fustrated that I took the test for the second time and was short of the passing grade. Can you please email me any study material you felt help you the most. My email is

  6. by   FNPmelissa
    Took the AANP yesterday and failed. Scheduled to take the ANCC in a couple weeks. The AANP version I took is the newest version as of FEB/March 2018.
    Used LEIK, Barkley CD's, Hollier live review and APEA, and Fitzgerald live review. Yes, I've spent a lot of money and time and praise God I know where I went wrong. I can tell you after just recently taking the AANP, April 16th, 2018..... LEIK (I'm on her webinar now) is incredibly spot on! How does she do it? The info is so extremely up to date! Opened 3rd edition this am and she is spot on with information on how to pass the AANP (don't know about the ANCC yet). For example, pg. 27 on intensive review book has an example question about a skin lesion with shiny wax like appearance with telangiectasia.......Basal cell carcinoma. Telangiectasia on test. There are SO many examples in LEIK book and what was on the exam I took yesterday.
  7. by   Birdie010
    Hey guys.....wanted to give anyone anxiously awaiting/studying for the exam some tips as I just passed today (7/23/2018)!!!!!

    How I studied:
    1) Fitzgerald in-person 3 day review course w/ online component
    2) Fitzgerald Review Book
    3) Board Vitals

    I was getting very anxious prior to taking the exam; as, I was reading all these review boards, and most people were studying from many sources. However, I suggest this is unnecessary. Rather picking a few valuable sources (i.e. Fitzgerald and Board Vitals) and really knowing the material each source presents.

    For me Fitzgerald was invaluable, and really presented all of the pertinent information (system by system) in a easy to understand way. I went through the work-book (that was given to us during the in-person course) in its entirety and went back to re-review sections i still felt uncomfortable with. Also, I really enjoyed the video components and listened to each system multiple times. Overall, it was a very good review of all the systems presented on the test. Further, the questions Fitzgerald presented were the most realistic to the actual ANCC exam. 2 weeks prior to the ANCC exam I took Fitzgeralds comprehensive review test and got an 80%.

    I suggest Board Vitals is a very very good question bank. Questions are much harder than the actual ANCC exam; but, the questions Board Vitals present make you think about a wide variety of topics. Also the explanations were great; and, further reinforce why answers were right and wrong. DO NOT get discouraged if you are doing poorly on these questions!! BV asks questions on a wide variety of diseases, treatments, professional issues etc......
    Prior to taking the boards I was getting 70s. However, a score in the 60s was not abnormal for me.

    Hope this helps AND GOOD LUCK!!
  8. by   spiritualnurse913
    Thank you for sharing...I am soon to take ANCC and I am studying Leik, FNP Mastery, Board Vitals and I purchased questions off of the ANCC website...Reading your post encourages me more when I sit for the exam soon.