I promised myself I would contribute to this thread if I passed my boards. Like many of you, I have lurked through these threads hundreds of times trying to piece together the best information that I could relate to and apply towards my own studying. Here's what I have learned thRough my research:
I personally feel like I have test anxiety that is worse than the average. Waiting until I finished my program in June to study was not going to work for me. Two months before graduation, I decided to buy both the Leik and Firtzgerald current editions to study. I paced myself by studying by system, giving myself no more than 1 week to complete a system. Leik was my mane squeeze. Her info is straight and to the point. Her exam tips at the end of the chapter are super helpful for getting the main points. They also were useful for me when taking the exam as many of the points she mentioned were truly refelective on the exam. As many have mentioned however, she does have a lot of errors. That's where Fitzgerald came in. After each chapter I would use Fitzgerald to test my knowledge from the quizzes she provides, or read more in depth on topics I felt were inaccurate in Leik or just to get more info. I HIGHLY recommend getting both of these books for studying.
APPLY FOR TESTING EARLY!
This is because you want to take your exam sooner rather than later after graduation. AANP allows you to apply for testing 6 months before graduation if you are a masters student. I took my exam 3 weeks after it finished the program, but remember, I've been studying studying nice April, so I was more than prepared.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE test!
I cant emphasize this point enough! You MUST practice for the exam. Memorizing alone will not help your pass. Leik and Fitzgerald even mention this in their books. Taking practice tests will give you an idea of how the questions are formatted. They will also give you rationale of why a question was right or wrong. I completed all the 723 questions from Leik, plus most of Fitzgerald. I purchased APEA Qbank (all three, though pharm was overkill), and did a minimum of 200 questions a day for 3 weeks straight (accept for weekends where I did about 50-100). Her questions are pretty challenging. I initially scored 65 percent, but quickly was scoring upwards of 70-90%. Depending on what exams you choose; many will repeat itself.
Now that I have taken the test, I can say the exam complexity was in between Leik and APEA. Leik questions are honestly way too easy. But APEA at times could be over the top. However familiarize yourself with both styles to get an idea. I would say familiarize yourself with multiple names/explanations of the same condition. The exam is really trying to assess your knowledge regarding common conditions. Also, don't get in the habit of changing your answers. Your gut is usually right. The best tip I got from here is 105/150 is what you need to pass. When I counted, I got 106. So I submitted. The rest is history.