How to Prepare for Your ANCC Certification Exam
By: American Nurses Association
You’ve taken the first important step toward getting certified and advancing your career.
Here are some important tips to help you prepare for your ANCC certification exam.
Learn how the exam is structured
Carefully review the General Testing and Renewal Handbook an overview of ANCC testing procedures and how to maintain certification.
Take advantage of ANCC resources
ANCC offers exam resources including a Test Content Outline, Test Reference List and sample test questions and answers. Find these resources on ANCC’s website: www.nursingworld.org/ancc/
- Test Content Outline
The Test Content Outline is a roadmap to your exam! It identifies areas that are included, as well as the percentage and number of questions in each of the major categories of the scored portion. Use it to guide your study process.
- Test Reference List
The Test Reference List includes many of the authoritative texts used to develop ANCC certification exams. It will help you prepare for your examination, but is not intended to be all inclusive. Hyperlinks are included to help you locate resources.
- Sample Test Questions and Answers
Sample questions are similar to those on the exam, but do not represent the full range of content or levels of difficulty. Please note: Answering these or any sample question(s) is not a requirement to sit for an actual certification examination. Completion of these or any other sample question(s) does not imply eligibility for certification or successful performance on any certification examination.
- Education & Resources Certification Prep Resources
ANA Education & Resources offers a number of preparation items that you can leverage to study for your exam. These items are cost effective and allow you to study at the pace that best fits your lifestyle. Take advantage of online webinars, practice questions and Review & Resource manuals to help you prepare for this important step in your nursing career.
- Test Content Outline
Develop a personal study plan
Approximately six months before you take your exam, create a formal study plan. Include topics, timetable, resources, and study methods that work for you. Schedule regular times to study and try to study in one-hour increments, without cramming.
Implement your study plan
Stick to your schedule! Take regular breaks. Having trouble getting motivated? Ask a friend to help or change your study plan. Adjust your plan as you learn where you need to focus.
Take a review course (if available)
Taking a review course is an excellent way to assess your knowledge of the test content. Schedule the course well before your exam date so you have time to master unfamiliar content. Concentrate on areas where your knowledge is not as strong.
Consider various study methods
Find a study buddy or group, review current textbooks and articles, review class notes, or join an online community. Different study methods can augment your self-study efforts.
Don’t expect to know everything about all topics in the Test Content Outline. Use the percentage and number of questions in each category to refine your areas of focus.
Pace your studying
If you feel overwhelmed or have trouble concentrating, take a break. Change your study pattern, if necessary. Break overwhelming tasks into smaller tasks that you know you can do.
- Certification Exam Tips
- Look for key points such as age, medical diagnosis, time frame, and comorbidity.
- Look for key words such as: except, always, first, and best.
- Thoroughly read each question and all choices before answering.
- All information needed to answer each question is provided; never assume information that is not given.
- Answer the easy questions first; flag the questions left unanswered and return to the difficult questions, at the conclusion of the exam.
- Answer ALL questions.
- Day Before Exam
- Take time for yourself. Try yoga or meditation. Eat properly throughout the day.
- Review the testing center link, the night before https://www.prometric.com/en-us/for-test-takers/prepare-for-test-day/pages/overview.aspx and assemble all items required for the testing center.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Be sure to bring a valid, unexpired government-issued ID card (with picture).
- Day of Examination
- Eat a nutritious breakfast.
- Before you leave, check the status of your testing center location on Prometric’s status page. https://www.prometric.com/en-us/Pages/home.aspx
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing center, to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
- Be confident…
You already have a great deal of knowledge in your specialty area.
In your choice of ANCC certification
The ANCC Certification Program is nationally renowned as a true gauge of your ability to provide excellent care. Exam content reflects real-world clinical situations. Exams are designed to validate nursing practice specialties, objectively assess entry-level competency in advanced practice registered nursing (APRN), as well as inter-professional practice in specialty fields.