5 Tips for FNP Students to Pass the AANPCB Exam

The Family Nurse Practitioner Certification examination is a competency-based, entry-level test given by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Board (AANPCB). The goal is to assess clinical knowledge in family/individuals across the life cycle (prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, older adult, and elderly primary care).


As a family nurse practitioner, you can advance your healthcare career in a variety of ways. After passing the exam, you can provide health care to both children and adults, prioritize preventative care and wellness, and practice any number of healthcare settings including underserved communities. Family nurse practitioners have a significant influence on the health of communities and provide healthcare services that benefit a wide portion of the population.


The FNP certification exam is extensive, so you will need to apply concepts, facts, and abilities that you have learned in your NP program and during the hundreds of direct patient care clinical hours. Consider these five tips that can help you prepare for this critical test.


1. Take an exam review course

A good exam review course will summarize the vast body of knowledge needed for evidence-based NP practice and for successfully passing the NP boards. The review should also include test-taking tips and sample practice questions to help you hone your clinical decision-making and test-taking skills. High-quality review courses provide you with a current, thorough, evidence-based foundation that will allow you to succeed on your exam.


This is a better approach than relying solely on memorization or practice tests to prepare. A review course will help you pinpoint and understand the core concepts and apply the knowledge to the context and intent of the exam.


2. Allow ample study time

Once you understand what concepts and topics to focus on, you can look for areas where you need to improve. Also, make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly obligations, including job, family, personal, and professional. Then set up a consistent block of time for FNP study.


Allow at least four to six weeks of scheduled study after completing the review course to increase your chances of success. Arrange your study time in two-to-three-hour blocks, taking one day off a week for a break. Make learning a part of your daily routine in whichever way works best for you.


3. Supplement areas that need work

Make a note of the areas where you believe your knowledge base is solid and where you think simply reviewing information to refresh your memory would suffice. Don’t spend a lot of time and energy on the subjects you feel confident about upfront.


After identifying your weak areas, use the bulk of your study time to understand these topics better. After each session, examine the areas covered and identify your strong and weak areas of knowledge.


4. Combat test anxiety with more test preparedness


A little anxiety before an exam is normal; it can sharpen your mind and focus your attention. Test anxiety, however, can cause feelings of concern and self-doubt, which might impair your test-taking performance.


Inadequate or inefficient exam preparation contributes significantly to test anxiety. Conversely, you will feel more confident stepping into the testing center if you know you have fully prepared.


Set your exam date only after completing a methodical, certification-focused study to expand your knowledge base and sharpen your clinical decision-making skills. After you have finished your studies, taking additional practice tests can validate your knowledge and boost your confidence.


Test preparedness may not completely relieve the anxiety you feel before taking the FNP exam, but it will help you focus after you start. Proper test preparedness will allow you to read each question and fully understand the concept before selecting an answer.


5. Focus on knowledge building first and then use test questions to gauge your progress

Use practice questions* to complete, rather than begin, your certification review. If you are not scoring well on practice questions, you need to study the materials connected with them thoroughly.


Are you prepared for your AANPCB Exam?

Preparedness, desire, and optimism will take you far in your new profession as a family nurse practitioner. The first step after completing your education is to take the FNP exam. The more you study for that exam, the more likely you are to be successful.


As one of the leading FNP exam preparation resources, Fitzgerald Health Education Associates features a 99%+ pass rate and an NP Pass Guarantee. Led by an experienced team of practicing, board-certified NPs, we have helped more than 140,000 NPs pass their NP Certification Exams, including the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam, and enter a rewarding NP career with confidence.


Fitzgerald Health Education Associates offers you the materials and tools you need to achieve your objectives and improve your abilities. Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions about FNP certification review or continuing education.

*Disclaimer: It’s important to remember that practice tests should be used as a means of recognizing whether or not you’re ready to take your NP boards, and should be utilized as you’re wrapping up your NP certification review, not beginning it. For more information to help guide you through the first steps of your learning journey, visit fhea.com.

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