Passed the ANCC FNP exam on the first try!


Passed the ANCC FNP exam on the first try!

On Sept 30th, 2013, I passed my Family Nurse Practitioner board certification exam. I have God to thank for it since I know I would not have been able to accomplish this without him. God knew that I was studying diligently and that I was sooo nervous about the test. Even though I had taken multiple practice tests and passed the majority of them, I was still not so convinced that I was ready.

But you really do have to believe that you can do something, do the best you can, and then put all of your faith into it. Positive thinking does have its wonderful benefits!

Along with the aforementioned, below is my recipe for full preparation for the ANCC FNP exam.
Make sure you devote at least 6-8wks for studying. Some do it in just 4 wks, but I always like to have a little extra time.

1. – I bought a test bundle of 15 exams, all 100 questions each that were on a variety of topics such as theory, politics, reimbursement, malpractice, ethics, diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. You can get 10% off the tests by entering SAVE-SLLT in the coupon code section. Do pay attention to the non-clinical questions, since they do comprise a large percentage of the exam. I took all 15 tests, read through the rationales for all the questions (not just the ones I got wrong) and wrote down things in a notebook that I needed to remember and look up later. I tried to also reread everything I wrote in the notebook.

2. Leik’s NP Cert: Intensive Review – I read through this whole book once, then reread the Cardiology, Derm, Pulmonary, Obstetrics, Peds, and GI sections over again. Make sure to read through the question dissection analysis chapter which gives helpful hints on how to approach questions. There are questions in the back, but no rationales. I only used this book since it was a fast, comprehensive, intense review that highlights key points for the exam.

3. Barkley’s Live Review Course, Barkley’s Review Manual, and accompanying CDs – I took the course, listened to the CDs in the car while traveling to work and clinicals, reread through the manual along with the CDs, jot down notes in the manual, highlighted, drew circles around key points to remember, etc. my book was a highlighter piece of madness by the end of it all. I can’t say it didn’t help though!

4. Kellermann’s Family Nurse Practitioner Necessary 1000 Practice Questions – I meant to do all 1000, but only got around to doing 500 of them. They were in random order but they are categorized at the back of the book, complete with answers & rationales. I didn’t waste my time buying books without rationales.

5. Purchased the ANCC FNP practice questions & the Test-Taking strategies course – I did all the practice questions (including the 22 free ones they put on their website) and took the online test taking strategies course. I think the test- taking strategies really helped me to assess my weak areas in test taking and figuring out how to best approach each question. This was really helpful!!

6. Print out the ANCC FNP Content Blueprint of the exam which highlights the areas of concentration. It is now 200 questions long, and you get 4 hours to take it. Only 175 of the questions are used to calculate your score, while the other 25 are used to determine how well the questions will perform on future tests. They do not tell you which questions they are though. So do your best on every question!

***Lastly, go back to your old theory books and review some of the major grand theorists cause there’s always a chance they may give you one of those questions. Know what governing body oversees what NPs can or can’t do in each state. Also know the differences between Medicare Part A, B, and C, reimbursement, SCHIP, Medicaid, HMO, PPO, and malpractice insurances. Health screenings and what are the major killers. When to report to the CDC and what not to report to the police. JNC 7, developmental stages, GOLD Asthma Guidelines, Normal Lipid Panel, know your antibiotics & bacterias, sensitivity/specificity, contraception, and all the Named Signs (McMurphy’s, Kernig’s, psoas sign, etc)

Hope this advice helps! Don’t forget to pray whenever you feel tired, anxious, or frustrated. It helped me tremendously!

“Do your best, and let God do the rest.” – unknown

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29 thoughts on “Passed the ANCC FNP exam on the first try!

    1. Yes, I did. The Barkley Review helped me to focus my studying more. They organize their material in a way that focuses solely on what you need to know to pass the test! I don’t recommend using this as your only resource though. I used at least 5 different resources to fully prepare myself for the test.

    1. Hi Ashlee,
      Sorry for the late reply, I have been busy with work and planning a wedding so I was away from my blog for awhile. I hope it is not too late to help you out.
      I bought the 15 test bundle from This helped tremendously and each test was 100 questions long that covered an array of test topics so I was able to finish 1500 questions by the end of it. I also did about 500 of the Kellerman’s book 1000 practice questions. I just did each question in the book in order, since they were randomized from different test categories. If you notice after doing the questions that you are weaker in certain areas, you can flip to the back of the book and look for questions in the category that you are most weak in, then do those. Hope this helps! Good luck!

      1. Thanks so much for the reply, I am doing the same so I understand! I passed my test a while ago so I am good. Best wishes with your wedding planning!

  1. Very helpful! thanks!! I am starting the studying today!! I registered for the Fitzgerald Live course in Dallas, and doing Barkley CDs…..

    1. I chose ANCC since I knew that most jobs I was applying for preferred this type of certification over the AANP. Also most of my professors have ANCC certifications. The ANCC is the larger, more widely recognized accrediting body. They are an extension of the American Nurses Association (ANA). It is well-recognized across the country.

  2. Congrats!!! I’m so glad I found your blog. Did you just cover a chapter a day as displayed in review books or were you more specific and do systems? Also, does Barkley Review on CD cover the areas on the ANCC exam? I’m re-taking the ANCC for the same reason you did? I was so close before yet as your post reads you have to let God do the rest and I let fear win. Not this time, I WILL PASS MY FNP ANCC EXAM!!!

    1. Hi Donna,
      Thanks, I’m glad you found my blog too! I covered at least one or two systems a day in the Barkley Review book. The Barkley Review CD did cover all of the systems and topics that are on the ANCC exam. I really recommend doing tons of questions once you’ve gone over the Barkley Review book and CD at least once all the way through. The timed practice tests are really the best. Then try to figure out what sections you should go back to and review after you’ve noticed that you are weaker in certain areas than others. I know you can defeat your fears and pass the ANCC exam. You’ve already come this far. Good luck to you!

      1. Thanks Melissa. I will be ordering the Barkley review. Congrats on your marriage and wedding. Good luck with the planning and remember to have fun on your day.

  3. Congrats on passing! Is there any reason why you didn’t choose any Fitzgerald review material? I am wanting to purchase some review CDs that I can listen to in the car on the way to work and clinical, too!

    1. There isn’t a particular reason why I didn’t choose Fitzgerald. It was just that my school had a discount on the Barkley Review courses so I took that one instead. There was a special for a group of us graduating so that it included the review course and the CDs. I have read reviews that Fitzgerald’s material works just as well. I know some of my classmates that even did both Fitzgerald and Barkley. It just depends on your preference.

  4. I took AANP but didn’t pass. I took Barkley Review course; Now I want to take ANCC, please give advice for how to use the test taking strategies. Thanks. Lilly

    1. Hi Lilly, sorry it took me so long to respond. I was on hiatus due to a recent pregnancy and marriage, but am now back to writing again! If you have taken the ANCC boards already, I hope you passed. If not, don’t fret! You can pass. I did not solely rely on Barkley Review for board preparation. I used a variety of other resources. You should check out my list of books that I bought and the test question word bank that I believe helped me out the most.

  5. Hi Nurse Melissa Anne, I’m Nurse Melissa Ann too (no “e” though!) I found this link on a amazon review page! I’m taking adult-gero NP ANCC boards next week. Thanks for the info! I have done Fitzgerald online review (which is suppose to be the same as live course) Leik review book, Aepa review questions, and 2 Barkley DRTs (my school gave us one and I purchased one). It is entirely too much information to remember! Here’s to hoping for a good result!

  6. I toke the Barkley review and failed the AANP. Barkley told that don’t study any other material except his. I’m trying to take ANCC . I also bought the family prep question. I don’t know please let me know any suggestion. Thank you

  7. Hi! Congrats to you! I hope you are still watching this page. I failed AANP twice, with a score of 487 and then second time 493/ passing is 500. I am going to take ANCC exam in 7 weeks. I got a job offer. It’s an amazing opportunity. I HAVE to pass within 60 days of hire or I will be terminated. I believe GOD has a plan for me. I know he wants me to be an NP. I am struggling. I need help. Please tell me how to study and accomplish this. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. Steph

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your previous scores. I have faith that you can pass since you were so close to passing. Please read my notes on passing in the article I wrote. And the number one thing to do is trust yourself and stay confident in your answers. I prayed very hard before my test and just gave it my best shot. Take as many practice exams beforehand using the website I listed in my article. Time yourself and also go back and understand why you picked an answer, why that was the right or wrong answer, and what thought process you had. Usually, your first guess is your best guess. So, again, have faith that you can do it, and trust yourself. “Do your best, then let God do the rest.” 😉

    2. Good morning Stephanie. I am so glad that I have found someone that is in the same predicament as me. I have also taken the ANP twice and failed as well as the ANCC once and failed. I have been studying over 2 months for my upcoming ANCC examination. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sarah.

  8. Hi nurse Melissa, I’m glad I found your site! I plan on taking the ANCC in a couple of months and have the Leik review book and took her course and have been studying but did you find the questions similar in the Leik review book and the familyFNP prep ? Is it worth getting the bundle questions?

    1. Hi Fola!

      The bundle is definitely worth getting. I feel that this was the number one thing that helped me feel confident in my test taking skills. The questions were more like what was on the ANCC exam. Good luck!

  9. Hi All, I just want to let everyone know that taking ANCC vs AANP does not make any difference in the real world. As long as you are nationally board certified, you are fine. I graduated in 2003 as an FNP & took the ANCC boards 2 weeks after & I passed. I’ve been working as an NP since 2003 & moved up in my career as an NP and now, I am one the heads of a specialty dept nationally for a huge healthcare insurance company. With my busy schedule, I forgot to renew my CEU & when I finally sent them, ANCC told me that I had to get re-certified. This was a big problem for me since I am required to be board certified in my job. I feel that ANCC does not represent Nurse Practitioners as much as AANP and so I decided to take the AANP board. I took the test last month & passed it after 2 mos of studying & took the APEA live review course & answered at least 4,000 questions. I thought the AANP exam was a lot harder than the ANCC. Anyhow, what I’m trying to state here is, it doesn’t matter what test you take. AANP is accepted in all states and in Canada & so is ANCC. I hire NPs all across the country & I do not care if you are ANCC or AANP certified & I worked for one of the biggest health insurance company in the country. A lot of NP schools are biased and direct their students to one certifying body & this should not happen since they do not know what really is out there. All magnet & prestigious hospitals & organizations that I deal with do not care as long as you are certified. But, if I had the choice between the two, I will choose AANP since they represent NP causes & lobby for them more than ANCC….good luck to everyone.

    1. Hi Edward! Thank you for your comment. All I know is that ANCC has been the larger and older accrediting body. AANP is newer. ANCC focuses on more than just Assessment, Diagnosis, Plan, and Treatment, but Ethics and Policy as well. AANP is a shorter test with 150 questions. ANCC is 200 questions covering more topics. I will agree in the real world, the most important question that employers will ask is “Are you board-certified or not?” It’s best to look up the hospital or company you would like to work for and find out in advance what accrediting body they prefer. If there is no preference, you can decide on taking either exam. I hope this helps anyone who reads this!

    2. Edward,
      I’m in the process of taking ANCC. What is the best way to study. You have taken both and you mentioned that the ANCC is easier is it due to the types of questions. Just want to prepare myself or rather focus more on the types of questions that I may be asked.

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