How Do I Prepare For My Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam?

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Obtaining nurse practitioner (NP) board certification is a necessary final step in the progression from registered nurse (RN) to NP. In fact, the title of nurse practitioner applies only to those with a valid NP credential, and one earns that credential by passing the NP board certification exam in one’s specialty area. The board administering the exam will depend on the specialty. In most cases, only one board certifies an NP with a particular specialization, but there are some cases (pediatric primary care NP and adult-gerontology primary care NP, for example) where a nurse practitioner may seek certification from one board or more.

Typically, nurse practitioner students spend three to six months preparing for their certification exam. During this time, students should be finishing courses and clinical hours as well as applying for jobs or residencies. Exam preparation can include a variety of methods such as self-study, online exam prep courses, and in-person conferences.

Students should check their certifying board’s website for an examination content outline and for other test preparation materials like books, practice exams, and sponsored seminars. Find your certifying board, and its website, by locating your chosen NP specialization in the list below.

  1. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) credentials acute care, adult, adult-gerontology acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, adult psychiatric mental health, psychiatric mental health, school, emergency, family, gerontological, pediatric primary care.
  2. The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) credentials pediatric primary care and pediatric acute care.
  3. The National Certification Corporation (NCC) credentials neonatal and women’s health.
  4. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) credentials adult, family, gerontological, and adult-gerontology primary care.

NP Board Certification Exam Preparation Specialists

Additional resources for preparing for your nurse practitioner board certification exam include Advanced Practice Education AssociatesBarkley & Associates, and Fitzgerald Health Education Associates.

  1. Advanced Practice Education Associates (APEA) is a nurse practitioner founded company that offers certification preparation resources, continuing education, books, and an online clinical reference library. Throughout the year, they conduct live courses across the United States. Their books include pocket references, clinical practice guidelines, and certification practice questions. They offer certification preparation materials for the following specialities: family, adult-gerontology, and adult.
  2. Barkley & Associates is another company designed to provide education specifically for nurse practitioners. They provide certification preparation, review books, and continuing education. Barkley & Associates offers their courses online, in-person, or via audio CDs. Their faculty includes expert nurse practitioners across a variety of medical specialties. They provide certification preparation materials for the following specialities: family, adult-gerontology primary care, pediatric, adult-gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health, and women’s health.
  3. Fitzgerald Health Education Associates is a well known and trusted source of nurse practitioner continuing education and certification preparation. the company was founded by an NP, and its faculty includes nationally renowned NP experts. They provide certification preparation materials for the following specialties: family, adult-gerontology primary care, adult, adult-gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health, women’s health, and pediatric primary care.

NP Certification Exam Prep Books for Self-Study

Excellent books for self-study are listed in the table below and categorized by specialty.

NP SpecialtyBooks
Acute Care NPAcute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Study BookFamily Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions
Adult NPAdult and Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination: Review Questions and Strategies
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NPAdult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NPAdult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice QuestionsAdult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study GuideAdult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Review GuideAdult-Gerontology and Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination: Review Questions and Strategies
Family NPAdult-Gerontology and Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination: Review Questions and StrategiesNurse Practitioner: Certification Examination and Practice PreparationFamily Nurse Practitioner Practice QuestionsFamily Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study GuideFamily Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions
Neonatal NPNeonatal Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study Guide
Pediatric Primary Care NPPediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification Review Guide: Primary CarePediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification Review GuidePediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study Guide
Pediatric Acute Care NPLippincott Certification Review: Pediatric Acute Care Nurse PractitionerPediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification Review Guide
Psychiatric-Mental Health NPPsychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Review and Resource ManualFamily Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certification ReviewFamily Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study GuideAdult Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study Guide
Women’s Health NPMidwifery & Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Review GuideWomen’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study Guide
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