How do I Prepare for the Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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Practice tests are a helpful way to study for the nurse practitioner certification exam. Granted, in preparing for the nurse practitioner certification exam, it can also be helpful to just focus on developing a deep understanding of the nature of nurse practitioner practice. This requires getting the necessary education and practice experience as well as doing specific preparation for the exam.

For instance, understanding of the nature of nurse practitioner practice requires that you earn a nursing bachelor's degree which includes courses such as health assessment, pharmacology, mental health, psychiatric nursing, pediatric nursing, and community health. Then it is necessary for you to get the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) where you will further develop skills and will meet the master's degree educational requirement necessary for becoming a working nurse practitioner. Also, since a lot of nurse practitioners do specialize in one area in medicine, it will be necessary for you to declare a practitioner specialty prior to beginning preparation for the nurse practitioner certification exam.

The certification exams for nurse practitioners are given by various organizations, several times a year. For example, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the National Certification Corporation (NCC), and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) all give nurse practitioner certification exams. Preparation for these exams can be done through several means.


The ANCC offers its own listing of Test Content Outlines (TCOs) which include nurse practitioner certification exam content outlines for each nurse practitioner specialty. The ANCC also offers certification exam sample questions for each of these exams. In addition, the ANCC offers review seminar courses, test taking strategy courses, critical thinking courses, study group opportunities nationwide at many hospitals or nursing schools, in-person meetings, and conference calls where individuals discuss information that will be relevant to the content on the exam.

Fitzgerald Health Education Associates (FHEA) offers preparation materials that can be used to prepare for the AANP, NCC, and PNCB nurse practitioner certification exams. This company is accredited by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and is an example of an approved provider of nurse practitioner continuing education. Fitzgerald Health Education Associates (FHEA) offers live seminars, recorded seminars, review books, online seminars, and online tests for the purpose of helping nurses prepare to pass the nurse practitioner certification exams given by AANP, NCC or PNCB.


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