NP Board Exams:
Am I Ready To Test?

NP Board Exams: Am I Ready To Test?

One of the most common questions we get after a Live Clinical Webinar is “I studied using AANP, ANCC or AGNP - am I ready to test??”

We wish our response could be black and white, but if we’re being honest, it’s hard to quantify and measure when you’re ready to test for your NP board exam. There are many factors that go into the success rate of passing, but luckily, we have identified clues that can determine if you’re ready or not.

Through our test-prep NP research, we’ve found that there are 3 types of test takers. Continue reading to identify which one you are, and what clues to look for!

First Time Testers

We’re going to start with those who have never tested for their NP board exam. This is your first attempt at certification so you’re usually in a post-graduation daze and are preparing with your tried and true study routine.

If you’re having trouble determining if it’s time to test, we encourage you to ask yourself these questions (click on the phrase to hear our suggestion):

Have I studied an appropriate amount of time?
We find 4 to 6 weeks is the standard time frame for those preparing for the NP board exam, but you can customize according to your study needs.
Are you revolted at the mere thought of looking at one more flashcard?
Take this as a sign of your brain saying “don’t bore me anymore” - you are ready to test.
Can you answer study questions in great depth or have a full fledged conversation about the topic at hand?
Look at you, knowing more than the average Joe on this complex disease process! You're ready to test.
Do you see a topic and are able to go through it quickly in your head?
This is your subconscious telling you you’re ready!
Can you break it down to someone who is not clinical?
Your big words don’t impress us! They say the true test of clinical knowledge is being able to break down complex topics and simplify them for someone with no clinical background.
Does your child/partner know Professor Walden’s voice because you’ve been playing our videos nonstop for the past 3 months – it’s time.
Self explanatory - it's time.

Again, there’s no real way to quantify or measure your success rate. This is also why predictor exam scores could be wrong! Their method’s effectiveness varies from person to person – don’t let these scores discourage you from testing.

Failed and Retaking the Exam

We’re going to simplify this. If you have recently sat for your NP board exam and failed, you basically have a cheat sheet - your Score Breakdown Sheet.

This document highlights your strengths and weaknesses as well as other useful information that guides you through which sections to focus on when studying again.

Because you've already taken the exam. You know what it feels like and what’s expected – you have the advantage. TAKE ADVANTAGE. Ask yourself the following questions:

What topics were you unsure of while filling in answers?
Are there areas of the exam in which you drew a blank?

Deep dive into these two questions to guide your path of studying and once you feel confident in answering the above, take that as your cue to test again.

According to statistics, 86% pass AANP on the first try – it’s hard. But don’t fret! You retaking this exam just shows that you’re a badass twice round.

It’s been 5-15 Years Since You've Tested.

If this is you, the key starting from scratch and getting a solid foundation for your studying. Go back and look at the First Time Test-taker student, because friend, - that’s where you’re at.

We’re not going to dwell on the past or beat ourselves up for letting time pass. There are new guideline updates since you were in school or since you last studied, so give yourself a clean slate.

And don’t worry – there are a lot of test takers who fall into this category out there. You’re not alone, this is more common than you think! It’s easy to get caught up working long and crazy hours, especially in these COVID-19 money times.

If you are in this category confidence is half the battle. You can know everything relating to your exam, but unchecked anxiety and no confidence will affect your score.

Throughout the people that we’ve helped pass, many of them will come to us saying they had a 4.0 GPA but failed boards. This is because there are specific skills needed for test-taking in addition to understanding the information.

“But Professor Walden, I memorized everything in your Bronze Crash Course. How come I didn’t pass?”

To install true, unwavering confidence, you cannot just memorize study material. You have to learn to understand. Here’s the key - if you can’t explain the process of how you got to your chosen answer, then you’re not able to apply the information in the way these exams are going to present their questions – aka, you won’t pass or know what you’re doing when you start seeing patients. So do the work! Learn for understanding and the confidence will follow.

One last tip: go into the exam room acting like you have the job already. Brush your hair, put on makeup, put on real clothes (we understand COVID-19 has everyone real comfortable in sweats), but play the role. Write on the #NPin5minutes at the top of your scratch paper and know that you’re walking out a certified Nurse Practitioner.

You got this.

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