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ANCC Test Information


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What are the ANCC Tests?

Nursing certification exams come in many varieties. Depending on your speciality area, location, and educational background, you might be required to take any number of nursing exams in order to earn your professional license. The American Nurses Credentialing Center, or ANCC, offers a number of certification exams for healthcare professionals. There are a wide range of study strategies and tools to use in the days leading up to such tests, but taking an ANCC practice test is one of the very best ways to prepare.

Which ANCC Test Do I Take?

Given the ANCC’s mission to qualify nurses for professional practice, it’s no surprise that they offer dozens of certification exams. Knowing which one to take can be confusing at first. It can help to look through their offerings with a clear career goal in mind. ANCC offers several core subject areas, including Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), and Specialty Certifications.

How to Prepare for ANCC Tests

Studying for ANCC tests is no easy feat. To provide some direction for your test prep, consider taking an ANCC practice test or two. The results can highlight which content areas deserve a second look and which topics you've clearly mastered. Anyone curious about how to prepare for ANCC tests can benefit from practice exams, as they're consistently ranked among the very best test prep tools.

How to register for the ANCC

Once it's clear which ANCC test you need to register for, it's time to apply. While you might not have ever had to apply for registration for any other test in your lifetime, the process helps ensure you're adequately prepared for the ANCC's rigorous exams. Before you can officially begin the ANCC registration process, you'll need to submit an application with your educational history, work experience, and other related volunteer experience. To apply, simply head over to the ANCC's official application portal.

Register online Register for the ANCC

How Does ANCC Scoring Work?

NCC tests are all pass/fail. They are criterion-referenced exams, meaning that your score is not compared with the scores of other examinees. Instead, you must earn a score equal to or higher than the minimum threshold for passing. Each test features between 150 to 175 scored test questions and 25 pilot test questions that don't count towards your overall score. Earn at least 350 points or more and you'll pass. Taking an ANCC practice test can help you predict how you'll perform on the day of the real exam.



What is ANCC Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)?

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a graduate-level registered nurse who is certified in a specialty nursing skill of their choice. Obtaining an ANCC specialty certification demonstrates that you have an advanced level of knowledge as well as advanced clinical skills in a specific area of nursing. If you hope to work with children, for instance, you'll want to take the ANCC Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist exam. Those planning for a career in the mental health field may want to register for the ANCC Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist exam. No matter your goals, your academic advisors can help you through the ANCC registration process, so be sure to refer to their guidelines as you prepare.




ANCC Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Exams

100 - Multiple Choice
Direct Care - 59%
Professional Practice - 30%
Organizational/System - 11%

210 Minutes
ANCC® Adult-Gerontology CNS (AGCNS)

175 questions await examinees of the ANCC® Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists (AGCNS) test. The exam was designed to gauge the content knowledge and practical skills required for a job in the healthcare field. Expect questions on topics including the assessment and diagnosis of patients, planning and implementation of treatment, as well as program evaluation. To earn a passing score, you’ll need to be familiar with the body systems, drug agents, and age groups of patients you’ll serve. Understanding of nursing organizational systems will also come in handy on this challenging test.

100 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 28%
Planning and Implementation - 44%
Evaluation - 28%

185 Minutes

What is ANCC Nurse Practitioner?

Specialty certifications and Certified Nursing Specialist exams aren't the only options available from the ANCC. Aspiring Nurse Practitioners can also take ANCC tests to get certified for licensure. ANCC Nurse Practitioner tests are just as varied as the other categories of ANCC tests. Whether you plan to work as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, or an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, there is an ANCC test waiting to be taken. For those hoping to work as a Family Nurse Practitioner, an ANCC FNP practice test can be especially helpful ahead of the real exam.




ANCC Nurse Practitioner Exams

100 - Multiple Choice
Foundations of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Practice - 31%
Health Care Policy and Delivery - 10%
Clinical Assessment - 28%
Clinical Management - 31%

210 Minutes
ANCC® Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

The ANCC® Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) exam was developed to assess the skills, experience and content knowledge of aspiring healthcare workers. Certification awaits those who can earn a passing score on this challenging exam. 175 questions await examinees, so be ready to address topics including the patient assessment process, plan of care, as well as professional practice. A familiarity with the body systems, drug agents, and age group of prospective patients will also serve you well.

125 - Multiple Choice
APRN Core Competencies - 16%
Clinical Practice - 46%
Role-Professional Responsibility - 33%
Health Care Systems - 5%

120 Minutes
ANCC® Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

If you’re graduating from your nursing program soon, chances are good you’ll need to take and pass the ANCC® Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) exam before you earn your certification. Created to measure the skills and content knowledge of aspiring primary care nurse practitioners, the test is nothing if not challenging. On test day, you’ll face 175 questions on topics including pharmacology, disease prevention, diagnostic test results interpretation, as well as the management of co-morbidities and social assessments.

125 - Multiple Choice
Patient Assessment Process - 23%
Plan of Care - 62%
IProfessional Practice - 15%

150 Minutes
ANCC® Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Your ability to assess, diagnose, plan and evaluate patient care will be put to the test with the ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner exam. With 150 multiple-choice questions to answer in a span of just three hours, it’s a good idea to incorporate practice testing into your exam prep. Thankfully, Exam Edge has a library of tools, resources and practice tests to help you get ready for the big test. Get started now by signing up for a free sample practice exam!

150 - Multiple Choice
Assessment - 21%
Diagnosis - 26%
Clinical Management - 43%
Professional Role - 10%

180 Minutes
ANCC® Nursing Professional Development (NPD)

175 questions await registrants of the ANCC® Nursing Professional Development (NPD) exam. 25 items are pilot questions that won’t count towards your final score. The remaining 150 questions focus on topics including education, leadership, communications, ethics, legal, practice and process improvement, as well as technology and program management. Take time to review theories, foundations and best practices of these content areas ahead of your exam date and you’re sure to earn the score you need for this certification.

100 - Multiple Choice
Education - 29.33%
Leadership - 14.67%
Communication - 12.67%
Ethical/Legal - 20.00%
Practice and Process Improvement - 8.67%
Technology - 7.33%
Program and Project Management - 7.33%

150 Minutes
ANCC® PMHNP Psych-Mental Health NP (PMHNP)

The ANCC® Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) (PMHNP) exam was developed to measure the knowledge, skills and experience of aspiring healthcare workers. This 175 question exam covers topics including the foundations of science, advanced practice skills, diagnosis and treatment, psychotherapy and ethical and legal principles. To ensure you earn a passing score, take time to review these content areas and take a practice test or two. It’s the best way to determine how you’d fare if the exam were tomorrow.

100 - Multiple Choice
Scientific Foundation - 20%
Advanced Practice Skills - 25%
Diagnosis and Treatment - 25%
Psychotherapy and Related Theories - 15%
Ethical and Legal Principles - 15%

150 Minutes

What is ANCC Specialty Certifications?

In addition to the certification exams offered for aspiring clinical nurse specialists, the ANCC also offers specialty certifications. Over a dozen specialty areas are available for examination, including National Healthcare Disaster Certification, Pain Management Nursing, and Cardiac Vascular Nursing. No matter your area of expertise, chances are good that there is an ANCC exam available for you to get certified. The skills required to pass these exams vary widely, so it's best to take an ANCC Speciality Certification practice test to prepare thoroughly.




ANCC Specialty Certifications Exams

150 - Multiple Choice
Core Competencies - 23%
Clinical Practice - 45%
Professional Role - 32%

210 Minutes
ANCC® Ambulatory Care Nursing (RN)

200 questions await examinees of the ANCC® Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPC) test. Designed to gauge the skills, talents and knowledge of aspiring nurse practitioners, the exam covers topics including clinical practice, core competencies, professional responsibility and health care systems. Advanced knowledge of physiology and pathophysiology are required to earn a passing score on this rigorous exam. If you’re hoping to pass on your first attempt, be sure to revisit the principles of pharmacology before your test date.

100 - Multiple Choice
Clinical Practice - 50.67%
Communication - 22.67%
Professional Issues - 6.00%
Systems - 10.67%
Education - 10%

130 Minutes
ANCC® Cardiac Vascular Nursing (RN)

The ANCC® Cardiac Vascular Nursing (RN) test consists of 150 questions. 25 of the questions are pilot items that don’t count towards your overall score, but the remaining 125 questions address five main content domains: assessment and diagnosis, planning and implementation, evaluation and modification, as well as patient and community education. Since the test represents the final hurdle in your quest to become certified, it pays to spend your time preparing as thoroughly as possible ahead of your exam date.

100 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 25%
Planning and Implementation - 35%
Evaluation and Modification - 22%
Patient and Community Education - 18%

180 Minutes
ANCC® Gerontological Nursing (RN)

If you’re hoping to become a registered nurse specializing in gerontological nursing, this certification exam is for you. Designed to measure the skills and knowledge of new nurses, the ANCC® Gerontological Nursing (RN) exam consists of 150 questions. 25 items are pilot questions that will not count toward your overall score, but the remaining 125 questions address topics including assessing and diagnosing patients, planning, implementing and evaluating treatments, as well as the professional foundations of modern nursing.

125 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 28%
Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation - 40%
Professional Foundation - 32%

180 Minutes
ANCC® Informatics Nursing (RN-BC Informatics)

The ANCC® Informatics Nursing (RN-BC Informatics) test is a competency based exam that challenges aspiring nurses on their skills and content knowledge. With 175 questions to face during the testing period, examinees must be as prepared as possible if they hope to earn a passing score. To ensure you’re ready for anything the test might throw your way, take time to review topics including the foundations of professional practice, system design life cycle, as well as data management and healthcare technology. With enough advanced preparation, you’re sure to earn the certification you deserve.

100 - Multiple Choice
Foundations of Practice - 51%
System Design Life Cycle - 28%
Data Management and Health Care Technology - 21%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 42%
Planning, Implementation and Outcomes Evaluation - 46%
Professional Role - 12%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Mitigation - 19%
Preparedness - 36%
Response - 29%
Recovery - 16%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Human Resource Management - 31%
Quality and Safety - 21%
Business Management - 14%
Health Care Delivery - 33%

180 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Structures and Processes - 28%
Exemplary Professional Practice - 29%
Transformational Leadership - 30%
New Knowledge and Practice Applications - 13%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Professional Foundation - 20%
Care Coordination - 30%
Quality Management - 30%
Health Promotion - 20%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Foundations of Pain - 42%
Interventions - 42%
Professional Practice - 15%
* Total is not 100% due to rounding

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 34%
Planning and Implementation - 30%
Evaluation - 36%

210 Minutes
100 - Multiple Choice
Assessment and Diagnosis - 22%
Planning - 22%
Implementation - 39%
Evaluation - 18%

210 Minutes

ANCC Retake Policy

If you do not pass your ANCC test the first time, there is hope. Retakes are permissible, but there is a lengthy waiting period. The ANCC also limits the amount of retakes a person can take in a calendar year. Fail three times in 12 months and you'll have to wait until the next year to retake the exam a fourth time. A failing score can seriously delay your career plans, so be sure you pass on your first attempt. An ANCC practice test can offer a risk-free way to challenge yourself on the content without wasting valuable time and money.

ANCC Waiting Period Requirements

If you fail your ANCC exam, you'll be required to wait 60 days before retaking it. Only three attempts are allowed per calendar year, so you'll want to make the most of each attempt. Don't go into the testing center without taking an ANCC practice test first. It's the best way to ensure you're spending your study time and registration fees wisely.



For more ANCC information, try these pages


What is the ANCC Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Exam and How Can I Pass?
What is the ANCC Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Exam and How Can I Pass?
May-03-2020

When vulnerable people need help, they often turn to sensitive and highly-trained healthcare workers. Mental health practitioners provide life-saving care when their patients need them most. Before these healthcare workers can begin practicing professionally, though, they need to first demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The PMHNP certification exam offered by the ANCC is one way to qualify aspiring mental healthcare workers for their jobs.
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How to Prepare for the ANCC FNP Nursing Exam
How to Prepare for the ANCC FNP Nursing Exam
September-10-2019

Taking your career to new heights can be exciting. At times, though, the process can be stressful, especially when a new certification is on the line. When all your hard work and years of schooling come down to a single qualifying exam, the pressure can be overwhelming. While it’s important to push oneself, it’s equally as important to arm yourself with the tools you need to meet your goals. Simply sitting down for the test and hoping for a passing score will get you nowhere fast.


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Four Things You Should Know Before Your ANCC Certification Exam
Four Things You Should Know Before Your ANCC Certification Exam
August-20-2019

The ANCC exam offers healthcare professionals the chance to advance their nursing careers and prove their ability to provide stellar patient care. Regardless of your area of expertise, you’ll likely need to take an ANCC exam to begin working in the field. The good news? If you’re considering certification, you’re likely already extremely knowledgeable about the test content. While you may need to brush up on some facts and figures and gain a more in-depth understanding of the way the test is structured, you likely already have the wherewithal to pass your ANCC exam.


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Should You Take the AANP or the ANCC Certification Exam?
Should You Take the AANP or the ANCC Certification Exam?
August-16-2019

The choice to take either the ANCC exam or the AANP exam is an incredibly important one. There’s no linear path to becoming a nurse – because there are so many different kinds of nursing, many aspiring healthcare professionals become confused over which certification to pursue. Understanding the difference between these two certification exams can help you make the right choice for your nursing career. 


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Nursing Specialties: How Many Should You Choose?
Nursing Specialties: How Many Should You Choose?
July-22-2019

The world of nursing is a wide one. While the general public might not know it, there are just as many kinds of nurses as there are kinds of illnesses! As aspiring nurses get further and further along in their coursework, they’ll discover that the possible career paths ahead of them are incredibly varied. No matter your area of interest, chances are good that there’s a kind of nursing specialty that focuses in on it. All involve solving problems, caring for patients, and staying on the cutting edge of medical discoveries.


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ANCC Exam - What You Need to Know
ANCC Exam - What You Need to Know
July-12-2018

The ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) test is an exam offered through Prometric for registered nurses who wish to become certified as advanced nursing practitioners. ...
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