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Should You Take the AANP or the ANCC Certification Exam?


Should You Take the AANP or the ANCC Certification Exam header

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. Ultimately, the decision is yours. No matter which you decide to pursue, Exam Edge's practice tests can help you prepare! Keep reading to understand which exam is right for your needs.

Know Your Goals

Some nurses get into the field because they have a passion for patient care. They dream of the day when they can work directly with the general public, treating and assisting those in need of medical care. Other nurses prefer a more theoretical approach to the field and enjoy the research and academic side of healthcare. Knowing which kind of nursing career you'd like to work towards can help you decide whether to take the ANCC exam or the AANP exam.

Both certifications will enable family nurse practitioners and adult-gerontology nurse practitioners to work in clinical settings throughout the United States. It will also help these professionals seek reimbursement from insurers including Medicare and Medicaid. ANCC certification, however, will be more appealing to academic hiring managers, since it requires a great deal of nursing research and theory. Take the ANCC exam if you see yourself working as an educator, or in a university setting.

Know Your Testing Style

At this point in your academic career, you've likely taken hundreds of tests. In addition to measuring your mastery of important concepts, your testing experience has likely helped you better understand the way you learn. This will serve you well in determining which nursing certification exam to take.

The AANP exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions and is completed over three hours. That leaves about 50 seconds to answer each question. Thankfully, there is no penalty for guessing. The ANCC exam, on the other hand, features between 175 and 200 questions, only some of which are multiple-choice. Drag and drop, hot spot, and multiple response test items are possible. You'll have about four hours to complete this test, depending on the number of questions you face. If you're not confident in your ability to face non-traditional test questions, you may prefer the AANP exam.

While knowing your testing style can help you decide between these two exams, you shouldn't let go of your dreams of working academia because of the ANCC exam format. Take plenty of practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format and timing of the exam, and you'll be on your way to passing with flying colors. In fact, practice tests are a smart use of your study time regardless of which test you decide to take - studies have shown that they're one of the best forms of test preparation

Know the Difference

The AANP exam focuses primarily on clinical content. The questions will address patient assessment, planning, diagnosis, and planning. Meanwhile, the ANCC exam centers around theory, professional issues, as well as clinical content. While there may indeed be some overlap in test content, these two exams offer different challenges to aspiring nurses. Before you decide which to take, be sure to review the test outlines and understand which best fits your strengths and goals.

It is widely believed that the AANP test is easier to pass than the ANCC test. While it's true that the pass rate for the AANP test is higher than the ANCC exam – in 2015, the average pass rate for the ANCC was 75 percent, while the rate for the AANP was 81 percent - both exams are incredibly challenging. On the other hand, many believe ANCC certification to be more widely accepted by hospitals nationwide. With so many pros and cons associated with each exam, it's best not to get too caught up in the minutia and instead focus on which certification fits best for your career.

Prepare for Your AANP or ANCC Exam Now

Regardless of which exam you decide to take, practice tests are a must. Exam Edge features a wide array of resources for aspiring nurses who are hoping to pass their AANP or ANCC exam on the first attempt. With options to pause, take notes, and delve deep into why an answer is right or wrong, these practice tests are instrumental to nursing exam prep. If you're eager to kickstart your new career into high gear, consider signing up for one of our free sample practice tests. Available for new users, these previews can give you an idea of just how useful Exam Edge can be! Get started today.