ANCC® FNP Exam Guide

A FNP student preparing for the ANCC board certification exam.
Learn more about the ANCC FNP board certification exam with UWorld Nursing’s ANCC FNP Exam guide.
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A FNP student preparing for the ANCC board certification exam.
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The ANCC® Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) board-certification test is a competency-based examination from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Candidates are required to pass the ANCC FNP exam in order to earn board certification and practice as an FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified). 

Once a registered nurse meets the necessary professional requirements and passes the ANCC FNP exam, they are credentialed by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification for a total of five years as a family nurse practitioner. At the end of the five years, an FNP’s board certification must be renewed.

With so much riding on the ANCC FNP exam, nurses preparing for this high-stakes certification test need to know what to expect.

Here is some helpful information to consider:

How Many Questions Are on the ANCC FNP Exam?

The ANCC FNP exam is made up of 175 questions. 25 of those questions are pretest questions and unscored. The pretest questions are indistinguishable from the scored questions. You will be graded on the 150 scored questions you complete. 

How Long Do You Have To Take the ANCC FNP Exam?

Candidates are permitted 3.5 hours to complete the exam.

What Types of Questions Are on the ANCC Exam?

According to the ANCC’s content outline, the exam is divided into four categories:

  1. Assessment: 31 questions (21% of the exam)
  2. Diagnosis: 39 questions (26% of the exam)
  3. Clinical Management: 65 questions (43% of the exam)
  4. Professional Role: 15 questions (10% of the exam)

How are ANCC Questions Developed?

The questions — “items” — on the ANCC FNP exam are created by certified nurses who are content experts in their respective fields. These items are then thoroughly reviewed by a Content Expert Panel and field-tested as unscored items before being used on the exam. 

How Much Does It Cost To Take the ANCC FNP Exam?

Registration for the exam is $295 for American Nurses Association (ANA) members and $395 for non-members.

Now that we’ve covered some general information about the ANCC FNP exam, let’s look specifically at the ANCC FNP exam guide . . . 

How Is the ANCC Exam Scored?

The ANCC FNP exam is a pass/fail exam.  It is a criterion-referenced exam, meaning a test-taker must reach a score that is equal to or greater than the minimum score set by the ANCC. It doesn’t matter how other students score, candidates must achieve the minimum score to pass the exam.

After completing the exam, your raw score (the number of items you answered correctly) is converted to a scale score using a conversion formula. It is this score — your scale score — that determines if you’ve passed or failed the exam.

What Is the ANCC FNP Passing Score?

The maximum possible score on the exam is 500. A scaled score of 350 or higher is required to pass the exam.

What Happens If I Don’t Pass the Exam?

If you do not reach a score of 350, which is required to pass the ANCC exam, the ANCC will provide you with a score report with diagnostic feedback regarding the major content areas tested on the exam. This information will be helpful as you prepare to retake the exam.

According to the ANCC, there are three diagnostic feedback categories:

LOWThe score you obtained for this content area is below an acceptable level. Substantial study of this content area is recommended prior to retaking the examination.
MEDIUMThe score you obtained for this content area is marginally acceptable; however, further study of this content area is recommended, prior to retaking the examination.
HIGHThe score you obtained for this content area is well above average; however, a review of this content area may be helpful to you prior to retaking the examination.

If you don’t pass the exam, you are permitted to retake the exam after waiting 60 days, but you may not test more than three times in a 12-month period.

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We hope this ANCC FNP exam guide has been helpful. If you’re wondering how to prepare for the ANCC FNP exam, we can help. Our industry-leading online learning tool incorporates challenging questions, detailed explanations, vivid illustrations, and customizable flashcards to reinforce clinical thinking. It’s no surprise that nearly a million nursing students have used UWorld for their high-stakes exam preparation since we launched our nursing product in 2015. Start your FNP FREE trial today to see how we can prepare you for the test and for new levels of career success.

References

Test content outline – american nurses association. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2021, from https://www.nursingworld.org/~48f9cc/globalassets/certification/certification-specialty-pages/resources/test-content-outlines/familynp-tco-may-222.pdf.  

Scores & retest application. ANA. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2021, from https://www.nursingworld.org/certification/certification-policies/scores-retest-application. ANCC Certification General Testing and Renewal Handbook. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.nursingworld.org/~4ac882/globalassets/certification/renewals/GeneralTestingandRenewalHandbook.

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