Yes. Both of the examinations to become a Certified Nurse Practitioner (NP) are very challenging. For example, as of 2019, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam's pass rate is listed at 86% for the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) exam, and 84% for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP (AGPCNP) exam. The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) NP certification exam boasts an 86.2% pass rate for the FNP exam and a 79% pass rate for the AGPCNP exam, as of 2018 data. Considering the years of commitment to the school and clinical experience, to have 14-21% of participants fail the exam would definitely list these in the "difficult" realm of certifications.

However, there are many certification exam preparation courses that guarantee the candidate to pass the exam or receive a complete refund. In addition to numerous third-party test preparation courses such as Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, each certification board offers its own test-prep programs and curriculum to support candidates in confidently sitting for the examinations. The ANCC offers free study aids to prospective NPs, while the AANP website lists many practice examinations students can use as a study guide.

RELATED: List of Nursing Certifications

No matter which certification exam the NP chooses, spending adequate quality time studying and preparing for the exam will reduce test anxiety, create an overall positive testing experience and significantly increase the chance of passing the exam on the first attempt.

Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN
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