Pass Your FNP Exam the First Time

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner


We could not begin this guide without first acknowledging the dedication and fortitude required of nurse practitioner students and graduates who are preparing to earn their family nurse practitioner certification.

Your determination throughout family nurse practitioner school years, your persistence in fulfilling experience requirements, and your desire to devote your livelihood to improving the well-being of your patients are admirable and remarkable qualities.

Passing your Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam is just one last step, although challenging, toward realizing your ambitions.

For making it this far, we congratulate you. This guide is intended to make the road ahead as smooth as possible after all of your hard work. Take a deep breath—soon you’ll be adding “FNP-C or FNP-BC” to your list of credentials.

The Family Nurse Practitioner Career: An Overview

There’s no one-size-fits-all FNP job description. Perhaps that’s why you selected this path, for the versatility and flexibility.

A practicing family nurse practitioner will see multiple patients per hour (usually children, adolescents, and adults) for routine examinations or urgent/emergent situations. FNPs build relationships with their patients and often provide multi-generational care.

Family Nurse Practitioner Career Options

FNP employment options cover a broad spectrum. Along with acting as primary care providers, family nurse practitioners are highly valued in administrative, education, and policy-setting roles.

Where can you work as a family nurse practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners are unique in that they can work independently or as part of an organization. As you search for your first FNP job, you have plenty of options:

  • Private practice
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Urgent Care
  • Community centers
  • Schools
  • Home health care

FNPs have found consistent demand in rural areas and other underserved communities, where their power to provide care independently makes them especially useful.

How much do family nurse practitioners earn? What are the costs?

As you’re most likely aware, becoming a family nurse practitioner is a lucrative career move. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nurse practitioners earn a median income of $115,800 annually, or $55.67 per hour.

However, most new FNPs also carry student loan debt from both their BSN and MSN degrees. Additionally, there may be expenses due to relocating for a job opportunity, and there are costs relating to entering practice.

To keep things in perspective, consider that in the U.S., the median income for a full-time worker with a Master’s degree is $68,000. With your FNP certification, you’ll start your new career well ahead of national averages.

What’s Next?

This comprehensive guide will focus on studying strategies, exam preparation tips, question formats, topics to focus on from your FNP program curriculum, and Fitzgerald Health Education Associates’ proven formula for first-time test success.

Throughout the guide, we’ll discuss differences between ANCC and AANPCB exams and how they affect your test preparation efforts, so you can make informed and confident decisions about your future.

Passionate, brilliant, motivated nurse practitioners are integral to our nation’s healthcare. The intention of our guide is to enable you to earn your family nurse practitioner certification as efficiently as possible, so you can begin caring for patients and growing your career.

Let’s get started.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 1: AANPCB vs ANCC Family Certification Exams: What’s the Difference?

Many nurse practitioner students know exactly which board exam they’ll be taking because there is only one NP board certification that corresponds to their specialty.

For family nurse practitioners, it’s not quite so simple.

FNPs have two choices for nurse practitioner board certification:

  • The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Ask around, and you’ll find that every FNP seems to have their own opinion as to which family nurse practitioner certification exam is best. However, as with anything in health care, it’s best to look at the facts.

We’ll compare AANPCB vs ANCC exams in several key areas. This is not to indicate that one exam is “better” than the other.

Instead, we aim to clearly present the differences between the two nurse practitioner board exam options so that you can choose the one that best suits you.

Background: AANPCB vs ANCC

AANPCB FNP Certification Exams

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) is an independent, non-profit certifying body. FNPs who pass the AANPCB exam receive the FNP-C credential, which stands for Family Nurse Practitioner-Certified. This FNP-C credential is valid for 5 years, at which point it will need to be renewed.

Along with FNP certification, the AANPCB also offers certifications for the following specialties:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)

ANCC FNP Certification Exam

The American Nurses Credentialing Center is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association Enterprise.

FNPs who pass the ANCC exam are awarded the credential Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC). This credential will need to be renewed after 5 years.

The ANCC certifies the following specialties, along with FNP-BC:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC)
  • Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP-BC)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)

Content: AANPCB vs ANCC

This section is intended to help you understand the differences between your FNP exam options. Please see Chapter 2 of the guide for a more detailed look at the makeup of each test.

AANP Exam Content

The FNP AANP exam blueprint covers clinical knowledge in family/individuals across the lifespan, including prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, older adult, and elderly primary care.* (Please note: AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB, which stands for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board.)

There are four domains included in the FNP AANP certification exam:*

  1. Assessment: 36% of content
  2. Diagnosis: 24% of content
  3. Plan: 23% of content
  4. Evaluation: 17% of content

ANCC FNP Exam Content

In 2019, the ANCC FNP exam content was revamped to focus on clinical test items as opposed to nursing theory and professional roles and responsibilities for board certified nurse practitioners. (see ANCC Family NP Test Content Outline)

While the pre-2019 version of the ANCC exam focused on three content areas, the current exam covers four. These four content domains encompass 10 areas of knowledge and 13 skill sets.

ANCC certification exam content domains:

  1. Clinical Management: 43% of content
  2. Diagnosis: 26% of content
  3. Assessment: 21% of content
  4. Professional role (research, ethics, scope of practice, regulatory guidelines, insurance, etc.): 10% of content

Questions and time: AANPCB vs ANCC

How many questions are on the AANP FNP exam?*

The AANP FNP exam consists of 150 questions, with 135 being scored. The limit for this test is 3 hours.*

Questions for the AANP exam are all multiple choice with one answer being correct.*

The ANCC exam consists of 175 questions, 150 of which are scored, with a time limit of 3.5 hours.

There are four different types of questions in the ANCC exam:

  • Multiple choice questions: Select one option from many
  • Multiple answer questions: Select all the options that apply
  • Hot-spot questions: Mark a certain area of an image
  • Drag-and-drop

Question formatting is one of the key differences between the AANP and ANCC exams, as AANPCB exams utilize multiple choice questions exclusively..*

AANPCB vs: ANCC: What do the FNP exams have in common?

Both FNP certification examinations assess the broad base of knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level NP practice. The largest proportion of exam items focuses on assessment and treatment of the health problems common to Family practice. Each exam also contains items that require the examinee to select the appropriate diagnostic studies and screening tests for given clinical scenarios, as well as interpret subsequent findings and evaluate response to care.

Questions related to intervention cover both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies, as well as principles of therapeutic communication.

Other areas of practice assessed on the certification exams include professional issues, health promotion, and disease prevention.


The testing fee for the AANPCB FNP exam is $315, or $240 for AANP members.*

The testing fee for an ANCC FNP exam is $395, $295 for ANA members or $290 for ANCC student members.

Retesting: AANPCB vs ANCC

Retesting for AANP FNP certification

If you do not pass your AANPCB exam, you will need to complete 15 contact hours of advanced practice CE in a subject that relates to the area of weakness indicated in your score report.

If you have not yet completed your degree program, you will need to graduate and provide proof that your degree has been awarded before you may retake the AANPCB exam.

You may attempt the AANPCB FNP exam TWO times within a calendar year (January to December).

Retesting for ANCC FNP certification

If you do not pass your ANCC exam, you can retest again after 60 days, a maximum of three times within any 12 months.

You’ll need to retain eligibility at the time of your retest and pay a retesting fee.

If you fail the AANP exam, can you take the ANCC exam (and vice versa)?*

The AANP and the ANCC are completely separate organizations and they do not communicate about an individual’s exam status.* You may take and retake either exam as long as you meet the board’s eligibility requirements for testing and retesting.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 2: What’s the Best Way to Study for Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exams?

Once you’ve decided which FNP certification exam you’ll take, it’s time to come up with a game plan.

To become a board certified FNP on the first try, preparation is everything. You’ll need a solid understanding of all the exam preparation tools available, so that you can determine which resources and preparation techniques will be most useful.

Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Requirements

Candidates for FNP certification are already very familiar with the rigors of completing nursing coursework, studying for exams, fulfilling clinical requirements, and jumping through any hoops required to graduate and prepare for the family nurse practitioner boards.

Specific eligibility requirements to take the ANCC or AANPCB family nurse practitioner test including program nurse practitioner accreditation, degree NP accreditation, faculty supervised clinical hours (such as ANCC’s minimum of 500), and education verification document requirements can be found at:
AANPCB FNP & AGNP Certification Candidate Handbook, ANCC Certification General Testing and Renewal Handbook & ANCC Apply for Certification

Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam Content

Both the ANCCBC exam and the AANPCB exam are accredited by two major accreditation bodies:

  • The Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC)
  • The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

These groups use peer review to ensure that the topics and skills covered in each exam are an accurate assessment of entry-level professional competence at a level that will protect public health and safety.

Although both exams have received accreditation and cover FNP certification requirements, they differ in structure and content. Here’s a detailed look at each exam:

AANP Exam Blueprint

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) FNP certification exam contains 150 questions.* 15 of the questions are pretest questions which are not scored. 135 of the questions are scored questions.

You will not be able to discern which questions are pretest questions. Pretest questions are included so that the AANP can gather statistical information before they decide whether or not to include them as scored questions on future exams.*

Questions are in multiple choice format with only one answer being correct. Content is based solely on requirements for safe clinical practice and limited to knowledge that can be tested objectively.

Distribution of questions by age

As an FNP, you will encounter patients across the span of life stages. However, there are some ages that you’re likely to treat more frequently than others. The content in the test is intended to match the projected distribution of age ranges that you’ll care for as a practicing FNP.

Distribution of questions by age

  • Prenatal: 4 questions
  • Pediatric: 19 questions
  • Adolescent: 24 questions
  • Adult: 50 questions
  • Geriatric: 29 questions
  • Elderly: 9 questions

Topics and Skills Covered

The AANP test is divided into four “domains” each assessing competency of specific abilities or objectives, called “tasks.”*

AANP Content Ditribution

Domain 1: Assess

Domain 1, accounting for 36% of the test content, includes two tasks and related skill subsets. The following information is from the AANPCB’s FNP examination blueprint:

Task 0101: Obtain subjective patient information including but not limited to relevant medical history (including biopsychosocial, economic, environmental, family, military, travel, occupational, preventive components), chief complaint, history of present illness, and review of systems to determine health needs and problems by:

  • Interviewing patient/family/appropriate others.
  • Reviewing records.
  • Obtaining information regarding additional healthcare providers involved in patient care.
  • Identifying both patient-specific and population-specific health, medical, and psychosocial risk factors.

Task 0102: Obtain objective information based on patient age/developmental level, health history, and comorbidities to further define and evaluate health needs and problems by:

  • Performing physical examinations
  • Ordering/performing/supervising diagnostic tests and procedures
  • Ordering/performing/supervising screening tests
Domain 2: Diagnose

Domain 2 accounts for 24% of the AANP family nurse practitioner board exam.* Your competency in the area of diagnostics will be assessed by questions covering two tasks and related skill sets:

Task 0201: Formulate differential diagnoses by:

  • Synthesizing and analyzing subjective/objective information
  • Prioritizing potential diagnoses

Task 0202: Establish definitive diagnoses by:

  • Ordering, performing, supervising, and interpreting additional diagnostic tests
  • Performing and interpreting additional physical examinations
  • Synthesizing and analyzing additional information
Domain 3: Plan

The “Plan” domain will be covered by 23% of the AANP exam questions, and includes one task associated with 10 skill sets:*

Task 0301: Establish a safe plan of patient-centered treatment and care that is individualized, cost effective, consistent with best evidence, age appropriate, and culturally-sensitive in order to address the diagnoses by:

  • Considering co-morbidities
  • Ordering, performing, supervising, and interpreting results of further tests
  • Prescribing, ordering, and administering pharmacological therapies
  • Prescribing, ordering, and administering non-pharmacologic therapies and/or procedures
  • Providing relevant education and/or counseling
  • Providing anticipatory guidance, health promotion, and injury prevention
  • Making referrals to and engaging in consultation with other health professionals and community resources
  • Including patient/family/appropriate others as active participants
  • Providing for appropriate follow-up
  • Responding to patients in urgent and emergent situations
Domain 4: Evaluate

17% of AANP questions will measure your competency in the area of evaluation:*

Task 0401: Determine the effectiveness of the plan of treatment and care based on outcomes by:

  • Assessing patient response(s)
  • Collecting additional subjective and/or objective information as needed

Task 0402: Modify the plan of treatment and care as appropriate based on outcomes by:

  • Ordering, conducting, supervising and interpreting further tests
  • Adjusting therapies
  • Providing additional education
  • Initiating referrals and consultations
  • Coordinating follow-ups and monitoring plans of care
  • Including patient, family, and/or appropriate others as active participants
Knowledge Areas

The questions in the AANP FNP board exam will test your knowledge of the following topics:*

  • Health promotion, harm reduction, and disease prevention
  • Anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology
  • Therapeutic communication, change management, and crisis management
  • Health history
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Healthcare economics
  • Evidence-informed practice
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Cultural competence
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic tests and/or procedures
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Pharmacological therapies
  • Non-pharmacological/ complementary/ alternative therapies
  • Biopsychosocial principles/theories
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • Community resources
  • Principles of epidemiology, population health, and social determinants of health
  • Practice management

You may encounter questions regarding the following common family practice procedures in the AANP FNP certification examination:*

  • Minor lesion removal
  • Incision and drainage
  • Microscopy
  • Diagnostic interp. of ECG
  • Pap tests
  • Diagnostic interp. of X-ray
  • Joint aspirations and injections
  • Cerumen removal
  • Skin biopsy
  • Pulmonary function testing & office spirometry
  • Therapeutic injections
  • Fluorescein dye
  • Wound closure
  • Long-term contraceptive management
  • Splinting
  • Long-term hormonal implantation
  • Casting
  • Foreign body removal
  • Wound management
  • Nail removal

ANCC FNP Exam Outline

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) family nurse practitioner license exam contains a total of 175 questions. Of these, 150 questions count toward your score. The remaining 25 questions are not scored—they are “pretest questions,” which are being tested for possible inclusions in future exams. You will not be able to discern which questions are pretest questions and which are scored questions.

The exam includes four types of questions:

  • Multiple choice
  • Multiple response (more than one answer is correct)
  • Drag and drop
  • Hot spot (click a spot on an image to answer)

Note: The ANCC FNP exam was overhauled in 2019. As you research this test elsewhere, please be aware that much of the information you find online pertains to the former version of this exam. All of the information in this guide is up-to-date per 2021 exam content.

Topics and Skills Covered

Questions in the ANCC FNP test cover four categories, also referred to as content domains: Assessment, Diagnosis, Clinical Management, and Professional Role. The following information is from the ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner Board Certification Test Outline.

ANCC Content Ditribution

Domain 1: Assessment

31 questions (21% of the ANCC FNP certification exam) are related to assessment knowledge and skills. Please note that the examples in parentheses are not all-inclusive and do not indicate importance.


  • Evidence-based population health promotion and screening


  • Comprehensive history and physical assessment
  • Focused history and physical assessment
  • Risk assessment (e.g., genetic, behavioral, lifestyle)
  • Functional assessment (e.g., cognitive, developmental, physical capacity)
Domain 2: Diagnosis

39 questions (26% of the ANCC FNP exam) will test your knowledge and skills in the area of diagnosis.


  • Pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of disease states


  • Differentiating between normal and abnormal physiologic or psychiatric changes
  • Diagnostic test selection and evaluation
Domain 3: Clinical Management

65 questions (43% of the exam) assess your competency in clinical management. Please note that the examples in parentheses are not all-inclusive and do not indicate importance.


  • Pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenetics
  • Anticipatory guidance (e.g., developmental, behavioral, disease progression, crisis management, end-of-life care)
  • Age-appropriate primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention interventions


  • Pharmacotherapeutic intervention selection (e.g., interactions, contraindications)
  • Pharmacotherapeutic intervention evaluation (e.g., monitoring, side/adverse effects, patient outcomes)
  • Non-pharmacologic intervention selection and evaluation
  • Therapeutic communication (e.g., motivational interviewing, shared decision making)
  • Culturally congruent practice
  • Resource management (e.g., accessibility, coordination, cost effectiveness)
Domain 4: Professional Role

15 questions (10% of the ANCC certification exam) relate to knowledge and skills in your professional role as an FNP. Please note that the examples in parentheses are not all-inclusive and do not indicate importance.


  • Legal and ethical considerations for health care informatics and technology (e.g., confidentiality, accessibility)
  • Scope and standards for advanced practice registered nurses
  • Regulatory guidelines (e.g., reportable diseases, abuse reporting)
  • Evidence-based clinical guidelines and standards of care
  • Ethical and legal principles and issues for patients, populations, and systems (e.g., justice, consent, guardianship, bioethics)


  • Research appraisal (e.g., design, results, clinical applicability)
Secondary Classifications

Content of the ANCC FNP certification exam will relate to the following classifications of body systems, drug agents, and age groups.

Body Systems
  1. Cardiovascular
  2. Endocrine
  3. Gastrointestinal
  4. Genitourinary and Renal
  5. Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat
  6. Hematopoietic*
  7. Immune*
  8. Integumentary
  9. Musculoskeletal
  10. Neurological
  11. Psychiatric
  12. Reproductive
  13. Respiratory
Drug Agents
  1. Analgesic
  2. Anti-Infective
  3. Cardiovascular
  4. Endocrine
  5. Eye, Ear, Nose and Skin
  6. Gastrointestinal
  7. Genitourologic
  8. Musculoskeletal
  9. Neurological
  10. Psychiatric
  11. Reproductive
  12. Respiratory
Age Group
  1. Infant
  2. Preschool
  3. School-age
  4. Adolescent
  5. Young Adult**
  6. Adult
  7. Older Adult
  8. Frail Elderly

*Less emphasis to be placed on this body system relative to others.
**Including late adolescent and emancipated minors.

Preparing for the Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam: Study Tips, Resources, Tools, and More

Having reached this point in your nursing career, you’ve already developed effective study skills. However, you will benefit from using techniques and resources that are designed specifically for the family nurse practitioner certification exam.

Finalize Your Decision: AANPCB vs ANCC

Much of this guide has focused on the differences between the AANPBC FNP exam and the ANCC FNP exam. As a review, here are the differences that may affect the studying methods and tools you utilize:

  • Question format: The ANCC exam uses multiple choice, multiple response, drag and drop, and hot spot (image-based) questions. The AANP FN
  • Content: The primary difference in content is that the AANP exam focuses only on clinical knowledge, while the ANCC exam contains 15 questions (10% of total content) relating to the FNP’s professional role.* Review exam outlines for specifics.
  • Retesting: If you fail the ANCC exam, you may retest again in 60 days. If you fail the AANP exam, you’ll need to complete 15 hours of CE before you retest.*

Bottom Line: Exam study and materials will be nearly identical for either test. For ANCC, you’ll need to spend some time studying the FNP professional role and prepare for different question formats.

Review Official Test Prep Materials

Both the AANP and the ANCC provide resources to assist you in preparing for their respective exams.*

Free resources from the ANCC
Free resources from the AANPCB

Review Current Authoritative References

One common reason for incorrect FNP test responses is that the examinee is relying on clinical experience rather than current evidence-based, nationally-recognized standards of care.

Assessments, diagnoses, and treatments you’ve witnessed may not actually be in alignment with the current guidelines. Keep in mind that very recent guideline changes will not be reflected on the exam.

Research is the basis for practice. Use the most recent evidence-based guidelines as the context for your exam responses:

†Please keep in mind that these lists are not all-inclusive.

Use Exam Review Courses, Prep Books, and Workbooks

FNP certification study resources are plentiful, including review courses, textbooks, and workbooks. The tough part is knowing which ones are accurate and effective.

If you plan on purchasing supplemental FNP exam prep materials, here are a few tips to ensure a high-quality selection:

  • Research the source of the study aid (organization, author, etc.). Was it created by a reputable entity?
  • Check reviews from multiple platforms (not just the seller’s website). Is this a popular resource? Was it effective for NPs who took the FNP exam?
  • Verify that it is up-to-date. Does the test prep book have several versions or editions? Is there information about the latest updates?

How To Use Practice Exams and Questions

Sample questions and practice tests are helpful resources to demonstrate areas where you need to knowledge-build, show you what to expect on your FNP certification exam and gauge your level of preparedness.

Do not use practice questions to prepare for the exam. Attempting to build your knowledge base by taking practice tests does not work and is often cited as the main study method by NPs who fail boards.

Chapter 3 of this guide explores the structure, complexities, and context of the FNP exam questions in greater detail. In the meantime, here’s where to find practice tests and sample questions directly from the AANP and ANCC:*

You’ll also find sample questions and practice exams included with FNP certification review courses and certification prep packages often include additional resources. Again, use discretion when selecting these resources to ensure that you have up-to-date, accurate information.

Use a Review Program

High-quality review courses give you a current, comprehensive, evidence-based foundation that enables you to perform successfully on your exam.

A poor approach to preparing for the exam and practice is to memorize information, so you know what to do but not why you are doing it. For both the exam room and as part of the larger health care system, a better approach to knowledge building is to understand concepts and apply knowledge so you know what to do and why you are doing it. The most effective online programs will focus on strategies that help you apply the information you’ve learned to the context and intent of the exam questions. The certification exam will test your knowledge of the following:

  • Why a patient is at risk for a problem.
  • How a clinical problem has developed.
  • What is the most likely clinical presentation of the condition?
  • Why a given intervention is effective.
  • How that intervention works.
  • What is the most likely clinical outcome?
  • Why this clinical problem is of significance to the overall healthcare system.

Here are a few benefits to using an FNP certification exam review program:

  • Save time by learning where to focus your studies
  • Gain an understanding of the “why” behind test questions, so you t can answer correctly
  • Review up-to-date evidence-based guidelines
  • Review skills that are commonly included in FNP exam content
  • Feel prepared and qualified for your first FNP job after earning your certification
  • Reduce performance-hindering test anxiety

Select an FNP certification review course that is well-respected and, if possible, one that includes a Pass Guarantee.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 3: FNP Study Guide and Prep Tips

After you’ve met the conditions required to sit for your FNP exam, decided which test to take (AANPCB or ANCC), and familiarized yourself with exam content overviews, it’s time to start studying.

Due to the comprehensive nature of the FNP certification exam, you’ll utilize concepts, facts, and skills that you’ve gained through years of schooling and hundreds of clinical hours.

Additionally, there’s an element of strategy involved in selecting the best possible responses to deliberately complex questions.

It may feel overwhelming, but with the right tools and strategies, you’ll soon join the ranks of nearly 188,500 certified FNPs in the United States.

Your FNP Study Guide

Family nurse practitioners have lots of questions about how to prepare for the AANP FNP exam or the ANCC FNP exam.* This guide is intended to give you the background, strategies, and techniques which, in combination with building your knowledge base, will give you the best possible chance at earning your FNP certification.

Please note that you will need to supplement what you read in this guide with a thorough review of clinical content across the lifespan, using your academic resources, family nurse practitioner certification exam review courses, and books.

FNP Exam Study Tips

  1. Review your chosen exam’s content:
  2. Learn what concepts and skills are covered, and the distribution of topics and look for areas that you need to strengthen. A review course will help you refine areas where you don’t feel confident and need further study.Take a close look at the content domains and associated tasks/skills, references, and procedures that are listed in the FNP exam outline.If you completed a review course, you’ll be aware that the content of certain parts of the program is truly review, whereas other sections reveal areas where you need to expand your knowledge base. Knowing what areas you need to focus on helps you decide how to allocate your study time.Divide these topics, tasks, and skills into two lists:
    • List 1: Areas in which your knowledge base is secure, and a basic “refresh” will be sufficient preparation.
    • List 2: Weaker areas where you’ll need to concentrate your review efforts.

    This method helps you prioritize your study efforts, so that the bulk of your time is spent turning weak areas into strengths. The best study guide for the ANCC FNP exam or the AANP FNP exam is one that is created and personalized for you, by you.*

    Takeaway: Don’t save the tough stuff for last, and don’t spend too much time reviewing subjects where you already feel confident.

  3. Create a study scheduleMap out your schedule and obligations by day, week, and month including work, family, personal and professional commitments. Look for a consistent chunk of time that you can designate as FNP study time, ideally:
    • 2-3 hours at a time
    • 5-6 days a week
    • For a duration of 4-6 weeks after you complete your review course, if you’ve chosen to take one

    Referring to your lists of strong subjects and weak areas, assign your study sessions to various topics. It’s best to dedicate more hours to your weak areas, and cover them early on.

    Pick your exam date after you’ve gotten into a systematic, certification-focused study routine. A fuller schedule means you may need more time to study before you take the exam, and that’s ok.

    Takeaway: This is not a “crammable” exam. Start early, study regularly, and give yourself ample time.

  4. Check your progressOnce each week, analyze what you’ve reviewed in the past 7 days. Are your weak points getting stronger? Are you finding new areas that need work?It’s important to be honest with yourself. For example, was that thyroid review REALLY a review of content you already understand well, or are you still struggling with some issues?Although it seems obvious that you’d focus on areas that need improvement, it doesn’t always happen that way.In a high-stakes situation like ANCC or AANP exam prep, it’s not uncommon for examinees to gravitate towards familiar subjects that make them feel confident and less apprehensive about the upcoming certification exam.*Adjust your study schedule and outline as needed to make room for topics where you need further study.Takeaway: False confidence and apprehension can both hinder your studying. Be honest with yourself and keep planning ahead.
  5. Form a study groupStudy groups, whether in-person or virtual, can be a great way to pick up new study skills, get help with tough concepts, and strengthen your own knowledge and skills by helping others.Clear expectations can help keep a study group from turning into a social hour, or from members consistently missing study times. Try establishing some guidelines up front:
    • Session dates and times
    • Session goals/objectives
    • Assign a “leader” each session to keep everyone on task
    • Schedule social/leisure time after the meeting to make it fun and give everyone a chance to catch up after objectives have been met

    Takeaway: Study groups are very helpful, but do your best to choose responsible members and stick to the group’s goals.

FNP Practice Exams

Practice ANCC and AANP board questions and additional review course practice exams are a useful tool to wrap up your studies and confirm your knowledge.*

It’s tempting to use FNP sample questions before you begin your FNP certification review, to help you decide what to study. However, this is not advised. Your studies should follow recommendations and materials from your FNP review course and from the study schedule you designed.

Sample FNP certification exam questions should be used to test how well you apply the concepts you’ve reviewed. Post-study, you should be scoring 85%+-on ANCC, AANP certification exam practice questions or review practice exams.*

If you are not scoring well on sample family nurse practitioner board review questions, revisit your study schedule to make room for additional review of the associated content area(s).

Practice Exam Tips

As you study and complete FNP practice tests, you can increase your chance of success by preparing for the exam and practice with these hints from Fitzgerald FNP certification experts. If you master these skills during your study and practice sessions, you’re less likely to have difficulty answering AANPCB and ANCC FNP review questions.

  1. Health history forms the primary database necessary to arrive at a diagnosis. Patient assessment starts with the health history, and there should be few surprises when you get to the physical exam.Increasing your skill in obtaining an accurate health history in a timely manner will help you in your FNP practice and enhance your certification exam performance.
  2. Know which pathogens cause which diseases. The newly graduated FNP often comes to outpatient practice with experience providing inpatient care as an RN in hospitals. Often, they’ve only cared for extremely ill patients who have not improved with outpatient care or have multiple health problems that complicate every illness.In contrast, the majority of FNP practice is delivered in the ambulatory care setting. The organisms that cause community-acquired pneumonia differ significantly from those that cause nosocomial or healthcare-acquired pneumonia.If the NP sitting for certification knows only the pneumonia pathogens that commonly cause inpatient cases of pneumonia, they are likely to give an incorrect exam response.
  3. Know why and when to use different types of history-taking questions. Open-ended questions like “tell me what you mean by having less energy lately?” are best for clarifying the patient’s perception of a problem.
  4. Know the difference between a symptom and a sign. A symptom is the patient’s description of a problem, while a sign is an objective finding. Watch for these subtle but important words in ANCC and AANP certification questions and answers.*Want more tips like these? Our practicing FNP certification experts have plenty to share in our Fitzgerald FNP Certification Review Courses.

Where to Find Practice Questions

High-quality family nurse practitioner board exam review courses include practice exams with FNP sample questions as part of a package, or separately for those not taking the review course. Remember to use practice questions to wrap up, not start your study.

Looking for purported ANCC and AANP practice questions online can be risky, since many are from unreliable sources and are not likely to include up-to-date exam content and authoritative references.* As a result, relying on free FNP practice questions or free FNP predictor exams might be surprisingly costly, after you factor in test retake fees and delayed entry into FNP practice.

There are a few reliable options online to help you get started. Here’s where to look for quality samples of family nurse practitioner board review questions:

  • The ANCC has a sample of practice questions available on their website.
  • Official AANP practice exams are available for purchase in three different versions through this testing provider.*
  • Fitzgerald offers a set of five tests (350 questions total) including comprehensive rationales and knowledge gap analysis to help you study. These questions are included in all packages. All Fitzgerald review courses include a practice exam and hundreds of practice questions. This exam is also included in review packages.

FNP Testing Tips

While there’s no replacement for a comprehensive knowledge base and solid application skills, try these tips from the experts at Fitzgerald to help you navigate FNP certification exam questions and avoid choosing incorrect answers:

  • If the multiple-choice answers cover a wide range of numerical values, a value at or near the middle is often correct.
  • Make sure that the extra information usually found in a particularly long answer is pertinent to the question and not simply there to distract you.
  • Pay close attention if two answer choices look similar. In most cases, one of these items is the correct answer.
  • When two answers convey the same information or have the same meaning, usually both are wrong.
  • Allow evidence-based practice to guide your choice of an answer. Expect that advice on health screenings and interventions is based on nationally recognized standards of care from authorities such as the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and the US Preventive Services Task Force, not simply what you have observed being done in clinical practice.
  • Don’t dismiss an option because it seems too obvious and simple to be correct. If you are well-prepared for the exam, some of the answers will appear straightforward.
  • Don’t select an option just because it contains factually correct information about the clinical situation. With multiple-choice questions, often more than one answer is technically correct, but one is the best answer.

Pass the Exam with Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald has helped over 140,000 NPs achieve certification through in-depth review courses and resources.

The Fitzgerald method delivers the most up-to-date, evidence-based NP certification review, with a 99%+ pass rate plus our Pass Guarantee.

Review Courses

We offer review packages for every need, all crafted to help you pass your family nurse practitioner certification exam on the first try and move on to the next exciting chapter of your career.


We’re proud to offer the best review book for the family nurse practitioner exam, plus expert-developed supplemental resources to aid you in your studies.

Dr. Margaret Fitzgerald’s recently expanded, revised, and updated FNP exam review book is required in over 191 NP programs and includes access to online practice exams

Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam Prep, Sixth Edition

If you have questions, please visit our website or reach out to our highly-rated customer service team.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 4: Family Nurse Practitioner Salary, Career Paths, and More

As if you didn’t have enough on your plate right now, you’ll also be starting the search for your first FNP position (if you haven’t already begun).

Your FNP certification will open the door to an array of options and opportunities. This chapter will explore what might lie ahead for you, and answer some of the most common questions about the FNP career:

  • How much does a family nurse practitioner make?
  • What kinds of careers can I have with an FNP certification? And how much is a nurse practitioner’s salary in these different careers?
  • How can I find my first FNP job?

As you study for your FNP boards, it helps to keep your focus on the future and remind yourself why you’re working so hard. Let’s dig in.

How Much Do Family Nurse Practitioners Get Paid?

The average family nurse practitioner salary varies slightly depending on the source, but it’s unanimously reported as being over $100,000.

  • AANP’s NP Fact Sheet reports that the median base salary for NPs was $110,000 in 2019.*
  • NurseJournal lists the average nurse practitioner salary in the U.S. at $111,840, with possible variants based on clinical focus and practice setting.
  • notes that the lowest level of wages for a nurse practitioner is an impressive $81,410, about $40,000 more than the average national income. The highest level of average annual income for a nurse practitioner is reported at $152,160, about $80,000 over the average national income.

If you do a quick search for “how much money does a nurse practitioner make per year” you’ll find even more information.

Family Nurse Practitioner Career Options

The FNP certification allows you to choose your own path for the future. There’s truly something for everyone, whether you dream of being your own boss or prefer the stability of joining an established team.

Here are the top three career options and the average family nurse practitioner salary for each path:

  1. Working in a Physician or NP Practice

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of nurse practitioners work in an office setting.

    What are the benefits of working in an office setting?

    With regular hours, a relatively calm setting, and colleagues to work with, working as an FNP in an office setting is an attractive option. This is a great option for FNPs who want a predictable schedule and reliable income.

    What are the drawbacks of working in an office setting?

    If your dream is to be your own boss, working for someone else may not be right for you.

    How much does a nurse practitioner make in an office setting?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual mean wage of $108,930 for NPs working in an office setting.

  2. Opening Your Own Practice

    The power to open a practice on your own is one of the main perks that draws nurses to the FNP specialty.

    What are the benefits of opening your own practice?

    Autonomy is the main benefit. If you prefer to take charge and have the fortitude to handle the demands of the FNP role as well as the business owner role, a private practice is the perfect opportunity. Plus, once business is booming, this is a lucrative career path.

    What are the drawbacks of opening your own practice?

    As you can probably guess, running a business AND serving patients requires long days and a lot of dedication. Along with diagnosing and treating patients, you’ll need to handle bookkeeping, hiring, marketing, taxes, and insurance, etc.

    Seasoned FNP practice owners suggest getting experience elsewhere before opening a practice, so you aren’t adjusting to both the FNP role and business owner role at the same time.

    How much does a nurse practitioner make with their own practice?

    This number depends on the size and success of your practice. With a robust clientele, a family nurse practitioner’s annual salary could be around $177,000 per year (the owner’s share of business revenue after accounting for overhead costs).

  3. Traveling Nurse Practitioners

    After so much spent studying and fulfilling clinical hours, you might have the urge to roam. For the more adventurous family nurse practitioner, traveling from city to city filling temporary FNP openings can be a perfect fit.

    What are the benefits of being a traveling nurse practitioner?

    In addition to your salary, most traveling FNP employers will also cover your housing, travel, and insurance expenses. This is also a great way to sample different kinds of roles, organizations, and areas before you settle down long-term.

    What are the drawbacks of being a traveling nurse practitioner?

    If you dislike change and don’t make new friends easily, this could be a lonely option. You’ll also need to plan ahead to ensure steady income.

    What does a family nurse practitioner make while traveling?

    The average hourly rate of a nurse practitioner filling a travelling role is equivalent to $105,347 per year. You may even be given an extra daily per diem for driving your own vehicle. Housing is also paid, typically directly to the landlord/hotel. Most traveling NPs are not reimbursed for meals, but you can deduct meal costs at tax time. All of this adds up to a very attractive family nurse practitioner salary.

  4. Urgent Care Nurse Practitioners

    Urgent care clinics are a perfect environment for new NPs. As an urgent care NP, you’ll have a chance to hone your routine skills while also treating a variety of injuries and ailments across the lifespan.

    What are the benefits of working as an urgent care NP?

    Urgent care NPs typically work with a rotating group of physicians, medical assistants, and other NPs, exposing you to a variety of methods of practice. Many urgent care NPs also report that this job is often exciting and fast-paced.

    How much do urgent care NPs make?

    Depending on the demand for urgent care NPs in the area and on the amount of experience, the average urgent care NP makes $111,740 per year, or $54 per hour.

  5. Nurse Practitioners in Clinics

    NPs have the flexibility to work in a variety of clinical settings, from specialty clinics such as ENT or physical therapy centers to community health centers that meet the needs of underserved areas.

    How much do NPs make in clinics?

    The salary for an NP working in a clinic varies based on factors like the type of clinic and the competitiveness of the local job market. However, an NP can expect to make around $110,000 in most medical clinic positions.

Finding Employment as a Family Nurse Practitioner

The primary principle of hunting for your first FNP position is this: the more competitive the employment market, the more you need to prepare for the job search.

FNPs are in high demand, and the responsibilities of the profession are increasing. For these reasons, you’ll need to be prepared to locate or create the right position for your strengths and preferences.

Here are some recommendations from our FNP-certified educators:

  • Consider New Locations

    The demand for FNPs is increasing. However, despite the growing job market, some areas are still saturated and highly competitive, while others are vigorously recruiting to fill open positions.

    Being flexible regarding the location in which you’d like to live and work, can open up some excellent opportunities. Look for areas with high demand for NPs that offer valuable benefits such as loan repayment options.

    Working in a high-need area will give you excellent experience as an entry-level FNP, and you’ll be caring for patients who benefit greatly from increased access to quality healthcare.

  • Let Your Expertise Guide You

    The job openings you find while searching through employment websites and job postings are not necessarily the only jobs available.

    Look for areas within healthcare organizations that could benefit from your unique skills. Approach the owner of the practice or the medical director with your observations and solutions, and you may have just created your dream job.

    For example, one NP who worked in pediatric asthma came up with a business plan, pitched her concept to the hospital administration, and an NP-run pediatric asthma clinic was born.

    Another FNP identified a gap in home care for urology patients and started his own practice specializing in that area, with the support of the urologists, who were happy to have someone provide care in areas they could not serve. The possibilities are endless!

  • Connect and Network

    Membership in state and national NP associations, such as AANP or ANCC, is vital for FNPs.* Aside from high-quality career development and resources, these memberships are also a networking opportunity.

    Getting involved with an NP organization as a board or committee member is a great way to meet other NPs and find opportunities.

    In addition, reach out to NPs, PAs, and MDs you worked with in the past to update them on your new credentials, and let them know that you’re looking for FNP employment. Staying connected helps you find new opportunities and helps your colleagues fill roles with qualified staff.

    Another area to network is online. Professional networks like LinkedIn are an excellent tool to connect with others and demonstrate your expertise. Keep your profile updated, post new research that interests you, and share your insights. You may be surprised at who finds your profile and reaches out with a job opportunity!

Finding the perfect first FNP role for you is both challenging and exciting. Stay positive and keep your eyes on your bright future.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 5: How to Interpret FNP Practice Questions

You’ve gained an incredible wealth of knowledge over years of education and experience. Learning how to interpret ANCC and AANP certification exam practice questions will help you understand how to apply that knowledge successfully on test day.*

In this chapter of the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, we’ll show you:

  • How to increase your test score by analyzing FNP exam questions
  • Sample FNP certification exam questions, answers, and rationale
  • Where to find quality AANPCB and ANCC practice exams

What to Expect on the FNP Certification Exams

Both the ANCC FNP exam and the AANPCB FNP exam will effectively measure whether your breadth of knowledge and skills is sufficient to prepare you to safely begin an entry-level role as a family nurse practitioner.

However, there are some differences in length and question format between the two tests.

  • AANP Exam Questions

    The AANP FNP exam consists of 150 questions, with 135 being scored. The limit for this test is 3 hours.*

    Questions for the AANP exam are all multiple choice with one answer being correct.*

  • ANCC Exam Questions

    The ANCC exam consists of 175 questions, 150 of which are scored, with a time limit of 3.5 hours.

    There are four different types of questions in the ANCC exam:

    • Multiple choice questions: Select one option from many
    • Multiple answer questions: Select all the options that apply
    • Hot-spot questions: Mark a certain area of an image
    • Drag-and-drop

Analyzing FNP Exam Questions

The importance of learning how to dissect and analyze FNP test questions cannot be overstated. This level of critical thinking will enable you to pare down answers and find accurate responses.

  • Basic Questions

    Exam questions are written on a variety of levels. The simplest of these levels involves questions that are fact-based and require the test taker to simply recall a piece of information that they’ve memorized.

    Here’s an example of a basic comprehension question that you might find in an FNP certification exam:

    A person with Bell palsy has paralysis
    of cranial nerve:
    A. V C. VII
    B. VI D. VIII

    To answer this question correctly, you will need to recall that Bell palsy is a condition in which cranial nerve VII is affected. No dissection or analysis is required.

  • Application Questions

    You’ll see a few comprehension questions while taking your FNP certification boards. The rest will be more complex, with good reason.

    The NP certification examinations assess the broad base of knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level NP practice. The largest proportion family nurse practitioner certification exam questions focus on assessment and treatment of the health problems common to family practice.

Each exam also contains items that require the examinee to select the appropriate diagnostic studies and screening tests for given clinical scenarios, as well as interpret subsequent findings and evaluate response to care.

  • Key Strategy: Analyze the information

    The most common type of ANCC and AANP practice questions, are application questions.*

    In this kind of question, you must analyze information in order to decide what is pertinent to the given situation. Look for key words in the stem (the question itself) that help set a priority. These include words such as first, initially, or most important action.

    With questions at this level, often more than one answer is correct, but only one answer is the best response given the clinical information presented.

    If you are having difficulty ascertaining which action should be done first, particularly when the question poses many plausible actions, you should ask yourself, “What is the greatest risk in this situation?” This will enable you to choose the best possible answer for both ANCC and AANP certification questions.*

  • Example 1:

    Here’s an example using an FNP sample question:

    • You are seeing Ms. Thomas, a 53-year-old woman who presents for a health exam. She smokes cigarettes, with a 35 pack-year history, and has a strong family history of premature heart disease. The most important part of her assessment is:
    • A. Chest x-ray
      B. Auscultation for extra heart sounds
      C. Blood pressure measurement
      D. Cervical examination with Pap testing

    Like the majority of ANCC and AANP board questions you’ll encounter, this one has more than one answer that could be objectively correct.*

    When looking at this question, you might be struck by the fact that you would certainly perform a cardiac exam and Pap test, and perhaps a chest x-ray if clinically indicated, as part of Ms. Thomas’ assessment.

    So, how do you determine what is the most important part of the assessment? Start by teasing out the facts and assumptions.

    Facts include two risk factors for cardiovascular disease: cigarette smoking and family history of premature heart disease. In addition, heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women.

    Assume she is postmenopausal, since the average woman reaches this by age 50. This gives her an additional cardiovascular risk factor. Thus, the stage is set for her to be at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Another assumption is that the best evaluation is one that picks up early disease. Now, look at the answers offered and think what you can expect for results.

    In assessing Ms. Thomas, a chest x-ray could reveal lung cancer or smoking- related lung disease. However, such changes will not be evident on chest x-ray until these diseases are rather advanced.

    As a result, while periodic low-dose thoracic computed tomography is recommended for select patients with considerable lung cancer risk, chest x-ray is not recommended for this purpose.

    The presence of extra heart sounds would likely indicate systolic and/or diastolic cardiac dysfunction, again a marker of significant, usually advanced cardiac problems.

    However, blood pressure measurement is critical, as it can detect hypertension in its asymptomatic, earliest state, and early hypertension would increase Ms. Thomas’ risk of heart disease.

    While screening for cervical neoplasia is important, intervening in hypertension would be more likely to improve this woman’s shorter-term health.

    The answer is C.

    In this scenario, because there are multiple “correct” answers and the question uses the phrase “most important”. You should expect that both the ANCC or AANP test questions will assess clinical assessment and intervention skills critical to NP practice.*

  • Example 2:

    In this question, you’ll need to choose from several responses that all seem acceptable.

    • A 65-year-old man presents with a chief complaint of “having no pep for the past few months.” You start the interview by asking:
    • A. Exactly when did this start?
      B. Tell me what you mean by having “no pep.”
      C. Are you taking any medications?
      D. Have you had this problem in the past?

    In this case, the question is determining your knowledge of when and why to use different types of history-taking questions, an area of the AANPCB or ANCC FNP exam outline.

    The answer is B.

    Choice B is an example of an open-ended question. This question usually starts with a statement such as “Tell me…”. The benefit of asking a question this way is that you hear the patient’s perception of the problem.

    Responses A, C, and D are closed-ended questions that ask the patient to provide a specific response, providing you with focused information. Patient responses to such questions are usually short and precise.

    If the examiner only asks closed-ended questions in a clinical scenario, the patient information will be limited to quantifiable measures, such as location, severity, and duration of a problem. What will be missed is the impact of the problem on the person’s life as well as the patient’s hunch about what has contributed to or caused the problem.

Finding Quality FNP Practice Questions

Once you have completed your review, simulated AANPCB and ANCC certification practice questions are tools to help you gauge any areas that may need more study and especially to help you learn the nuances and context of family nurse practitioner board exam questions.

Because they’re helpful, prospective test-takers are often searching for free FNP predictor exams, free ANCC and AANP practice questions, and free family nurse practitioner test banks.*

When searching for ANCC and AANP sample exams and FNP review questions online, do your best to determine whether or not it’s high-quality certification prep material.* Some signs of quality are:

  • A reputable source, such as well-known ANCC or AANPCB exam prep review providers
  • Text indicating that the questions have been recently updated to align with current test content outlines and authoritative references

The Fitzgerald Pass Guarantee

Students who use Fitzgerald FNP Certification Courses and Prep Packages have a 99%+ pass rate, plus the course is backed by our Pass Guarantee.

The Fitzgerald Pass Guarantee ensures free online course access if a student needs to retake the exam, plus free remediation guided by NP Certification Experts.

Our ample, cutting-edge FNP practice tests and FNP sample questions are a huge part of the success our students achieve on test day. Plus, they’re included in our family nurse practitioner certification exam review courses.

We offer flexible certification prep packages as well as standalone supplemental resources that help the next generation of FNPs pass their exams quickly and feel prepared for the next phase of their careers.

If you have questions, please visit our website or reach out to our highly-rated customer service personnel.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).

Chapter 6: How Fitzgerald Helps FNPs Pass the Exam the First Time

Fitzgerald Health Education Associates was founded in 1988 by Margaret A. Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, FAANP, CSP, FAAN, DCC, FNAP, when she was a graduate nursing program professor.

She noticed that many of her students were overwhelmed trying to learn how to study for the nurse practitioner exam and lacked quality review resources. Her goal was to create a streamlined review method that would help prepare NP students for their nurse practitioner board exams.

Since then, Dr. Fitzgerald has contributed to the advancement of the nursing profession and practice through numerous publications and presentations. A sought-after national speaker, Dr. Fitzgerald is recognized for her pharmacology, clinical assessment, and infectious disease expertise.

Dr. Fitzgerald practices at a federally qualified health center in Lawrence, MA, where for more than 3 decades she has provided family, primary, and urgent care. She serves on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee at one of New England’s largest HMOs.

She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. A tenacious advocate, her achievements have earned her many honors.

Fitzgerald has become a household name within the nursing profession, with the Fitzgerald Review Method as the gold standard for NP certification exam preparation.

Fitzgerald by the numbers:

  • 30+ years serving certified nurse practitioners and NP students in exam reviews, test prep materials, and continuing education
  • Over 140,000 NPs have used Fitzgerald to pass their board exams
  • Graduates of Fitzgerald review courses have an unparalleled 99%+ pass rate on their nurse practitioner certification tests
  • Dr. Fitzgerald’s best-selling review book, Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam Prep, just published in 2021 is in its 6th edition.

Fitzgerald’s tradition of quality, under the guidance of one of the most well-respected figures in nursing education and leadership, is the reason nurse practitioner students choose us for certification and board-certified nurse practitioners use Fitzgerald for continuing education.

Why does Fitzgerald Have a 99%+ Pass Rate?

In 2020, the pass rate for all FNPs who took the AANP certification exam or the ANCC certification exam, ranged from 85%-89%.*

In contrast, Fitzgerald review course students have a 99%+ NP exam pass rate. How does the program generate a near-perfect pass rate?

Here’s what goes into the Fitzgerald Method:

Family Nurse Practitioner Exam Review Courses

The Fitzgerald Method delivers the most up-to-date, evidence-based family nurse practitioner certification review available.

The course is authored and updated by Dr. Fitzgerald to help students prepare for the ANCC FNP exam and the AANP FNP exam.* Additionally, it is taught by NP experts who actually practice as FNPs.

The FNP certification exam (ANCC or AANP) is notoriously challenging because it asks the examinee to apply the entire scope of their knowledge and skills, gained from both academic and clinical experience, to a series of questions.* This is why a review course is particularly beneficial: it reviews and helps tie together everything you’ve learned up to this point.

All Fitzgerald family nurse practitioner test prep courses review AANP and ANCC nurse practitioner test content and include:*

  • Free practice exam & hundreds of prep questions
  • Comprehensive printed workbook & access to online PDFs
  • Bonus tutorial with audio presentation of rationales

Fitzgerald FNP Certification Reviews are available in a variety of formats:

  • Family NP Review Packages and FNP Certification Prep Packages deliver more value from your investment. Each package is curated to suit a variety of study styles and learning formats, including livestream, online, and MP3 courses.
  • Packages include the most resources to prepare for certification, plus additional testing.
Livestream Learning

Classes take place remotely, from the comfort of your own learning space. Each course spans two days from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with breaks included.

This format is perfect for students who benefit from live instruction delivered by FNP certification experts. The webinar includes real-time Q&A sessions, so you can have questions answered just as you would in a classroom setting and get the benefit of learning from your peers’ questions. This format includes some online topics.

Learn more

Online Learning

For those who prefer to learn on their own schedule, Fitzgerald’s online FNP review course features 24/7 access for 180 days. Content is presented by FNP certification experts.

As questions arise, join four live online Q&A sessions with Fitzgerald faculty to ensure that you’re confident with your review comprehension and testing strategies.

Learn on the Go with MP3 Players. If you spend a lot of time in the car or want to learn while you walk or run, this is a great choice for you. This format includes some online topics.

Learn more

Family Nurse Practitioner Exam Prep Questions and Practice Tests (included with packages and livestream courses)

Fitzgerald’s comprehensive 350-Question Prep Test for Family NP Certification covers the content within the AANP and ANCC exam outlines over five separate tests.*

  • Formulated using the proven Fitzgerald method of certification test preparation
  • Each clinical topic includes assessment, diagnosis, intervention, evaluation, and pharmacology comprehension
  • Practice tests contain detailed rationales for every question and analysis of knowledge gaps—use this information to guide your studies and use your time efficiently
  • Comprehensive analysis is arranged by topic

Learn more

Family Nurse Practitioner Exam Prep Book

Dr. Fitzgerald’s award-winning text, Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam Prep, Sixth edition, is the only book that teaches the how, what, and why of the NP practice, critical to passing the NP boards.

You may have already seen this textbook in your studies, as it is currently required in more than 191 NP programs. This book will help you:

  • Gain critical knowledge essential for exam preparation & practice
  • Develop critical thinking and test-taking skills for the exam

The sixth edition was published in 2021, with several beneficial updates:

  • More than 2,500 prep questions with detailed rationales to reinforce learning & practice test taking skills
  • Complements Fitzgerald NP Certification Review Course

Learn more

Free Resources for FNP Students/New FNPs Preparing for Boards

Dr. Fitzgerald conducts a regularly scheduled free webinar to offer her insights and answer your questions about preparing for your FNP certification exam.

Topics covered include:

  • How the exams compare (ANCC vs AANP)*
  • Recent changes to the AANPCB and ANCC tests
  • Best study practices for preparing for certification
  • What to expect on the exams

Webinars start at 8 PM Eastern time on scheduled dates.

Reserve Your Seat

Free Fitzgerald Newsletter

This informative monthly newsletter features news you can use for the exam and once you are in practice. Every issue includes a Certification Q&A to help you prepare for the exam.

*AANP is often used as shorthand for AANPCB (the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board).


We hope you found this comprehensive guide to be helpful as you navigate your path to certification.

While it takes incredible initiative and personal determination to achieve FNP certification, you are not alone on this journey. Our mission is to provide the support and resources that NP students/new NPs need to follow their passion.

We’re always here to answer any questions that you have along the way.

Best wishes in your future FNP career, from your team at Fitzgerald.