Research Related to Preparing for my Certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner

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Updated: Aug 15, 2023
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The culmination of my journey as a family nurse practitioner is the successful passing of the certification exam. Preparing for the certification will also help me develop useful tools that I can utilize to practice safely in my future field of work as a nurse practitioner. Improving organizational skills, planning, identifying weaknesses, and increasing learning style awareness are essential in helping me prepare for this enormous task ahead.

Areas of Study

According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), there are four main categories included in the exam: assessment, diagnosis, clinical management, and professional role.

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The examination will be developed with attention to body systems such as cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, genitourinary/renal, head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat (HEENT), hematopoietic, immune, integumentary, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatric, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

The assessment category will include evidence-based population health promotion and screening, comprehensive and focused history, and physical assessment, as well as risk and functional assessment. The diagnosis category will cover normal and abnormal physiological or psychiatric changes, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestation of disease states, as well as diagnostic tests and evaluation.

Clinical management of each body system will also include applicable, age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions, therapeutic communication, and management of resources. The area encompassing the professional role will include ethical and legal considerations, scopes and standards of practice, regulatory guidelines, and research.

Improving Organizational Skills

The subject area will be divided and organized according to the recommended chapters by the university. A daily to-do list will also be made to organize the tasks that need to be completed on a day-to-day basis.


My plan is to make a daily schedule and stick to it. A weekly study schedule will be followed over the next six months. Study time will be set for four hours during clinical days, two hours during workdays, and eight hours during my days off.

Identifying Weaknesses

My main weakness is my lack of focus due to my busy schedule and multiple commitments — not only for school but also for work and family. In an attempt to minimize interruptions, the television, mobile phone, and other electronic devices will be turned off during study hours. Study time will be scheduled early in the day, when my energy level and focus are still optimal.

Learning Style Awareness

I am a visual learner and prefer using written educational materials. I favor diagrams and illustrations for a better understanding of important concepts. Writing notes to summarize the subject also helps me comprehend and remember key topics, which can aid in exam preparation.

The Timeframe to Complete the Plan of Study

In order to avoid cramming for the exam, I will allot a timeframe of six months to adequately prepare. The review books I have will be utilized to organize my readings through their chapters.

Resources and Materials to Be Utilized

I will be utilizing the books recommended by the university for this program. I have purchased these books, and they have been very informative. Based on my research, many students who have used the same review materials have successfully passed the certification exam issued by both the ANCC and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). These materials are as follows:

“The Nurse Practitioner’s Business Practice and Legal Guide” by Buppert.

This book explains and analyzes the legal issues relevant to nurse practitioners. It also provides the latest regulatory developments and lessons learned from case analyses of various laws and prosecutions.

“Family Nurse Practitioner Certification: Intensive Review” by Leik

This greatly esteemed review book promotes efficient and time-saving techniques by creating concise but organized formats.

“Nurse Practitioner: Certification Examination and Practice Preparation” by Fitzgerald

This book provides extensive discussions of disorders, including their appropriate diagnoses and treatments.

Plan to Evaluate Progress

Weekly Quizzes

At the end of each week, a total of 50 questions will be answered from either the Fitzgerald or Leik review books, according to the study plan, with a goal of a 75% pass rate.

Classroom Simulation Exams

Each meeting, there will be a simulation exam administered online through the Advanced Practice Education Associates (APEA). The student’s personal goal is to obtain a grade of 70% or higher.

Final Exam

At the end of the preceptorship course, a final exam will be administered. The ultimate goal is to pass with a score of 75% or higher.


By using the study plan as described above, the goal is to pass the preceptorship course and, finally, the certification exam with flying colors. Hopefully, all the hard work and discipline will pay off in the end.

Buppert, C. (2018). Nurse Practitioner’s Business Practice and Legal Guide (6th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Certification Test Prep. (2020). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from
Leik, Maria T. Codina. (2014). Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions. (2nd ed.). Springer Publisher
Fitzgerald, M. A. (2017). Nurse Practitioner: Certification Examination and Practice Preparation. (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

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