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You purchased the CCRN Study Guide, now what?

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Here's my "12 Step-by-Step" Guide to Studying for the CCRN Exam


1. Thank you for allowing me to be your certification mentor! This is a commitment, but we WILL DO IT. Email me at pbartleysc@gmail.com if you have and questions about my study material.

2. You do not need additional material. Check out my blog on free resources.

3. Register for the CCRN exam soon, it makes it “REAL” and you will actively study. Do not tell anyone when your test date is, that just adds more pressure. You have 90 days to take the exam once you register, but please do not schedule the exam on day 90, because something may go wrong. Check Get Your CCRN Certification - AACN for exam information.

4. Schedule your exam at the best time of day for you, morning, or afternoon. Night-shifters do not work all night then taking the exam at 8:00am. The testing center is warm, and several have fallen asleep during the exam. When are you most alert – am or pm? Schedule your test for that time of day.

5. The CCRN exam is 150 questions, with 125 graded. You need 83 correct (66%) to pass. All questions are multiple-choice, no “all of the above” or “select all that apply”.

6. Yes, the 2022 pass rate was 82%, but if you follow my advice, you have a much higher chance of passing the exam.

7. Twenty-five questions on the exam do not count. The 25 questions can be anywhere on exam, but tend to be earlier, so if you see something not in my material, just make your best educated choice.

8. My CCRN pretest is 60 questions so you can assess your timing. The goal is to make 75%, so did you get 45 correct? Why did you miss the questions? Was it a knowledge-deficit, or test-taking error? The pretest questions are a little easier than the actual exam, just to assess basic knowledge.

9. The CCRN exam blueprint has 6 sections, study one section per week.

10. Prepare a dedicated study space, just like students in virtual school. Have flashcards to write content you need to study more, and colorful pens to stimulate creative side.

11. Study during your peak brain time and consider playing instrumental music while you study to stimulate brain. Study in 30-45-minute intervals, then get up and exercise before continuing.

12. What study strategy works best for you?

a. Talk to a nurse who recently passed the CCRN exam and ask for suggestions. Review ACLS, cardiac rhythms, ABG interpretation.

b. I strongly suggest recruiting a study buddy for accountability.

c. Develop flash cards of concepts you do not fully understand, not everything. Take the flashcards to work and ask everyone to tell you everything they know about that concept. You learn while creating the flashcards.

d. Develop memory aids, mnemonics, and acronyms for ECG concurrent leads, ABG interpretation, antidotes, etc.

e. Record yourself explaining the “Key Points” in your own words and listen while driving or exercising, or before going to bed. You learn while recording and reinforce with listening.

f. Explain difficult material to a co-worker and encourage questions.



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