Route to FNP | Board Exam Prep and Resources

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The word "resources" is probably one of my favorite words, as you'll notice while perusing my blog. I think a big part of it is because I love to share resources that I have used and that have helped me get to where I am now. The resources may or may not be for everyone, but these are the resources I used when preparing for my nurse practitioner board exam (AANP). I'll be writing up and adding my comments and takes from each of the board exam prep materials I used, so you can get an idea of whether or not it is something that you should invest in.




Photo from Unsplash


My study plan:

For the most part, I did not really have a structured study plan. My program integrated many exams that I had to pass in order to move forward in the program. The exams for my program included the family medicine end-of-rotation exam (an exam that physician assistant students typically take) and the FNP HESI exam. Needless to say, I was pretty much studying for boards the whole time (a span of 6 months prior to graduation), although not very intensely. I only began studying most intensely 2 weeks before the exam with daily reading of a few chapters of Leik and working on practice questions from her app. Personally, I had to move out of my apartment because my lease was up and had other life things to deal with.





These are the materials I used to prepare for boards:





  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review by Leik.
    • My thoughts: The book does an amazing job of summarizing the content and key pearls that students should have learned during their FNP program. It felt more like a review for me. I found myself nodding along as I read. Not nodding off to sleep, but nodding because I remembered learning this or that concept. I would recommend reading the book at least once cover to cover. If you need more specific things to look at, take a look at the main pearls/takeaway points that are bolded throughout the book. If you travel/drive/are on-the-go often, I would recommend purchasing the book with the access code. The access code will provide you with free access to the book and practice questions (from the book) on a phone app and on desktop, which you can access anytime. I did the practice questions from the book on desktop because I wanted to get a feel for doing questions on the computer. After all, board exams are all computerized. There are people who have read the book 2-3 times who have also passed the exam. Do what works for you, but the main thing is to understand the concepts. For me, I was working on practice questions up until the night before the exam (and I still had 200 practice questions left).
    • Would I use it again: Yes, most definitely. If I was short on time and had to pick just one board exam prep material, this would be the one.
  • Amelie Hollier Review (Audio only).
    • My thoughts: I started listening to her audio only of the board review in April/May. For me, I used the resource as a way to prepare for the FNP HESI test (which my school used as one of the criteria for graduation). Her review is in-depth and covers all body systems through the lifespan. One thing you'll definitely need with this audio review is time. You could possibly get through the entire audio in one day, but that would just be getting through the audio one time. I listened to a few body system/lifespan audios each day (or as I had some down time). I stopped listening to the audio after I passed my FNP HESI exam, mainly because I had other important things I needed to do in order to graduate (ie. pass a final multi-station OSCE). I would have revisited her audio lectures again if I had the time, but I didn't, so that was that.
    • Would I use it again: Yes, but only if I started listening to the audio months ahead like this time.
  • Fitzgerald Review (Live).
    • My thoughts: I did the live review class, in which I flew out to Las Vegas and sat in class for 2 1/2 days, 8-5pm. The class was great and the speaker was engaging. We definitely did not cover "everything" though. We covered selected topics from the body systems/lifespan. Taking the live review class gives you access to a workbook, which is what the class is based off of and online modules, which you can complete to earn CEUs. Although the course is live and you have to do some traveling (most likely) for it, there are still modules that you'll need to complete on your own to get the full experience. Personally, I ran out of time. I attended the live courses and paid attention, but I did not have time to review the workbook or even touch the modules before taking my AANP exam. If you're considering taking the Fitzgerald Live Review, I would suggest taking the course a month or two before you test and to make sure you give yourself enough time to do the modules on your own to fully make use of on the course.
    • Would I use it again: With the timing of when I planned to take the exam and with all of my other resources, I would not take the live course. Taking the live course was kind of overkill, given that I've been using all of the other resources. Plus the money for the course, lodging, flights, food, etc and the time spent could have been used for something else (You'll see what I mean in a future post).
  • Walden Exam Solutions (Bronze package x2 months + Live Review).
    • My thoughts: I signed up for Latrina Walden's bronze package back in January and kept the subscription for 2 months. The bronze package gives you unlimited access to her videos for board prep. I signed up as early as I did because I wanted to 1) see if it was helpful and 2) see if it would help me for my family medicine EOR (end of rotation) exam, since I had no idea how to study for an EOR (I'm an NP student, remember?). I really appreciated that there are no limits as to how many times you can watch/listen to the videos and that all of her review materials are reasonably priced. During my first month of the subscription, I listened to at least one of her videos every day. This wasn't the case during the second month of the subscription mainly because I got busy with rotations. I would recommend at least one month of the bronze package, so you can see if you like it or if it would be helpful for you. For the live review, be ready for a rapid fire of questions. I took her live review course the Sunday before I tested, and I knew I was ready. She expects active participation in the course. You can either enter your answer to questions she fires in the chatbox or just shout it out from your side of the screen. For me, I did the shout-it-out-from-your-side-of-the-screen mainly because other people typed in the answer so quickly! If anything, her rapid fire questions during the live review is a way to see if you really know and are ready for the exam. She is very concise and enthusiastic to teach. You'll really be walking out of the exam with your sheet and can feel like an "NP in 5 minutes."
    • Would I use it again: Yes. I would definitely do the bronze package and live review again. Her courses are reasonably priced, so it doesn't hurt the wallet as much to at least give her test prep material a try. I would start with the bronze package x1 month first, then decide from there if you want to try out the live review.




Some free or priced by subscription phone applications (apps) that might be useful while you study:





  • FNP Mastery. I used this app when studying for the NCLEX and had the app on my phone as I was preparing for the nurse practitioner board exam. But that was about it. I had the app on my phone. I didn't get a chance to get to this app, since I was short on time and already loaded with other resources. If you're the kind of person who is on-the-go all the time, having board-style practice questions available on your phone would definitely be helpful.
  • Quizlet. A free and easy way to find flashcards for different courses and exam prep.
  • FNP Certification. I would definitely recommend this app. If you are preparing for the nurse practitioner boards using the Leik book and have an unused access code, you'll be able to access the book and practice questions through this app. If not, I believe you can purchase access to this app. Leik was my go-to and #1 resource as I was preparing for boards, and having this app was perfect since I was able to do practice questions or read the book without having to physically lug the book around with me everywhere.
  • Rosh Review. I used Rosh Review (physician assistant certification prep, not nurse practitioner prep) during my program. For a subscription fee, you can get access to their question bank -- either nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The questions are challenging and get you thinking. I did not have a chance to use this app when preparing for the nurse practitioner board exam, since I wanted to get used to nurse practitioner board style questions. I would recommend this if you're looking for more of a challenge or if you want more questions to do.


I hope you find these resources helpful as you prepare for your board exam! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or reach me through my contact form. Good luck with your boards!



Nicole G.
@nextwithnicole


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