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Herzing University

Jessica Neddersen

What is the APEA Exam?

Depending on your NP specialty, you will take a board certification exam. Here are some answers to help you prepare to be successful. 

Nurse practitioners are a growing career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 52% between 2020-2030.

Nurse practitioner (NP) licensure candidates must hold a master's degree in nursing and a valid state RN license and pass a national certification examination. Depending on your NP specialty, you will take a board certification exam with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Just like for any exam, you need to prepare to be successful. 

Herzing University is here to support you, not only through your educational journey but also by achieving certification success.  Each course in your NP program provides either information or resources to prepare you to sit for your board certification exam.  To get ready for the ANCC and AANP certification exams, you can prepare through the exams provided by the Advanced Practice Education Associates (APEA) resources from Barkley and Associates.

What is the APEA? 

The certification success resources do not prepare students for only one exam but instead, get them ready to take either the ANCC or AANP exam upon graduation. Family nurse practitioner students and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner students may choose between two certifying bodies (AANP or ANCC) when taking the certification exam. Whereas, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students will become board certified through ANCC. After deciding which certification exam to take, students will collaborate with certification success coaches to develop their study plan, starting with the APEA and Barkley q-banks and predictor exams.

The Q-banks and predictor exams serve as a helpful way to identify your strengths and weaknesses before taking your board exams. Consisting of 150 questions over a three-hour time limit, students can take the predictor exam online at their convenience. The enforced time limit allows students to practice their pacing and time management skills. All questions are randomized and reflect questions that would be on the ANCC and AANP certification exams, such as questions around pharmacotherapeutics, and pathophysiology. 

The Power of the Predictor

At Herzing, we believe preparation is key to success and practice exams are a great way to give yourself the advantage to pass your certification exam on the first attempt. Upon completion of your predictor exams, you will see results in 16 knowledge areas. 

After receiving their score, students can see results in 16 knowledge areas and five testing domains, so they know exactly where they stand. APEA Predictor Exams give 150 randomly selected questions to determine your readiness for passing the certification exam, evaluated for their validity and dependability. A passing grade for the predictor exam is 67%. 

Preparing for the APEA

Preparing for a preparation exam may sound unnecessary, but it’s an excellent way to create the strongest possible study plan. Here are a few tips for preparing for the APEA:

  • Challenge yourself to focus on the areas you may be less comfortable with. 
  • Familiarize yourself with exam questions and practice time management
  • Take an APEA review course to review the variety of material that will be covered
  • Use a planner to carve out time in your week to study, and help hold yourself accountable

Make sure you develop the best possible study plan from your experience with the predictor exam. The predictor exam breaks down exactly where you can address your weaknesses. Because there is no limit to how many times you can take the APEA exam, students are encouraged to use it as an indicator of their progress and take the exam multiple times before they attempt their certification.

The path to becoming a nurse can be challenging, but Herzing provides the tools you need to flourish during exam season and beyond. Learn more about how Herzing is here to help.

Learn More About Our Nurse Practitioner Programs

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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