The past year has been so very busy. I completed my Masters and (next week) I will have finished my Doctoral coursework obligations. I opted to finish all of my doctoral courses before taking my Family Nurse Practitioner Boards. That was kind of crazy given that I have 'poor test taking skills' but it was what I needed to do because I didn't have the money to pay the exam fees. I had been away from the content for ONE YEAR and I managed to pass after only studying for TWO WEEKS!!! So there...I control my own success and failure ;) Because I was unable to find anyone else's study plan for boards, I have decided to post mine...
To prepare for boards, I spent a total of $52 and I used only three items. I studied using the $40 Fitzgerald book and the sample test questions posted on the ANCC website. I surveyed the Fitzgerald book chapter-by-chapter in order from 1-15 (This is important because one chapter leads to the next in a very methodical way). I also used (borrowed from a friend) the 2005 ANCC guide, but for the information on Theory/NP Practice, as a reference to the Fitzgerald and for the questions in the appendix. If you can't afford to buy the ANCC reference manual, try to find one of your nursing texts that covers NP practice, family theory and health care policy for the purpose of review. This is how I did it:
Step One: Answer the questions that proceeded the content in the Fitzgerald guide
Step Two: Read the content...The Fitzgerald book is a very EASY read
Step Three: Create flashcards based on the Fitzgerald content using plain 3x5 notecards. After I used notecards for the first two chapters, I decided that it would be better to make powerpoint slides so that I could put them on my Blackberry. As I made the flashcards, I read the questions and then the correct answers ALOUD
Step Four: Find some more practice questions. I found mine in the ANCC guide and on the ANCC website. I did these questions and my flashcards over, and over, and over again. I used the adult, peds, gero and family ANCC sample questions on the website. This proved to be helpful in learning the flow of the questions and building confidence.
For two whole weeks, any spare time I had was used to study the Fitzgerald book, doing about one chapter a day. I woke up with that book...Laid down with the book...I even loaded the questions onto my Blackberry so that I could practice questions whenever I was idle. An amazing source of support during my studies was my daughter's father...Yes,I have vilified him in the past, but he kept an eye on the kids, made sure I stopped to eat and made me take sensory breaks (Like going to see 'Why Did I Get Married, Too). When I wanted to fuss, he let me. When I wanted to give up, he encouraged me. The morning of the test, he prayed with me. I guess he is not ALL bad.
When I arrived at the testing center I was terrified. I placed all of my items in my locker and checked in...I was a nervous wreck. I completed the tutorial and proceeded to take the test. The first question popped up...I didn't really know the answer. It was in that moment that I decided that I would 'mark for review' every question that I thought I missed. The first 7 questions I marked. Then finally I started to get questions that I felt pretty confident about. I was moving along at a pretty good clip! Then I got to the last question and I though..."Could it be over that quickly?' After I counted the questions that I 'marked for review'...There were only about 50 questions. Not Bad :/ So I went back through and reviewed the ones a thought I missed. I might have changed a couple since my nerves were a little more settled...I had plenty of time, at least a hour and a half to review my questions. Then I said, either I know it or I don't. I decided to end my test. A survey popped up and then I was directed back to the proctor.
I walked out and asked, 'Did I pass?' She said it depended on the print out. I was feeling sick! She had to re-boot the computer because my paper didn't print out. I was hoping that didn't mean I would have to take the whole thing again. After about another 5 minutes, the paper printed and I found out that I passed. I am a ANCC Board Certified Nurse Practitioner! I don't have my state license yet because it requires me to complete paperwork. The test was not so bad after all :) If you are reading this and preparing for boards just breathe and be confident that you have all that you need to pass...I am sure you will do just fine!
Now to get my proposal written so that I can get my study moving!
NurseDiVa MSN, FNP-BC