CCRN Practice Test

Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse
CCRN Practice Test

What is CCRN Certification?

The CCRN certification is a board accreditation issued by AACN Certification Corporation. It validates that a registered nurse has attained the level of nursing knowledge needed for the care of patients in critical care and/or acute care settings. Nurses interested in this accreditation may work in areas such as Cardiac Care Units, Intensive Care Units, Medical/Surgical ICUs, Trauma Units, Combined ICU/CCUs, or Critical Care Transport/Flight.

The CCRN exam is structured to evaluate and verify the expertise and skill of the RN in the treatment of acutely/critically ill patients. 

The CCRN credential indicates a level of excellence in nursing and assurance that the nurse has learned the essential skills and knowledge for the effective care of acutely ill patients. It is related to improved patient outcomes and higher quality care for patients.

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CCRN Certification Requirements

Licensure

  • A current unencumbered license as an RN or APRN in the United States is required.
  • Candidates and CCRN-certified nurses must notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days of any restriction on their RN or APRN license(s).

Practice

Applicants must comply with one of the following options for clinical practice CCRN requirements:

Two-year option: Practice as an RN or APRN for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care for acute and/or critically ill          patients in the previous 2 years, of which 875 hours were accumulated in the most recent year preceding                    application.

                                                                                               OR

Five-year option: Practice as an RN or APRN of at least 5 years with a total of 2,000 hours of direct bedside                treatment for acute and/or critically ill patients with 144 of such hours in the most recent year before registration.

Eligible Clinical Practice Hours:

  • Must be accomplished in a US-based or Canada-based hospital or facility considered to be equal to the U.S. level of acute/critical care nursing practice.
  • Actively giving direct care to acutely/critically ill patients or providing guidance to nurses or nursing students at the bedside of acutely/critically ill patients while serving as a manager, trainer, preceptor, or APRN. The bulk of practice hours for the eligibility of the exam should be based on critically ill patients.
  • Verifiable by your health supervisor or qualified associate (RN or doctor). Contact details must be submitted to check the availability of clinical time to be used if you are chosen for audit.

Practice Verification

The name and contact details of the professional associate must be submitted for CCRN certification verification of eligibility for clinical practice hours. If you are chosen for an audit, this associate will have to be verified in writing.

A professional associate is identified as your medical supervisor or co-worker (RN or physician) with whom you        work.

CCRN Test Format

The Adult CCRN comprises of 150 multiple-choice questions, of which 125 items are scored. The remaining 25 items, which are randomly scattered throughout the exam, are used to gauge their worth for inclusion in future versions. The test takes three hours to complete the exam. It must be noted that the Clinical Judgment questions involve only adult patients, while the Professional Caring and Ethical Practice items will address to people of all ages. The table below indicates the CCRN test breakdown and their approximate percentage:

DomainsPercentage
Clinical Judgment80%
Cardiovascular18%
Pulmonary17%
Endocrine/Hematology/Gastrointestinal/Renal/Integumentary20%
Musculoskeletal/Neurology/Behavioral13%
Multisystem14%
Professional Caring and Ethical Practice20%

CCRN Scoring

The passing score of the CCRN exam is determined by a panel of subject matter and exam experts. The passing score is calculated by means of the updated Angoff, a criterion-referenced method for setting standards. The performance of each test runner is compared to the predetermined criterion for assessing his or her passing status. The difficulty level of each question also influences the importance of the correct answer to the question. The passing score is developed to recognize those applicants who demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and capacity to provide treatment to acutely ill adult patients. Applicants who have successfully passed the test should receive a certificate signifying their specialty qualification within three or four weeks of passing the test.

If you did not pass the test, you could re-apply to AACN Certification Corporation for a retest. A discounted retest payment is applicable to candidates who have taken the test in their most recent 90-day period but have not passed the test. Applicants may apply for and retake the same certification exam up to 4 times in a 12-month timeframe. After 12 months, a new honor statement is required.

CCRN Exam Fees

                                                                    CCRN Computer-Based Exam
AACN Members$239
Nonmember$344
                                                                                   CCRN Retest
AACN Members$170
Nonmember$275
                                                                           CCRN Renewal by Exam
AACN Members$170
Nonmember$275

Note: All fees are payable in U.S. dollars. Fees may be changed without notice. A fee of $15 will be paid for a returned check.

Computer-based examination discounts are available for groups applying ten or more certification test applications jointly. Employers can pre-purchase examination vouchers at a greater discounted rate. For specifics on Group Discount and Organization Discount programs, visit www.aacn.org/certdiscounts or call 800-899-2226.

How to register for CCRN exam?

Online CCRN Application Process: Same-day Processing

1. You could register for an adult CCRN online exam at www.aacn.org/certification by clicking Get Certified.

2. Please have the following items before beginning your online application process:

       • RN or APRN license number and expiration date

       • Name, address phone, and email address of your medical supervisor or professional colleague (RN or                      physician) who can check the eligibility of your practice.

       • Valid credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express)

3. Use your legal name on the application. The name must match the name on the photo identification you will use        for exam entry and printing of certificate.

4. Receive notice of your successful application to take the CCRN exam.

5. Receive approval-to-test (ATT) email. PSI (AACN Testing Service) will send an email and deliver a postcard to            viable candidates within 5 to 10 days of the confirmation email, which will include:

       • A toll-free number and electronic directions to arrange your test appointment.

       • The 90-day timeframe during which you have to plan and take the tests.

       • Your exam id number, which is your distinctive AACN CCRN user number, preceded by the letter “C” (e.g.,                      C00123456).

       • If you do not receive an email or a postcard from PSI within 2 weeks of obtaining your confirmation email,                   feel free to contact AACN Customer Care at 800-899-2226.

6. Schedule CCRN exam.

       • Promptly schedule your test appointment for a time and date within your 90-day examination period.

       • Testing is conducted twice a day, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Saturday appointments are available            at most locations.

       • To find PSI testing centers in the U.S., visit www.goAMP.com.

7. Sit for the exam.

       • Following the completion of computer-based tests, results with a performance breakdown will be provided on-           site.

       • Successful applicants will be mailed their wall certificate roughly 1 to 2 weeks after the results of the exam                 have been received.

Paper Application Process: Allow 2-3 weeks for Processing

Paper applications are needed for participants applying with a group for paper and pencil exams, and for tests outside of the United States.

1. Complete your registration process in the CCRN Exam Handbook on pages 37-38 and the Honor Statement on            page 39. Make sure that you finish all the required information on the application and include the registration fee        in the form of a check, money order, or credit card.

2. Use your legal name on the application. The name must match the name on the photo identification you will use        for exam entry and printing of certificate.

3. Receive notice of your successful application to take the CCRN exam.

4. Receive approval-to-test (ATT) email. PSI (AACN Testing Service) will send an email and deliver a postcard to            viable candidates within 5 to 10 days of the confirmation email, which will include:

       • A toll-free number and electronic directions to arrange your test appointment.
       • The 90-day timeframe during which you have to plan and take the tests.
       • Your exam id number, which is your distinctive AACN user number, preceded by the letter “C” (e.g., C00123456).
       • If you do not receive an email or a postcard from PSI within 2 weeks of obtaining your confirmation email,                   feel free to contact AACN Customer Care at 800-899-2226.

5. Schedule your exam.

       • Promptly schedule your test appointment for a time and date within your 90-day examination period.

       • Testing is conducted twice a day, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Saturday appointments are available             at most locations.

       • To find PSI testing centers in the U.S., visit www.goAMP.com.

6. Sit for the exam.

       • Paper and pencil test results are delivered by mail 6 to 8 weeks after testing.
       • Successful applicants will be mailed their wall certificate roughly 1 to 2 weeks after the results of the exam                 have been received.

CCRN Study Guide

CCRN Prep Book

Here are the top CCRN Exam Books/ CCRN Study Books:

       • Ace the CCRN: You can Do it! Practice Review Questions.
       • Pass CCRN.
       • Adult CCRN Exam: With 3 Practice Tests.
       • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Review.
       • Laura Gasparis CCRN Review.
       • Nurse.com Critical Care Review.

CCRN Online Course

Best CCRN Courses/CCRN Classes:

       • CCRN Training by Academy.
       • Nursing.com CCRN Review Course.
       • BoardVitals Critical Care Nursing Board Review Questions.
       • CCRN Review Online.
       • Kaplan CCRN Review Course.
       • Elsevier CCRN Practice Exam.

CCRN FAQ

The Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) is a health-care credential awarded to critical-care nurses. The certification program is overseen by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The CCRN is an advanced certification offered only to registered nurses and advanced practical nurses.

CCRN meaning is a board accreditation that can be acquired from nurses who take care of patients in critical care and/or acute care settings. It is a trademark and does not stand for “Critical Care Registered Nurse” but rather means that a registered nurse (RN) or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) has fulfilled the eligibility criteria of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and has successfully completed the CCRN exam.

  1. Download the CCRN Exam Handbook issued by AACN Certification Corporation.
  2. Read the handbook to ensure that you meet the minimum examination criteria.
  3. Go to www.aacn.org/certification and click “Get Certified” to create an application.
  4. Receive an email verifying your successful submission.
  5. Receive your Approval to Test (ATT) Email from AACN.
  6. Find a testing center at www.goAMP.com and schedule your test.
  7. Sit for the test.

Steps to become a critical care nurse:

  1. Obtain your degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  2. Complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  3. Obtain a Master’s degree from an Accredited MSN Program.
  4. Be accredited as a Critical Care Nurse by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).
  5. Look for jobs and join the workforce.

Working with doctors and experts to examine, treat, and monitor critically ill patients while still providing basic care is what critical care nursing entails.

The CCRN exam is difficult and must not be taken lightly. There are about 14,000 test runners per year, and the pass CCRN rate is only about 79%. The test itself consists of 150 questions, 25 of which are not credited towards the exam scores.

The CCRN certification is a board accreditation issued by AACN Certification Corporation. It validates that a registered nurse has attained the level of nursing knowledge needed for the care of patients in critical care and/or acute care settings. Nurses interested in this accreditation may work in areas such as Cardiac Care Units, Intensive Care Units, Medical/Surgical ICUs, Trauma Units, Combined ICU/CCUs, or Critical Care Transport/Flight.

Download the CCRN Exam Handbook from the AACN Certification Corporation to learn how to become an adult CCRN. Examine the manual to make sure you’re up to date on the testing requirements. Create an application by going to www.certcorp.org and clicking “apply online.”

The CCRN certification is valid for three years and can be renewed every three years by retaking the CCRN exam or satisfying the renewal requirements of the Synergy CERPs (Continuing Education Recognition Points) program during that time.

To pass the CCRN exam, you only need to get 87 questions right.

While you may wish to attempt for the highest possible score, keep in mind that passing the CCRN exam with a “C” is sufficient. The CCRN exam has 150 questions, 125 of which are scored and the other 25 are not. To pass the exam, you only need to get 87 questions right. This equates to approximately 70%, or a “C.”

The test plan (also known as an exam blueprint) may be found in the Exam Handbook and is one of the most important study resources. The test design is divided into content areas, each of which is given a percentage to indicate how the topic area will be weighted on the exam.

Some people study for a month, while others study for two weeks. Whatever makes you feel at ease and confident is what you should do! I’d also suggest taking the Self-Assessment Exam (SAE). It’s exactly how the exam’s questions will appear, and it’ll give you an excellent idea of how prepared you are!

Nurses can renew their licenses through CERPs or by taking an exam. Nurses renewing their CERPs by category must meet the category standards. The nurse must use the AACN logs to keep track of all of their CERPs. The nurse will be able to see exactly how many CERPs he or she has in this manner. The logs make calculating points and documenting his or her activity a breeze. When a nurse renews their CCRN, the AACN accepts the logs as well as all verification of CERPs (membership cards, copies of CEU awards, copies of certificates).

If the nurse wants to renew by exam, he or she will need to contact and make an appointment. It’s the same exam he or she passed to become qualified. To preserve his or her license, the nurse must pass the CCRN exam by the renewal deadline. If he or she fails, the nurse’s license will not be renewed, and she will have to retake the exam.

A CCRN nurse is a registered nurse who has completed extensive specialty training and is qualified to care for patients in acute and critical care situations. The average annual wage is $88,000, but it varies based on a number of factors.

The CCRN is a three-hour timed exam with 150 questions; 125 of them are assessed, while the remaining 25 are used to collect statistical data for future exams. The exam questions are based on the AACN Synergy Patient Care Model.

The CCRN Exam Handbook includes a paper application as well as full exam information. You can also submit an application online.

To take the CCRN exam, candidates must achieve one of the following clinical requirements: practice as an RN or APRN for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of acutely and/or critically ill patients in the previous two years, with 875 of those hours accumulated in the year prior to application.

It takes several years of study to become a critical care registered nurse (CCRN). The first step toward becoming a CCRN is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, sometimes known as a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), which typically takes four years to accomplish.

The CRRN exam is a three-hour test with 175 questions.

Once you receive the postcard or email, you can arrange an exam appointment online or over the phone. Please contact AACN Customer Care at (800) 899-2226 or certcorp@aacn.org if you have not received your postcard or email within 2-3 weeks of applying for an exam.

Contacting the testing center is the quickest way to verify CCRN certification.

It’s difficult to say how hard the CCRN exam will be. Anecdotal comments differ from person to person, with some nurses reporting that it is significantly more difficult than the NCELX and others reporting that it is equivalent to or even easier.

Barron’s CCRN Exam with Online Test by Patricia Juarez is one of the best CCRN review books available. Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio and Joanne Noone review the critical care examination. Robin Donohoe’s PASS CCRN. Alexander Johnson and Hillary Crumlett’s Critical Care Nursing Certification: Preparation, Review, and Practice Exams.

You can take the CCRN exam online, allowing you to study from the convenience of your own home. You could also be able to find a local center that can assist you in finding a local center if you need it.

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