What is the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) Certification?

The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) certification exam is one of the requirements for professionals seeking to attain initial CEN certification. It is a Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) exam designed to enhance performance of individuals in emergency nursing while elevating overall professional standards in the field. By successfully taking and passing the exam, Registered Nurses can demonstrate they have the knowledge needed for competency to practice in emergency nursing care, in addition to commitment to continuing education to continually provide quality care.



CEN Practice Test


Qualifying and Registering

The exam is specific to emergency nursing and is only open to candidates that already hold a current, unrestricted Registered Nurse license or equivalent nursing certificate. While not required, BCEN also recommends candidates have two or more years of experience in the emergency department.


To register to sit for the examination, you will need to complete an online application for eligibility and pay associated fees. Paper applications are no longer accepted by BCEN. After your application has been received, it will be reviewed by BCEN within approximately four weeks. Once a decision has been made, you will receive an exam eligibility e-mail explaining next steps and your 90-day testing window. Then, to schedule an appointment to take the CEN, you will select a Pearson VUE testing center and available exam date and time. You will be given the option to do this online or on the phone.


CEN Practice Questions

CEN Review Practice Questions

Changing, Cancelling or Missing Your CEN Appointment

If you need to change your CEN appointment, you are required to do so within 24 hours prior to your exam date and time. You will only be allowed to do this one time and the new appointment must still fall within your original 90-day testing window. If you fail to appear for your appointment time, you forfeit all paid fees, and no fees will be refunded once an exam appointment has been schedule. If you choose to retake the CEN exam after the approved 90-day window, you will need to submit a new application and payment to re-apply for eligibility.


What to Expect on the Exam

The CEN exam is a computer-based certification exam that consists of 175 questions, with 150 of these being scored and 25 unscored pretest items. You will have a total of 180 minutes, or three hours, to complete the exam. Time will begin once you are seated and presented with the BCEN Examination Rules and Regulations agreement screen.


Every BCEN exam is based on specialty nursing role delineation studies (RDS), or practice analysis or job analysis, so you can anticipate the same for the Certified Emergency Nurse examination. These studies are conducted by exam committees comprised of applicable subject matter experts. To determine which tasks and knowledge areas will be presented on the exam, the exam committee distributes survey instruments throughout the United States. As the exam is developed, item writers will create exam questions based on appropriate integrated concepts and cognitive level distribution.


Questions are reviews, revised and approved by the exam committee on a regular basis. These questions can be broken down into the following CEN content outline:


  1. Cardiovascular Emergencies (20 Questions)
  2. Respiratory Emergencies (16 Questions)
  3. Neurological Emergencies (16 Questions)
  4. Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Gynecology and Obstetrical Emergencies (21 Questions)
  5. Psychosocial and Medical Emergencies (25 Questions)
  6. Maxillofacial, Ocular, Orthopedic and Wound Emergencies (21 Questions)
  7. Environment and Toxicology Emergencies and Communicable Diseases (15 Questions)
  8. Professional Issues (16 Questions)

What to Expect on Test Day

All Pearson VUE testing centers are designed to be safe and quiet to allow test-takers to perform at their best and give everyone equal opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities. If this is your first time taking a computer-based examination, you should consider utilizing the resources available to you through Pearson VUE to familiarize yourself with functionality prior to test day. Otherwise, when you arrive at your testing center, you will need to complete an admissions process before being seated to begin your examination.


Great CEN Exam Review Tips. How to PASS!

Your Score

There are no curves based on the performance of other candidates taking the CEN exam. Instead, Your CEN score is based solely on your individual performance and is determined based on the number of questions you answered correctly. In order to successfully pass the examination, you are required to correctly respond to 106 of the 150 questions.


Almost immediately upon completing the examination, you will be given a score report that indicates a pass or fail before you leave the Pearson VUE testing enter. Your score report will also include your digital color photograph for security and identification purposes. If you passed the exam, you will receive a certificate and wall card in the mail within 10 business days following your exam date. Successful completion of the certification exam allows emergency nursing care professionals to use these credentials for formal recognition in their field for a period of four years, at which point recertification is required.


Re-taking the Exam

If you do not receive a passing score on the CEN exam, you may be eligible to retake the examination. Before you may submit a re-test application, you will need to wait for a period of 90 days. You are permitted an unlimited number of attempts to pass the certification exam, but you are required to abide by the 90-day waiting period between attempts and re-apply for each attempt.


Preparing for the Exam

As you prepare to take the Certified Emergency Nurse exam, it is important to assess your current level of knowledge and skills in order to create a study plan. Creating a study plan that incorporates CEN review and CEN practice will help you prepare as adequately as possible to achieve success on the examination. To help you pass the exam, Mometrix has prepared CEN exam materials, including a CEN practice test with practice questions and a CEN study guide that further outlines the content and topics you may encounter on the actual examination.


CEN Study Guide

Mometrix Academy is a completely free CEN certification resource provided by Mometrix Test Preparation. If you find benefit from our efforts here, check out our premium quality CEN study guide to take your studying to the next level. Just click the CEN review book link below. Your purchase also helps us make even more great, free CEN review content for test-takers.


CEN Study Guide

CEN Flashcards



CEN Study Guide CEN Flashcards


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Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 06/15/2018
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