The Cardiac Surgery Certification Exam is to certify nurses to care for adult cardiac surgery patients who are acutely/critically ill.
This exam can be computer-based or a paper and pencil exam. The exam is 2 hours long. There are 90 multiple-choice questions, with 75 being scored. The exam focuses on clinical judgment.
In order to be eligible to take this exam, you must have a current RN or APRN license.
For examinees with conditions covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), special accommodations may be requested.
Some testing accommodations include small group setting, Braille test materials, large print test materials, ability to take prescription medications with water, hand-held magnifier, and seat cushion.
What categories and topics are covered on this exam?
- Procedures – 19%
- Complications – 31%
- Therapeutic Interventions – 36%
- Monitoring and Diagnostics – 15%
Cardiovascular and thoracic procedures will be addressed within the Procedures category.
Cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, hematology/immunology, neurology, gastrointestinal, renal, multisystem, and behavioral/psychosocial complications will be addressed in the Complications category.
Cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, hematology/immunology, neurology, renal, multisystem, behavioral/psychosocial, and postoperative care therapeutic interventions will be addressed in the Therapeutic Interventions category.
Hemodynamic monitoring, other forms of monitoring, and various diagnostics are addressed in the Monitoring and Diagnostics category.
What is the most convenient way to register for this exam?
Online registration is the most convenient way. You can pay via Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. If you do not have access to online registration, you can do so via a paper application, which can be paid with a credit card, check, or money order. Online registration is done same day. Paper registration takes 2-3 weeks to process.
What is the cost of the exam?
The first computer-based attempt at the Cardiac Surgery Certification Exam is $130 for AACN members, and $215 for non-members. A re-take of the exam is $110 for members and $155 for non-members.
If taking the exam using paper and pencil, the initial attempt costs $195 – $275, depending on how many examinees are taking the test. When taking the paper/pencil exam in Canada, the cost is $195 – $305, again depending on the number of examinees testing.
In order to be eligible to take the paper/pencil exam, you must live 3 hours or more away from the nearest testing center that offers the computer-based exam.
What are the testing dates and locations?
Once your registration has been approved, you will receive an email stating that your 90-day testing window is open, and that you can schedule your exam.
Testing is offered at over 300 sites in the United States and Canada, twice daily, Monday – Friday. 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Most of the testing sites also offer Saturday testing, by appointment.
What should I do the day of the exam?
Be sure to arrive at the testing site on time. Arriving late could prevent you from being admitted to the test.
Ensure you bring two valid forms of identification. Your primary form of ID must include your name, signature, and photo. A passport and driver’s license are examples of acceptable forms of primary ID.
The second form of identification must have your name and signature. A credit card or social security card can be used as a secondary form of ID.
Items such as reference materials, purses, and coats are prohibited from the testing area.
What happens after I take the exam?
If taking the computer-based exam, you will receive your score at the testing center, immediately after taking the exam. Within 3-4 weeks after passing the exam, you will receive your wall certificate. If taking the paper/pencil exam, your score report will be mailed to you 3-4 weeks after taking the exam.
What happens if I do not pass the exam?
You are allowed a total of four attempts at this exam, in a 12-month period.
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