The Definitive Guide to CCRN Certification

CCRN Certification: The Definitive Guide (2019)

– In 2017, the CCRN (Adult) first time pass rate was 79%.

– Over 14,362 candidates took the Adult exam in 2017.

– The passing cut score was 87 on the score effective date (10/15/2015).

The CCRN exam is a specialty certification for those nurses who want to provide care to acutely and critically ill patients. Many nurses with this certification work in specialized areas such as trauma units, intensive care units, and cardiac care units.

While the CCRN certification exam is an important part of your nursing career, you need to know what you can expect on the exam. But, before you start prepping for the CCRN exam, here are a few things that you should know for you to pass the CCRN.

1.Understand the CCRN Exam Outline
One of the most important parts of studying for any exam is to understand the exam outline. One way of passing the CCRN exam is to know how the exam is formatted. Knowing the outline of the exam can give you a head start on getting prepared for the exam.

Here’s what you need to know about the CCRN:

• The CCRN is a 3-hour long test.
• There are 150 multiple-choice questions on the CCRN exam. Of those 150 questions, 125 are scored and 25 are pretest items that do not count towards your score.
• The exam is broken up into 80% Clinical Judgment and 20% Professional Caring and Ethical Practice

2. Understand the Content Areas
There is a lot of information that you need to know when you take the CCRN certification exam. There are two main content areas of the CCRN exam: 80% Clinical Judgment and 20% Professional Caring and Ethical Practice. Included in the Clinical Judgment area, you’ll need to understand cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, hematology, GI, renal, integumentary, musculoskeletal, neuro, psychosocial and multisystem.

CCRN Exam Secrets Study Guide
CCRN Exam Secrets Study Guide

3. CCRN Study Guide
Using a study guide while studying for an exam can help you dig deeper into the details and concepts that you need to know. In fact, study guides are one of the most valuable resources that can help you pass the CCRN exam. The CCRN Study Guide can also help you brush up on concepts that you need to know for the exam such as patient care and ethical practices.

4. Create a Study Plan
The CCRN certification is an important certification that can advance your nursing career. So in order to make sure that you pass the CCRN, not only is it important that you study for the exam, but you also need to create a study plan. A study plan will prevent you from cramming plus it will help you remember more information as you study. Try setting aside two to three hours a day and focus on one section of the exam at a time leading up until the night before the actual exam.

5. Take a Review Course
A review course can help you learn and remember the information that you need to know in order to pass the CCRN exam. It can also help you review any procedures that are related to critical care nursing. Mometrix University offers a CCRN Online Prep Course that includes practice tests, review videos, study guide lessons, and digital flashcards.

CCRN Flashcard Study System
CCRN Flashcard Study System

6. CCRN Flashcards
As a nurse, you already have a pretty busy schedule, but you still need to study for the CCRN exam. That’s where CCRN Flashcards can come in handy. Flashcards are not only handy and make the perfect study companion when you’re a busy nurse, but they help you to get right down to the detail of the concepts that you need to know. They are also great at helping you remember more of the information for a longer period of time.

7. A “C” is Enough
While you want to try to achieve the highest score you can get, know that a “C” is enough to pass the CCRN exam. The CCRN exam consists of 150 questions, 125 are scored while the remaining 25 are not. You only need to get 87 questions correct to pass the exam. This equals out to be about 70%, or a “C”.

8. You’ll Use Your Nursing Knowledge
The CCRN exam is a knowledge-based exam. This means that instead of recalling information that you have studied, you’ll be given some questions where you’ll need to use your knowledge of being a nurse. You may have a question or two that will give you the signs and symptoms of a patient, the lab values and vital signs and ask you what you will need to do.

9. CCRN Practice Questions
Practice questions are a great way to learn more about the structure and format of the questions that will be on the exam. You will be asked a lot of questions that will be similar to the CCRN exam. Completing practice questions can help you retain prior knowledge and learn new information. A practice test can also tell you what area you are strong in as well as what area you may be weak in. Having an idea of where your strengths and weaknesses are will help you to understand more of where what areas you need to study. If you’re ready to test yourself, we offer free CCRN Certification Practice Tests!

If you need more information about the CCRN Certification exam, visit the AACN website:


What is the CCRN?

The CCRN is a certification for nurses who want to become a Critical Care Registered Nurse. Having the CCRN certification shows that the nurse has met all of the requirements that are needed to be a critical care nurse for critical or acute, pediatric, or neonatal patients.

How many questions are on the CCRN exam?

The CCRN exam consists of 150 questions. Out of those 150 questions, 125 are scored while the remaining 25 are not scored.

How long is the CCRN test?

The CCRN exam is timed for 3 hours.

What is the minimum score needed to pass the CCRN?

The minimum score needed to pass the CCRN Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal exams are 89.

How much does it cost to take the CCRN exam?

For AACN members, to take the CCRN exam, the fee is $235. For non-members, the fee is $340.

Can you retake the CCRN test?

Yes. You can retake the CCRN exam. You can sit to retake the exam up to four times within a 12 month period.

What is on the CCRN exam?

The questions on the CCRN exam are based on the AACN Model for Patient Care: • 80% focusing on Clinical Judgment • 20% focusing on Professional Caring and Ethical Practice

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Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more