our everyday life

How to Prepare for the CCRN

by Maria OCadiz, studioD

Nurses providing health care to critically sick neonatal, adult and pediatric patients must acquire CCRN certification. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, CCRN certification dates back to 1976 and enables nurses to find employment in trauma units, intensive care units, surgical ICUs and cardiac care units. The association develops this test, and nurses may choose to take the adult, pediatrics or neonatal test or all the three exams. Applied Measurement Professionals administers the test five days a week throughout the year.

Acquire a Test Plan

A test plan, usually found in the CCRN Exam Handbook, guides a student on the topic areas and indicates the percentage of the exam dedicated to each topic. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the clinical judgment section lists a number of patient problems that guide students in studying the nursing interventions, lab values, medications and related side effects, signs and symptoms, and blood gases that relate to these problems. According to the association, topics in clinical judgment body systems carry more weight because they make up a higher percentage of the exam. These topics must be reviewed thoroughly, especially patient's problems that are not very common.

Review Sample Questions

Familiarize yourself with the test questions that are featured in the CCRN exam. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, test questions need you to apply your nursing knowledge instead of simply recalling information. A question may give you the patient’s lab values, signs and symptoms, and vital signs and ask you what to do or expect. Patient rounds and case conferences may help you in preparing for the exam because they apply knowledge-based information to patient situations. The CCRN Exam Handbook contains various sample questions for pediatrics, neonatal and adult tests.

Self-assessment Exam

Purchase a CCRN self-assessment exam online. Volunteers who write the certification exam items formulate the self-assessment exam, which contains various practice questions. Every question on the self-assessment exam provides the rationale for the right and wrong answers. The self-assessment exam provides insight on the questions you can expect to find on the actual exam and guides you on the right way to tackle every item.

Exam Review Course

CCRN exam review courses are available to purchase and to take. A review exam can also be taken at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses' various conferences. The association's online bookstore also offers various clinical and educational products, including audio and video review courses that can help a student in preparing effectively for the CCRN exam.


  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

About the Author

Maria OCadiz has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in Education. She is a former university professor, curriculum facilitator and teacher.

Photo Credits

  • Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images