In this post, we collaborated with Life of Psych creator Medard Sison to help you figure out precisely what you need to do to pass your American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) PMHNP board exam.

Author: Medard Sison, DNP, PMHNP-BC

You’re about to graduate Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) school and probably feeling a sense of achievement knowing you’re almost done, but then reality sets in. You still have to pass the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) PMHNP board exam.

Personally, my last semester of my PMHNP program was extremely busy. I felt I had no time to study the way I wanted to study and prepare for boards. At that time, I was juggling work full-time, going to school full-time, going to clinicals 24+ hours a week while still balancing my personal life with my family and just having a newborn son at that time. I had to come up with a strategic way of studying to maximize my time.

The following includes the review materials and tools I used to effectively pass my board exam and some additional tips for success.

What review materials/tools were effective for me? 

For the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner ANCC Board exam, there were several review options to choose from. I knew I needed to figure out a study strategy before deciding on the tools to use.

After much research, I found out the best way to study for any board examination is through reviewing content, taking as many prep questions as possible, and reading the rationales for each question. Knowing this, I narrowed my options to three must-have tools that helped me successfully pass.

1) Nursing Pocket Prep

The Nursing Pocket Prep app offers a specialized section focused specifically on the ANCC PMHNP board examination. Between being able to take a lot of practice questions and seeing the answer explanations for every question, the app covers a lot of ground. 

Content:

What I found special about this app was that it focused its content and questions around the five domains that the ANCC board uses. These domains include scientific foundation, advanced practice skills, diagnosis and treatment, psychotherapy and related theories, and ethical and legal principles. 

Each question had detailed explanations and rationales, which helped me learn the material more effectively. It also gave me a better understanding of why the other options were incorrect. 

Questions:

This app does an amazing job of giving its users a large amount of questions to take to help prepare for the exam. Like I stated earlier, taking as many questions as possible was key for my success because a variety of questions will give you the best chance of passing. This app is great because it gives you 800 practice questions. Yes, you read that correctly, 800 practice questions. 

Another great thing about this app is that it allows you to create custom PMHNP exams or quizzes where you may be weaker. At that time, my weak area was psychotherapy and related theories, so I was able to focus my attention there. If you don’t know what your weakness is, this app helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses by analyzing your past scores to show you which areas need more focus. 

Overall, this app was a game-changer in the way I studied because it offered me both great content and questions with rationales. I was able to use the app wherever I was and was able to take shorter quizzes depending on how much time I had. I would highly recommend getting this app.

ANA Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Review and Resource Manual, 4th edition

The ANA Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Review and Resources Manual, also known as “The Purple Book,” is the book of all books when it comes to content to study or this exam. This book offers a full range of content on all areas learned throughout PMHNP school, and it breaks it down into digestible material. It goes over important topics related to scope of practice, medication management, psychotherapy, theory, etc.  

What I loved most about this book is how it offers tips on taking the exam and goes through case studies to further explain the material. I personally read this book about four times but placed special emphasis on chapters 2-7. You need this book in your arsenal when prepping for this exam.

Fitzgerald PMHNP Certification Review Audio MP3

When it comes to learning, I love to read but also find listening to the material helpful. Listening was key because I was able to hear someone else’s voice explaining the material in layman’s terms. At that time, I was driving about an hour a day to and from work and I needed to use my time effectively. I obviously couldn’t take questions while driving, so listening to the material made sense. 

Fitzgerald is a great PMHNP review course for content because it goes over the domains covered on the exam. This is a great tool for people with an auditory learning style and those who drive a lot.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Try the Quick 10 quiz feature and Question of the Day on the Pocket Prep app 
  • Place special emphasis on weaker subject areas by using the Pocket Prep app to track your PMHNP study progress
  • Have a study partner who will help you and not distract you
  • Decrease stress as much as possible
  • Maintain a proper sleep schedule to maximize efficiency throughout the day
  • While studying, don’t forget to take breaks 
  • Visit the testing facility before your exam to know the exact location
  • Try to arrive at least an hour early to your exam
  • Try not to cram everything the day before the exam to minimize the risk of feeling mentally exhausted
  • Be confident, and you’ll do great!

For more tips, check out my video:

Author Bio: 

Medard Sison, DNP is an ANCC Board Certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and has a passion for providing psychiatric treatment to the homeless and severely mentally ill population. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, making YouTube videos and mentoring future Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. His goal is to improve access to compassionate and quality mental healthcare to everyone.