AANP VS. ANCC NP Certification Exams

Students who are about to complete their Nurse Practitioner program should choose which final test to take.

You can choose between two official institutions – The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Both institutions offer several testing options for nursing specialties, including Nurse Practitioner.

You can also pick any further educational programs such as BC for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practioner (AGACNP-BC).

You pick any exam you want because both are valid certificates.

For example, RN, FNP-BC, Tracy Lutche completed the Fitzgerald course review online.

She says that both exams seemed challenging, but she wanted to have the BC designation to her tittle.

She picked the test based on her research, but the test wasn’t focused on the clinical practice.

Test are being updated constantly to follow the standards and real demands of nursing practice.


From May 2019, the ANCC exam has been updated to have ore clinical practice information.

Before, the test was focused on nursing theory.

The test has 175 questions and you have 3.5 hours to complete it.

You get a score for completing 150 questions.

Another update is about three sections of the test.

Those are practice foundation, professional practice, and independent practice.

The updated test includes ten theory fields and 13 skills-related sections:

  • Assessment (21%)
  • Diagnosis (26%)
  • Clinical Management (43%)
  • Professional role (10%)

The skills sections are:

  • Comprehensive health history and physical assessment
  • Functional assessment
  • Pharmacotherapeutic intervention selection and evaluation
  • Nonpharmacologic intervention selection and evaluation
  • A focused history and physical assessment
  • Diagnostic test selection and evaluation
  • Culturally congruent practice
  • Therapeutic communication
  • Risk assessment
  • Differentiating between normal and abnormal physiologic or psychiatric changes
  • Resource management
  • Research

The AANP Exam

On the other hand, the AANP test is competency-based.

The test has 150 questions, but you get a score of 135 questions.

The AANPCB – AANP Certification Board gets the credentials by the Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Another student,  Willa Espina, MSN, FNP who took the AANP test after completing the Fitzgerald course says that having a strong clinical background helps to pass the test with a better score.

The AANP exam focuses on two domains.

Domain I includes the all basic procedure, while the domain one is focused on patients’ age.


  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis
  • Plan
  • Evaluation


  • Prenatal
  • Pediatric (both newborn and infant)
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Geriatric
  • Elderly

Both exams – ANCC and AANP are great options if you want to work in a Magnet facility or to provide reimbursement guidelines for Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies.

However, your personal career preferences are the most important deciding factor.

For example, the ANCC exam comes with more theory and research, so it makes a great background for developing an academic career.

On the other hand, NPs with preferences of working in facilities for providing primary care may choose the AANP because of the clinical focus.

The first step is to pick the examination board and to dedicate yourself to education!

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