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How to Prepare for the AGPCNP Certification Exam: Study Plans, Resources, & More!

An adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who cares for adolescent, adult, and older adult patients. AGPCNPs are so important, because they play a critical role in increasing patient access to care! They wear many hats, but the foundation of the role centers on assessment, diagnosis, management, and evaluation of acute and chronic primary care conditions. So congrats on your career choice, you’re going to make a huge impact! 

Before you do though, there’s still one thing standing between you and your dream job: earning your AGPCNP certification. To ease any fears you have about clearing this last hurdle, in this post we’ll cover some FAQs about the journey to AGPCNP certification.

We’ll go over the certification exams that are out there, how to study for them, what a passing score is, and so on. It’s all key information for anyone that needs to get their AGPCNP certification. 

Let’s get started, so you can obtain that passing score and land your dream AGPCNP job!

1. What are the AGPCNP certification exams? 

So you’ve graduated from an accredited AGPCNP program; what’s next? The next step in this journey is to obtain AGPCNP certification by passing one of two available certification exams, provided by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

Both the AANP and ANCC exams are competency-based and assess NP entry-level skills and knowledge. The exams are just to make sure you’re ready to step into clinical practice as a safe and competent new clinician. Both are computer-based, and take 3–3.5 hours to complete.

Check out this post for more info about the difference between AANP vs ANCC for the AGPCNP certification exam!

2. How many questions are on the exams?

The AANP exam has 150 questions (135 scored questions and 15 pretest questions* that aren’t scored).

The ANCC exam has 175 questions (150 scored questions and 25 pretest questions* that aren’t scored).

*Keep in mind the pretest questions for either exam aren’t labeled and are only used to get some data about how the test takers did on them! 

3. How are the AGPCNP certification exams scored?

For the AANP, the total number of questions answered correctly (i.e., total raw score) is converted to a scaled score of 200–800. A passing scaled score is 500 or greater.

For the ANCC, scores are reported on a scale with a maximum score of 500. A passing score is 350 or greater.

Keep in mind that while each certifying body provides the above passing thresholds, both report your final score as either “pass” or “fail.” At the end of the day, you only need to pass one exam to become a certified NP and you can’t go wrong with either available option

4. How do I study for my AGPCNP certification exam?

Great news! The AANP and ANCC exams are alike in format and you can do similar prep for each! In the past, the ANCC was known to test more professional role topics, but these topics are still fair game for the AANP exam.

So where do you start when it comes to studying? You’ll first want to check out the handbook of your respective AGPCNP certification exam to understand the exam blueprint (i.e., the breakdown of questions) and testing details.

Check out the AGPCNP exam blueprints for AANP and ANCC!

One thing to be aware of is that students often feel like they have to pick the perfect board review option. Such a thing doesn’t really exist. To find the best option for you, make sure to choose a format that aligns with your schedule, learning preferences, and budget. Most students benefit from combining a couple options for a well-rounded, engaging study experience.

Here’s an overview of some review options for you! No matter which route(s) you choose, we recommend giving yourself around two months to prepare for the exam, with some scheduled breaks and rest days to recharge your study battery.

Self-Paced Courses

Self-paced video courses, such as our comprehensive 3-course bundle, are an excellent match for those who want a comprehensive learning experience with knowledge checks, but need flexibility in their study plan. 


Question banks are another flexible, self-paced option that foster a true “practice makes perfect” approach, and you usually get personal analytics to track your progress. 

Live Study Groups

For students who want a more interactive learning experience, live study groups provide a great balance between structured sessions and resources to study between them! 

5. What makes SMNP Reviews so special?

Ultimately, every learning journey is unique! We keep this principle at the heart of our board prep product development and prioritize having quality options for every kind of learner. 

We also have created an online, personalized study planner that maps out what you need to study and when. We understand that life happens, so our planner rebalances and adapts to your schedule to keep you on track.

In addition to our no-fluff, innovative approach to AGPCNP certification prep, we’re 100% committed to teaching strategies that help you manage any test anxiety you have while studying or on exam day. We set you up to walk into your AGPCNP certification exam prepared and confident!

While the AGPCNP certification journey can feel daunting, you’re not alone! At SMNP Reviews, we value the importance of a supportive community. Our Facebook support group is a wonderful place to start and includes thousands of NP students in your shoes.

6. What if I fail my exam?

While the two exams are similar in format, the AANP and ANCC are totally independent organizations. So if you fail one exam, don’t fret, because you can immediately sign up for the other one! 

While there’s no formal waiting period to take the other AGPCNP certification exam, we suggest figuring out what happened the first time before taking another exam. You can also take both exams a number of times, so don’t freak out if you fail it the first time. 

Once you pass either exam, you’re all set! And don’t worry about that first try. It’ll have no impact on your stellar future career as an NP.

7. How do I prepare for my second attempt?

Our Real Deal NP 1-Day Prep course is a perfect fit for many students who need a retake. This is an intensive, one-day live review session designed to help students who’ve been studying and need to identify areas for improvement prior to taking or retaking a certification exam. 

We also offer 1:1 readiness sessions, in which a student meets with an NP success team member and is quizzed on key exam topics to see if they’re ready for the exam. 

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got some stress over your AGPCNP certification exam, SMNP Reviews is here for you. Keep this post in mind when you’re getting ready and use the information here to make sure you’re set for exam day. You’ve come this far, and we know you can do it! If you need help with studying or getting rid of any stress/anxiety you’re experiencing, please reach out to us.

Good luck, and we can’t wait to see you in action as an AGPCNP!