Do Review Courses Actually Help You Prepare for the NP Certification Exam?

If your nurse practitioner program is wrapping up this spring or summer, you’re probably (at least you should be) starting to think about your study strategy for the NP certification exam. How much and for how long will you study? When can you fit study sessions in between work and classes? Will you purchase review books? Practice tests? Or, is attending an in-person review session in order?

I’ve written before that I found completing practice certification questions to be the most effective method of reviewing for my nurse practitioner certification exam. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily right for everyone (though it is an important component of study no matter which path you take). Attending an in-person NP certification review can be a costly and time consuming endeavor. So, the decision is worth careful consideration. 

Attend if…you need motivation to study 

You’ve been studying for the past several years. Now it’s time to kick off a whole new study endeavor – preparing for your certification exam. Not all soon-to-be NP grads relish the thought of this one last test and need a little boost to get going. Attending an in-person nurse practitioner certification review course can be the kick-in-the-behind you need to realize that you’re not 100% ready for the test and hitting the books is a must. 

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Attend if…you can’t figure out what’s on the test

Most study resources along with the NP association website you’re testing with break down what exactly you can expect the nurse practitioner certification exam to cover. If you still aren’t quite sure of the breakdown of questions and content after checking out these resources, a review session might help. NP students commonly say that review sessions are helpful for determining what you need to study at home, but aren’t so great for actually helping you internalize this content. You’re still going to need to do some legwork on your own but a live review session can serve as a guide. 

Skip it if…you’re a self-starter

You don’t have to take a certification review course. There are plenty of great practice books, websites and sample exams you can use on your own to prepare for the exam. Not to mention, you can save a substantial amount of time and money by being self-motivated. Even if you do take a review course, self-study is in order to internalize the exam content and fill in knowledge gaps so motivated grads don’t often find review courses to be as helpful as sitting alone at the library with a cup of coffee in an intense self-study session. (If you’re a self-starter, you may even be able to work as a NP before passing the certification exam)

Skip it if…you can figure out what’s on the test 

Review books are incredibly helpful in outlining the content of the NP certification exam, explaining the concepts of material and presenting practice questions based on this content so you may not find that a live course offers much of a supplement to these other resources. Again, the main complaint I hear about live review courses is that there’s still self-study to do once the live course is complete. So, if you’re an organized studier you may be best positioned to go solo when it comes to exam prep.

Pro Tip

If you think a live review session would be helpful but hesitate to cough up the cash to attend, try purchasing session recordings. Exam review companies often record the same or similar review sessions and sell them for much cheaper than the live product on their websites. 

Are you or have you attended a live NP certification exam review session? Did you find it beneficial?


You Might Also Like: 9 Hidden Costs of Nurse Practitioner School Graduation 


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