The exact steps that a prospective nurse should take to prepare for certification exams may depend on the specific test being taken, but, in general, nursing certification test takers should ensure they meet certification eligibility requirements, join a study group and take practice exams. Studying for the test as a means of reviewing relevant material is also important, but it may be necessary for prospective nurses to research the specific exam they are taking in order to identify study materials. For example, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) offers an exam handbook for its certification exam that includes a guide to the test structure and topics covered.
Official test materials, such as the exam handbook and test blueprint offered by the AACN, are helpful test prep tools for prospective nurses because they can help make for an efficient study process that is focused on what's actually on the test. These official documents also often contain information about testing fee due dates and registration deadlines that are an important part of test prep logistics.
In addition to official documentation, test takers may also want to take an in-person or online review course. The study process can also include a review class notes and textbooks related to the nursing area in which certification is desired.