CCRN test dates

CCRN Test Dates: How To Choose the Best Day To Take Your Exam

Selecting the right test date can make a significant impact on your overall performance..

So, you have decided to get your CCRN certification – Congratulations! You are already well on your way to advancing your career, becoming a leader in your organization, and improving your patient outcomes. Before you can add to the alphabet soup next to your name, you have to make a few key decisions. Specifically, you need to identify how you want to prepare for the exam and when you want to take it. These are two important factors because you can only get your CCRN certification by passing the exam. Before selecting your CCRN test dates, you will want to make sure you have addressed these questions. Indeed, thinking, “I wish I had more time to prepare,” is not something you want running in your head as you walk into your testing center

First Things First: What do I Need To Accomplish Before Test Day?

Before you can choose your CCRN test dates and sit for your CCRN certification exam, you need to complete a few things.

CCRN test dates

Firstly, you need to verify that you meet all of the eligibility requirements to sit for the exam. To complete your application, you need to meet a minimum number of hours (or years) in the direct care of critically ill patients. Here is a brief rundown of how you can meet your hourly requirements:

  • Two-year option: Practice as an RN or APRN for at least 1,750 hours caring for acutely ill/critically ill patients in the past two years. Of those hours, 875 must have been completed in the most recent year before your application.
  • Five-year option: Practice as an RN or APRN for at least 5 years with a minimum of 2,000 hours spent in the direct care of the acutely ill/critically ill patient. Of those hours, 144 must be completed in the most recent year before your application.

Keep in mind, you will need to make sure you complete your hours in a U.S. or Canadian-based facility, or one that meets standards laid out by Magnet and the Joint Commission. Additionally, you will want to ensure your hours are spent in the care of the patient population you intend to certify for, such as neonates, pediatrics, or adults. 

Once you can meet your CCRN eligibility requirements, you will want to fill out your CCRN application, choose the right CCRN test dates, and pay your exam fees. Check-in with your supervisor to see if your organization will reimburse you for some of your exam fees. Many employers offer reimbursement because you getting your CCRN has incredible benefits for your organization. 

When the AACN testing committee approves your application, you will then have the opportunity to select your test center location and date. While this may seem like the easy part, you will want to spend some time planning before you make your selection.

What to consider when choosing your test date

How much time do you need to prepare? Everyone studies differently. Some people need a few months to feel adequately prepared, whereas others study better by crunching their studying into a few weeks. Think about how you best study: do you prefer to do 1 hour a day, or are you a person who likes to spend several hours a day studying? If you prefer to have a month or two to prepare, make sure to choose the right CCRN Test Dates, not to sign up for the first available test date in two weeks.

CCRN test dates


Consider taking a practice exam before you select your date It can be hard to see where you are in your preparation process without first testing yourself. No matter how many years of experience you have in critical care, you will want to get a baseline of how you will perform before selecting your test date. The AACN writes up-to-date, evidence-based exams. Thus, many nurses need to allocate enough time to certify they have the most up-to-date information on best nursing practices.

CCRN test dates

Are you planning to do a review course? If you intend to do a review course, you will want to make sure you set aside enough time to complete the course. Many CCRN online review courses are self-paced, but there is a tremendous amount of information you will need to digest. Similarly, if you prefer to do an in-person CCRN review course, you will need to make sure your review course dates fall before your testing date. Ideally, you will want to leave enough time after completing the review course to brush up on topics you still struggle with and to continue taking more practice questions.

CCRN test dates

Plan around big life and work events Make sure to consult your calendar so that your CCRN test date and study time do not fall in a window where you will be particularly busy or have other important obligations. Also, consider holidays, significant changes at work, family needs, and even busy work times.

CCRN test dates



Don’t forget to think about the weather, traffic, and location Testing centers are often located in larger cities, which can mean you will need to think about how you will get to the test and whether or not you will deal with traffic. If you are concerned about a stressful commute to your CCRN exam, you may want to consider staying overnight in a hotel nearby or allocating additional travel time so that you arrive with time to spare and relax.

CCRN test dates



Strategize exam retakes No one wants to think about not passing the first time, but the AACN does allow you to take the exam 4 times in a 12-month period. If you are retaking the exam, you will want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to study while leaving enough time for an additional exam retake (or two)

CCRN test dates

At Critical Care Academy, we are so confident in our CCRN review course that we know you will pass the first time. That is why, if taken within 90 days of course enrollment, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you do not pass on your first attempt. We know that preparing for the exam can be stressful and time-consuming. With mobile-friendly video modules that break down CCRN content in easily digestible pieces, our course is designed with busy nurses in mind. 

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Select your test date, and get studying!