AANP vs. ANCC: What’s Tested on the FNP Exams?

To become a certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), you must first earn an FNP credential from the ANCC or AANP by passing their respective FNP certification exam. Deciding which of the two FNP exams is an important step to take before you begin your FNP test prep as the two exams are different. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about the ANCC and AANP FNP exams so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

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What are the AANP and ANCC FNP Exams?

Both the AANP and ANCC have exams that certify you to practice as an FNP. Below is a brief overview of each.


The ANCC, or the American Nurses Credentialing Center, is a certification body for nursing board certification. The ANCC FNP-BC exam assesses entry-level clinical knowledge and skills necessary to function as an FNP. If you pass the ANCC FNP certification exam, you will earn the FNP-BC™ credential. This certification typically appeals to nurses who want to pursue a career in academia.


The AANP, also called the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board or “AANPCB,” is an independent, nonprofit certifying body. The AANP FNP-C exam is an entry-level competency-based test that assesses clinical knowledge in families and individuals across life spans. If you pass the AANP FNP exam, you will earn the FNP-C credential. This certification typically appeals to nurses who want to practice as clinicians. 

What’s the difference between the AANP and ANCC Exams?

There are many differences between the AANP and ANCC exams so you should consider your career goals when deciding which exam to take and what type of credential you want to receive. In the following table, we highlight some of the critical differences between the two FNP certification exams:

Test ContentClinical content
Professional practice
Clinical content
In-office minor procedures
BlueprintANCC BlueprintAANP Blueprint
Time3.5 hours3 hours
Number of Questions175 (150 + 25 pretest)150 (135 +15 pretest)
Question FormatSingle answer multiple choice
Multiple response multiple choice
Drag and drop
Hot spot
Single answer multiple choice

FNP Exam Pass Rates

The two FNP exams have different pass rates. Here are the FNP exam pass rates for 2022 (the most current year the data was available):

  • ANCC FNP Exam
    • Pass rate: 85.9%
    • Tested:  8,192 (total) / Passed: 7,040 
  • AANP FNP Exam 
    • Pass rate: 74%
    • Tested: 17,968 (total) /Passed 13,296

FNP Certified (FNP-C) vs. FNP Board Certified (FNP-BC™)

At this point, you may be wondering: what is the difference between being FNP certified (FNP-C) and FNP board certified (FNP-BC)? Both certifications are well-respected by employers and qualify you to provide clinical care to patients as an FNP. One type of FNP certification is not “better” than the other. Both types of FNP certifications are valid for five years and have many certification requirements in common. However, the FNP-BC is typically considered a more extensive exam since it is not limited to multiple-choice questions. Due to the different question types, this exam can also be more challenging for some test-takers.

What’s tested on the FNP Exams?

One of the biggest differences between the AANP and ANCC exams is that the ANCC focuses on professional practice while the AANP emphasizes clinical skills. However, both exams certify you to work as an FNP. Below, we break down the FNP exam outlines and blueprints so you know what to expect on test day.


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AANP FNP Exam Outline & Blueprint

There is a new test blueprint for the AANP FNP exam as of January 2, 2024. There are 150 single answer multiple choice questions on the AANP FNP exam, but 15 are pretest (unscored) questions.

The AANP FNP exam assesses your ability in four FNP knowledge areas:

  1. Health assessment
  2. Pathophysiology
  3. Therapeutics
  4. Evidence-Informed Practice

Here is the AANP exam blueprint by domain type:

DomainNumber of ItemsPercentage of Items

And here is the AANP exam blueprint by patient age:

Patient AgeNumber of ItemsPercentage of Items
Young Adult*3022%
Middle Child*3526%
Older Adult4030%

*Includes Prenatal

ANCC FNP Exam Outline & Blueprint

There are 175 questions on the ANCC FNP exam, but 25 are pretest (unscored) questions. The ANCC FNP exam has a variety of question types, including: single answer multiple choice, multiple response multiple choice, drag and drop, and hot spot. See the complete ANCC FNP test outline here.

Here is the ANCC exam blueprint by domain type:

DomainNumber of ItemsPercentage of Items

*Total does not come to 100 because of rounding

Studying for the AANP and ANCC FNP Exams

Once you’ve decided which FNP certification exam you are planning to take, you can get started on your FNP test prep. Here are some of our best tips on how to study for the FNP exams:

FNP Exam Pop Quizzes

Find out how you would do on the AANP and ANCC FNP exams by answering a few practice questions in our short quizzes!