Test Scoring

In order to earn a CCRN Certification, you will have to pass the CCRN Adult, Pediatric, or Neonatal exam. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses determines the minimum passing score for each exam. The AACN uses statistical analysis and the modified Angoff method to determine how to set passing scores. Currently, you must receive these minimum scores in order to pass the exam and earn certification:

  • CCRN Adult Passing Score: 89

  • CCRN Pediatric Passing Score: 88

  • CCRN Neonatal Passing Score: 88

The passing score is a raw score, not a percentage of correct answers. The raw score indicates the number of questions you answered correctly. Remember, not all of the 150 questions you will be asked count towards your overall score. Only 125 of the questions count. The rest of the questions are for statistical and experimental purposes. However, you never really know which question will count towards your score. Some test takers try to spend their time figuring out which questions count, but that is really a waste of their time. This is a timed test and you only have three hours to complete the exam.

Unlike some standardized tests, you are not penalized for incorrect answers. This means you can guess at an answer, if necessary. However, you should not spend too much time on a difficult question. If you take the computer version of the test, you will be able to bookmark questions you are unsure of. If you have time left, you can go back and work on those questions.

If you take the exam on the computer, you will know your scores before you leave the testing center. If you take the paper version of the exam, your scores will be mailed to the address you provided. Your test scores will only be sent to you. You must give your written consent for AACN to release your scores to an employer or business. You can order additional score reports if necessary.

You may have studied incredibly hard for the exam, but it was not enough. You were not able to pass the exam. Not everyone passes the exam on their first try. So, you will be given the opportunity to retake the test. There is a two week waiting period before you can reapply. You will be allowed to take the exam up to 4 times during a 12-month period.

Before you take the exam, check with AACN to make sure they have not made changes to their passing score requirements. Each CCRN exam is based on the results of practice studies. They perform these studies periodically to make sure they are testing the necessary knowledge needed for today’s critical care nurses. AACN may modify or update a CCRN exam. During this process, they may also decide to change the minimum passing score needed to earn a certification.


Last Updated: 05/21/2014

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