Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) Test Review

The Oncology Certified Nursing exam (OCN® ) is offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC® ) and is given to registered nurses to test their knowledge and understanding of oncology nursing. Having this certification proves that you can successfully provide care to cancer patients.

Why do I need a nursing certification?

Having a nursing certification is important because it is a way to validate a nurse’s qualifications. Being certified is also important because it proves to the public that you have met the knowledge requirements for your credential.

Who is eligible?

At the time of application and examination:

  • The applicant must have a current and active license as a registered nurse in either the US, its territories, or Canada.
  • Have a minimum of two years as a registered nurse within four years prior to applying.
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of practice in adult oncology nursing within four years of applying.
    • This practice may be in either nursing administration, education, clinical practice, consultation, or research.
  • The applicant must have completed at least 10 contact hours of continuing nursing education in oncology nursing.
    • These contact hours will have needed to be completed within three years prior to the application.
    • Contact hours must be approved by an accredited provider.

How much does the OCN exam cost?

OCN Study Guide and Flashcards

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For ONS/APHON members, the fee is $300. For nonmembers, the fee is $420.

How is the exam formatted?

The exam consists of 165 multiple-choice questions. Some of the exam questions will count toward your score while others are pre-test questions that will not count. You will not know which questions will and will not count. The OCN exam is three hours long with a 15-minute computer tutorial. Keep in mind that there are no scheduled breaks during the exam.

How do I register for the OCN Exam?

In order to register for the exam, you will need to do so online at www.oncc.org. Before applying, be sure to gather all necessary documents which include your nursing license, and your CE documentation. You will also need to pay the required fees when registering.

You may apply for the exam year-round. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from ONCC letting you know that your application has been received. It is important to note that your application being accepted does not automatically mean that you are eligible to take the OCN exam. After 4 weeks, if you have not received your confirmation email, contact ONCC.

If you are eligible to take the exam, ONCC will send you a follow-up Authorization to Test (ATT) email which provides you with instructions on how to schedule your test appointment. It is also valid for 90-days, meaning you have until the end of that 90-day period to schedule your exam. Once it expires, you will not be able to schedule a test appointment date and you will not be able to get a refund of your money. If you don’t think that you’ve received the ATT email, be sure to check your junk folder. The email subject line will say, “ONCC Authorization to Test.”

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Where will I be taking the exam?

You will take the exam at a Prometric testing center. After scheduling your exam date, Prometric will send you a confirmation email. This email will contain your confirmation number as well as some other important information, so it is important that you keep up with it.

What if I need to cancel or reschedule my exam?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your exam, you may do so by going online at www.prometric.com or by phone 800-805-9116. You must cancel or reschedule at least two days before your scheduled exam. If you cancel or reschedule 15 or more days before your scheduled exam, you will not be charged a fee. If you cancel or reschedule 2 to 14 days before your scheduled exam, you will be charged a $35 fee, and if you cancel or reschedule less than 2 days before your scheduled exam, you will forfeit all fees.

How can I transfer my OCN exam date?

If you need to transfer your exam to a different date, you are allowed to do so only once for a $100 transfer fee. However, this must be done before your ATT expires and the exam date must fall within the next 12-months. You must submit an online Transfer Request Form on the ONCC website.

Am I allowed to request a refund if I cancel my exam?

Yes. You may request a refund for all but the $100 processing fee. In order to request a refund, you will have to go online to the ONCC website. All requests for refunds must be made before your ATT expires. You will also need to cancel your test appointment at least two days before the scheduled date of the exam.

What will exam day be like?

On the day of your exam, be sure to arrive at least thirty minutes before your scheduled exam. If you arrive late for your exam, you will not be allowed inside the testing center, and you will not be refunded your money. When you arrive at the testing location, you will need to have with you two forms of identification. One needs to be a photo ID, but both need to be current, valid, and have your signature. The name on your identification will need to match the name on your ATT.

Items including, but not limited to food, drinks, electronics, bags, and written material will not be allowed into the testing room with you.

What will the OCN exam test me on?

The exam’s content includes the following:

  • Care Continuum –
    • This section makes up 19% of the exam and focuses on health promotion; disease prevention; early detection; navigation; advance care planning; epidemiology; survivorship; treatment considerations; and end-of-life care.
  • Oncology Nursing Practice –
    • Oncology Nursing Practice makes up 17% of the exam and focuses on scientific basis; site-specific cancer considerations; scope, standards and related issues; and standards of professional performance.
  • Treatment Modalities –
    • For this section of the exam you will be tested on surgery; blood and marrow transplant; different kinds of therapy, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biotherapy, and immunotherapy; vascular access devices for treatment administration; and targeted therapy. This section covers 19% of the exam.
  • Symptom Management and Palliative Care –
    • This section of the exam covers 23% and focuses on etiology and patterns of symptoms; anatomical and surgical altercations; pharmacological interventions; complementary and integrative modalities; palliative care considerations; and alterations in functioning.
  • Oncologic Emergencies –
    • Oncologic emergencies account for 12% of the exam and tests an individual’s knowledge in topics including, but not limited to anaphylaxis; tumor lysis syndrome; sepsis; obstructions; and cardiac tamponade.
  • Psychosocial Dimensions of care –
    • The final section makes up 10 % of the exam and tests an individual’s knowledge in topics including, but not limited to financial concerns; coping mechanisms and skills; altered body image; and psychosocial considerations, including loss and grief, depression, and anxiety.

When will I receive my test results?

You will receive your test results on the computer screen immediately upon completion. You will also be sent an email with a more in-depth evaluation of your scores and how you did in each section.

What score do I need to get on the exam in order to pass?

In order to pass the OCN exam, you will need to get a scaled score of at least a 55.

How often do I need to renew my certification?

You must renew your certification every four years. You may renew your certification online on the ONCC website. Certification renewal consists of practice hours, professional development activities, and successful retesting. Renewal options include a combination of the three components.

I failed my exam. Am I able to retake it?

Yes. There is no limit to how many times you can retake the OCN exam. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you fail the exam three or more times, you must wait a minimum of one year before retaking it. You must also submit a new application and test fee.

I really want to pass my exam the first time around. Any tips for how I can study?

Yes! The OCN exam is a complicated exam to pass but with the right study resource, passing on your first attempt is more than possible. Mometrix Test Preparation is the perfect study resource for those that want to pass their exam on their first attempt with a score they’re proud of. Our detailed study guide, online prep course, and flashcards are easy to understand and provides you with all the information and content you will be tested on when you take the actual exam. If you want to score high on the OCN exam, then you want to go with Mometrix Test Preparation.

OCN Study Guide

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Oncology Certified Nurse FAQ


What is the OCN certification?


The OCN certification test is a 165-question test used to validate a nurse’s qualification and specific areas of knowledge.


How much does it cost to take the Oncology Certified Nurse exam?


The testing fees for the Oncology Certified Nurse exam vary based on ONS/APHON member status and age.


How do you become Oncology Certified Nurse certified?


To become Oncology Certified Nurse certified, you must apply for certification, pass the certification test, as well as maintain and renew your certification once obtained.


Is the OCN exam all multiple choice?


Yes, the OCN exam contains 165 multiple-choice questions.


How long do you have to take the OCN?


Test-takers are given 3 hours to take the OCN exam.


How do you sign up for the OCN exam?


You can sign up to take the OCN by visiting the ONCC website.


What is the pass rate for the OCN?


It is estimated that between 70% and 80% of candidates pass the OCN exam each year.


What is a passing score for the CNOR exam?


The CNOR exam requires a scaled score of 620 to pass.

ONCC® is a registered trademark, and OCN® is a registered certification mark, of Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation does not endorse, authorize, sponsor, or approve any of the materials offered on this webpage, and has no affiliation with Mometrix.