Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Exam Review

The Psychiatric-Mental Nurse Practitioner Board Certified (PMHNP-BC) exam is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It is a competency-based exam given to entry-level psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners provide direct mental care services to patients. Passing the PMHNP-BC exam shows that entry-level psychiatric and mental health nurses have what it takes to succeed in their career field.

How can I apply for the exam?

You may apply for the PMHNP-BC exam online at the American Nurses Credentialing Center website. You will be given step by step instructions from there. Applying can be done year-round and the exam must be taken during a 90-day window.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligibility requirements include the following:

  • A candidate must hold a current and active RN license. The RN license must be in a state or territory of the U.S. If an individual does not hold an RN license, they are required to hold the professional and legalized equivalent.
  • A candidate must have either a master’s, postgraduate, or doctoral degree from a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program. The program must be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
    • A candidate must also have a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours in their nurse practitioner program.

How much does it cost to take the exam?

The price for the PMHNP-BC exam is as follows:

  • Non-members – $395
  • Members of the American Nurses Association – $295
  • Members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners – $340
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners student member – $290
  • Members of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association – $282
  • Members of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses – $340

Keep in mind that these prices include a $140 administrative fee. This fee is non-refundable.

Where will I take the exam?

The exam is given at Prometric testing centers. There are hundreds of these testing centers across the country. You can go online to find a testing center closest to you.

How long is the exam?

The PMHNP-BC exam is made up of 200 questions. 175 of these questions are scored while 25 are pretest questions and are unscored. You will have 4 hours to complete the exam.

What will I be tested on?

The PMHNP-BC exam tests you on three different domains:

  • Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing – this section includes 51questions and will test your knowledge in advanced pathology, neurobiology, and neuroanatomy; advanced pharmacology and psychopharmacology; advanced health assessment; epidemiology/risk analysist; patient-centered care; and psychotherapy.
  • Professional Role and Policy – this section includes 70 questions and will test your knowledge of leadership; quality improvement and safety; practice inquiry; health policy and advocacy; technology and information literacy; health delivery system; ethics, legalities, and scope of standards;
  • Independent Practice Competencies – this section of the exam consists of 54 questions and will test your knowledge of health promotion and disease prevention; advanced psychiatric and mental health assessment; and disorder and symptom treatment/management.

What will the day of the exam be like?

On the day of the exam, you should arrive at least fifteen minutes early. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed into the testing center and will need to reschedule. You will need to have with you current photo identification. If you don’t have valid identification on you, you will not be allowed to take the exam. Personal items such as cellphones, bags, food, and drinks are not permitted inside the testing room with you. Check with the exam site ahead of time to see if lockers will be provided.

How long does it take to get test results?

You will receive your test results immediately upon completion of the exam.

PMHN Certification Exam Prep

PMHN Certification Exam Prep

How is the exam scored?

The exam is scored with a maximum possible score of 500. In order to pass the exam, you need to get at least a 350.

I took the exam and failed. Now what?

If you took the exam and failed it, you may retake it after 60 days. Keep in mind that you will have to pay all necessary fees again. There is a limit of three retake attempts in a 12-month period.

Can I reschedule my exam after I made an exam appointment?

If you need to reschedule your exam, you may request to take the exam in a new testing window. However, you are only allowed to do this once and will need to pay a fee of $100.

What if I need to cancel my exam?

If you need to reschedule your exam appointment you can do so within your testing window. Remember that you will not be refunded the $140 administrative fee you paid.

What if I am a person with a disability? Will I be accommodated?

Yes. The ANCC makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities as long as those disabilities are defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have a disability defined in the ADA, then it is your responsibility to report it to the ANCC. You must send documentation from your physician or another healthcare professional.

How can I study for the PMHNP-BC exam?

It is recommended that you set aside six months of study time before taking the exam. In order to score high the first time you take your exam, you will need a study resource that contains only the information that is more than likely to show up on the actual exam. This is where Mometrix Test Preparation comes in. Mometrix has a selection of over 1,500 standardized exam study materials, all developed with in-depth research into what students will most likely be tested on.  We created both a study guide and flashcards that are packed with information and sample questions that will help familiarize you with the PMHNP-BC content. If you want to pass your exam with a score you’re proud of, then you want to go with Mometrix.