Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-AG) Exam assesses a registered nurse’s skill and knowledge in delivering compassionate, qualified nursing services to acutely ill adult-gerontology patients. The ACNP-AG certification is accepted in all states and territories in the U.S.


To sit for the ACNP-AG exam, the following criteria must be met:

  • Current, unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) or  Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensure
  • Completion of a graduate-level advanced practice education program meeting current accreditation guidelines including clinical hours and required courses

Candidates will be required to submit an eligibility form from their program director and original transcripts of graduate-level education indicating degree(s) conferred.

Test design

The certification examination is a three-and-a-half hour computer-delivered test and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Of the 175 questions, 150 are scored, and 25 are used to gather data for future versions of the exam. The test taker will not know which questions are not scored.

There are three content dimensions which are a part of the exam: patient care problems, skills and procedures, and validated competencies. In addition, integrated concepts are incorporated into the exam. The concepts come from the Advanced Practice Work Group, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and the National Panel for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Competencies.

The examination consists of two content areas:

  • Clinical judgment – 79% of the exam. This section tests the candidate’s judgment related to nursing care of the adult-gerontology population, including young adults, older adults, and frail elderly.
    • Cardiovascular
    • Pulmonary
    • Endocrine
    • Hematology/Immunology/Oncology
    • Gastrointestinal
    • Renal/Genitourinary
    • Integumentary
    • Musculoskeletal
    • Neurology
    • Psychological/Behavioral/Cognitive health
    • Psychosocial/Behavioral/Cognitive health
    • Factors influencing health status
    • Multisystem
  • Professional caring and ethical practice – 21% of the exam. This section is focused on the patient lifespan.
    • Advocacy/Moral Agency
    • Caring practices
    • Response to diversity
    • Facilitation of learning
    • Collaboration
    • Systems thinking
    • Clinical inquiry

In addition, the following items may be included on the exam to assess a candidate’s knowledge of skills and procedures:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Pulmonary
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Renal/Genitourinary
  • Integumentary
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral
  • Multisystem

Each multiple-choice question will have four possible answers, and only one correct answer. You will encounter situational, vocabulary and terminology, and formulary questions assessing your recognition, identification, application, and reasoning skills and abilities in a patient-centered nursing environment.

Registration, cost, and location

Before you can register to sit for the ACNPC-AG certification exam, you will apply online or by mail to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Your application will include your proof of eligibility and payment. AACN notifies each applicant of receipt of application and approval or disapproval to test. If you are disapproved, your registration fee will be returned to the original form of payment.

Once you receive notification of approval, you have a 90-day window to schedule and take the exam at one of the testing centers located nationwide. The registration fee for the ACNP-AG exam is $255.00 for members of AACN or $360.00 for non-members. There is a wide range of acceptable payment methods including credit/debit card and personal check.

Test Day

On the day of your exam, arrive early to allow for time to complete paperwork and have your identification verified. Personal belongings are not allowed in the testing center; leave all personal items at home. Test center staff will guide you to your testing station where you’ll be provided scratch paper and pencil. You will have three-and-a-half hours to complete the computer-delivered examination.

You have the opportunity to take a practice exam before you start the test. The time spent on the practice exam does not count against your allowed time. However, any breaks you take during the exam are counted against your allotted time.

If time remains after you have answered all the questions, review your answers. If any questions remain that you do not know the answer to, guess. There is no penalty for guessing. Your score is a total of the number of correct responses.

Exam scoring and results

At the conclusion of your exam, an official score report is provided. The report will indicate your pass or fail status and the percentage of correct answers for each content area. A more detailed report is provided to your educational program so they can evaluate the effectiveness of their program.

Within three to four weeks, successful candidates receive a wall certificate. The ACNPC-AG certification is valid for five years.

You are awarded one point for each correct answer. The pass/fail score varies with the difficulty of the exam and pre-determined values for each question. This means that a passing score this year may not be enough to pass next year. As of 1 January 2018, the minimum passing score is 100. The passing score is provided to you as a guideline. You will need to confirm the minimum required score with your nursing program.

A candidate may retest up to four times in one 12-month period. Retest fees are $200.00 for AACN members and $305.00 for non-members.

How Can I Prepare for the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 14, 2019