The Certified
Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) Exam is offered by the American Board of
Neuroscience Nursing (ABNN). By passing this particular exam and obtaining the
CNRN credential you are showing your patients, as well as those you work with,
that you are specialized in your abilities.

Who is eligible to take the exam?

In order to take the exam, a candidate:

  • Must have current, unrestricted licensure as a registered nurse in the Unites States, Canada, or any of the U.S. Territories.
  • Must have at least 1 year (2,080 hours) of full-time experience in either direct or in-direct neuroscience nursing practice. This experience must have taken place within the last 3-years.

How much does the exam cost?

Fees for the CNRN Exam are as follows:

  • Credit card payments:
    • AANN Members: $300
    • Non-Members: $400
  • Those paying by check:
    • AANN Members: $325
    • Non-Members: $425

What if I need a refund after I’ve applied?

If you have not scheduled your exam with the testing sight, you may receive a refund only if you contact the ABNN office 7 days before your exam eligibility end date. Keep in mind that you will receive your refund minus a $100 administrative fee.

How do I apply for the CNRN Exam?

You may apply for the CNRN Exam on the ABNN website at:

What is an application audit?

Each year the ABNN audits 5% of certification applicants. The selection is completed random.

Why would my application be audited?

Applications are audited for reasons such as employment verification. If you refuse to give requested documentation for an audit, your application will be denied, and you will forfeit all fees.

How is the CNRN exam given?

The CNRN Exam is computer-based and is given at computer-based PSI testing facilities. There are approximately 300 PSI testing facilities located within the U.S. and internationally. If you need to locate a testing facility head over to:

How long is the exam?

The exam is four hours and contains 220 multiple-choice questions. 20 of these questions are pretest questions and are not scored.

The exam is offered year-round by appointment only, and candidates are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

How do I schedule my exam?

You may schedule your exam on-line or by phone:

On-line: Head to the PSI website at: and hit “Candidates.”

Phone: PSI toll-free number at 888-519-9901. You may schedule from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (central time) Monday-Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Fridays, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

What if I have to reschedule my appointment time?

If you’ve already scheduled your appointment time and day, you may reschedule only once without being charged. However, you must do so at least two days before your scheduled exam.

What if I have to cancel my exam entirely?

If you have to cancel your exam, and you haven’t yet scheduled a test date and time, you must contact ABNN at:

If your request for cancellation is received prior to the exam eligibility end date, you will receive a refund minus a $100 administrative fee.

Can you describe what test day will be like?

On the day of your exam, you should arrive at least fifteen minutes early. If you are any later than fifteen minutes, you will not be permitted into the testing center. Candidates are also required to bring two forms of ID:

  • A current, government issued photo ID. A passport will also work.
  • Your second form of ID should display your name and signature, (e.g. credit card, student ID, etc.).

No personal items are allowed inside the testing room. It may be best to leave any other personal items in your car or at home, although some – if not all – testing centers may provide lockers.

How soon after taking the CNRN Exam will I receive my results?

You will receive your exam results immediately upon completion of the exam. If you have passed, then you can expect for your certificate to arrive by mail 4-6 weeks after taking the exam.

What if I failed the exam? Can I retake it?

Yes. If you failed the exam, you may retake it, but only after a 90-day waiting period. As a candidate, you are only able to reapply one time per 90-day period.

You are not permitted to take the exam more than 3 times in a 12-month period. If you need to take the exam more than once, you are required to submit a new application along with the full application fee.

What will I be tested on?

You will be tested on three different levels:

  • Knowledge
  • Interpretation
  • Problem Solving and Evaluation


  • Trauma (30 Questions)
  • Cerebrovascular (50 Questions)
  • Tumors (26 Questions)
  • Infection and Immune Complications (22 Questions)
  • Neurodevelopmental Conditions (10 Questions)
  • Neurological Disorders (62 Questions)

What is the passing score?

There is no definitive passing score, because each exam varies in its difficulty. The passing score is determined by neuroscience nursing experts, as well as professional Psychometricians from PSI.

How long is my certification good for?

Your certification is effective for 5-years. After that, you will need to renew it.

How Can I Prepare for the CNRN 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: November 9, 2023