The Neonatal Intensive Care examination is a core certification exam offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC). Neonatal nurses care for newborn infants in need of critical care. When you pass the exam, you are entitled to use the credential RNC-NIC (Registered Nurse Certified – Neonatal Intensive Care).
NIC Nurse Exam Eligibility
To sit for the NIC exam, you need to have a current, unrestricted Registered Nurse license, 24 months of experience, and 2000 hours of experience in Neonatal Intensive Care.
NIC Exam Registration and cost
After you determined your eligibility for the exam, you need to complete an application and pay the fee online at the National Certification Corporation (NCC) website. The cost for the NIC exam is $325.00 which includes a $50.00 non-refundable application fee. Payments are accepted by credit card or personal e-check (routing and account number required). Online registration is the only method accepted.
The approval process can take as long as four weeks, with most applications approved within two weeks. When approved, a notification is sent by email that your eligibility letter is in the mail. Once you receive your letter, you can register for the examination. You have 90 days to register.
NIC Exam Design
The Neonatal Intensive Care exam consists of 175 computer-delivered questions. Of the 175 questions, 150 are scored, and 25 are used to validate future testing formats. Each question is developed to test your knowledge and application of that knowledge. You have three hours to complete the exam.
There are five content areas within the Neonatal Intensive Care exam:
- General Assessment – 9%
Topics covered in this content area include maternal risk factors and birth history as well as physical and gestational age assessment.
- General Management – 44%
Topics covered in this content area include resuscitation and stabilization, fluids and electrolytes, nutrition and feeding, oxygenation and acid-base homeostasis, thermoregulation, pharmacology, neuroprotective and neurodevelopmental care, and infection and immunology.
- Assess & Manage Pathophysiologic States – 39%
The topics assessed in this area include cardiac, respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, hematopoietic, neurological/neuromuscular, metabolic/endocrine, genetic disorders, and head, eye, ear, nose, and throat.
- Psychosocial Support – 5%
Questions in this content area are minimal and focus on discharge management, family centered care, the grieving process, palliative care, and mental health.
- Professional issues – 3%
Your knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice, legal and ethical issues, patient safety, and quality improvement are assessed in this content area.
What You Must Know About the NIC Exam
NIC Delivery Method and Location
You can register online or by phone to the AMP Assessment Center of your choice. Testing facilities are located nationwide, and exams are scheduled Monday through Saturday. You have two testing times to choose from 9:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Register as soon as you can; appointments fill up quickly.
When you report to the testing facility at your appointment time, you need to provide two forms of government-issued identification and your eligibility letter. Leave your belongings at home or in your car as they are not allowed in the testing facility.
Anything you need for the exam is provided to you, including scratch paper and writing utensils. When you have finished your exam, and if time remains, review your answers. Unanswered questions are marked as wrong when scored so make an educated guess.
Scoring on the NIC
The passing score is based on the predetermined criterion established by the NCC. There is no set percentage to pass, and your ability level (pass or fail) is calculated by the number of questions with correct responses.
At the conclusion of your exam, a preliminary pass or fail report is generated. Your score is not official until you receive the official notification in the mail, generally 21 days after you complete the exam. Your official score report indicates your status (pass or fail) and contains feedback on the content areas in the form of a five-point scale – very weak, weak, average, strong, and very strong.
If you need to retake the exam, you must wait 90 days before reapplying. Each request to take the exam requires you to reapply and pay the fees. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam.
How Can I Prepare for the NIC Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!