CEN Exam: A Comprehensive Guide to Passing the Exam

By | February 13, 2024

CEN Exam The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam is an assessment of your knowledge in the area of emergency nursing. Find out what you need to pass the CEN exam, including study tips and practice exams.

The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam can be intimidating, especially for those who don’t have previous experience in the ED. Here’s a story of how one nurse passed the CEN exam and her thoughts on why

The CEN Exam

The CEN exam is designed to measure your knowledge in the area of emergency nursing. It’s a three hour computer adaptive test designed to provide a comprehensive picture of your knowledge.


The exam covers nursing science, nursing practice, and emergency nursing. The exam also features multiple choice questions, situational, and fluency testing.

Following the passing of the CEN exam, you’ll receive your CEN certification and a CEN pin. There is an option to retake the exam after passing, but you will have to complete a revised version to successfully complete the course.

Section 2: Study Tips for Passing the CEN Exam


Exam day is almost here, but there’s still time to prepare. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the CEN exam.

Pass the CEN Exam With These Study Tips

You’ve completed your Advanced Paramedic Nursing course, passed the state certification and now you’re finally ready to prepare for the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam.

While the CEN exam is a lot of information to cover, your emergency room experience and your time spent shadowing nurses will serve you well when you take the exam.

The Certified Emergency Nurse certification is awarded to individuals who have achieved a minimum of 60 credit hours in an approved program.

An ideal course of study for the CEN is a total of 100 credit hours. This is referred to as the “gold standard” of an Emergency Nursing program. The entry requirements for your school will determine which course of study you will follow, but the goal is to complete the course in no more than 2 years.

Pass the CEN Exam With Practice Exams

There are three ways to prepare for the CEN exam:

Practice, practice, practice. Practice with live simulations of the CEN exam.

Practice with live simulations of the CEN exam. Study for the test on your own. Use study guides, practice exams, and a complete curriculum to prepare for the CEN exam.

Use study guides, practice exams, and a complete curriculum to prepare for the CEN exam. Learn from someone who has taken the CEN exam. Your educator or reference will be able to answer any questions about the exam.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You may think that since you have already worked in an emergency department, you know all there is to know about emergencies. However, that isn’t necessarily true.

Pass the CEN Exam With a Study Group

I had been working with a group of my co-workers who had prior certifications, one of them had attended an EVACAC course and another had attended the ACCN nursing exams. The third was a recent graduate of the Emergency Nurse-Midwifery Program. We were a great study group, meeting once a week for several hours to review past exams, discuss the future and practice.

However, one of us was the first to decide to take the CEN exam, leaving us with the prospect of three of us passing and only one of us passing on our own. I felt alone and was overwhelmed by the amount of material that I had to study.

I wanted to give up. I didn’t know if I could pass this exam. My fears were especially heightened by two very specific scenarios. First, I was terrified of working under a physician.

Pass the CEN Exam with a Coach

One of my patients at a teaching hospital was in the ambulance in cardiac arrest. Fortunately, it was an out-of-service ambulance, so I had the driver pull over so we could set up a temporary stop on the road in front of the hospital.

At the time of this event, I was part of a graduate internship at a rural teaching hospital, and I had just finished a CEN trauma course. The patient was losing significant amounts of blood, and my plan was to take her out and perform an external defibrillator on her to stimulate her heart.

The patient’s husband was a nurse at the hospital, so he was there to help me out. He went on to tell me that his wife was a Licensed Practical Nurse and that she was also an emergency room nurse.

Pass the CEN Exam by Practicing Your Time Management Skills

Exam Topics

The objective of the CEN exam is to measure your skills in emergency nursing. The CEN exam covers several areas, including high-acuity, critical-incidence care, computerized pharmacology, ACLS, burns, pediatrics, obstetrics, adult-birthing, pediatric emergency care, and more.

An emphasis is placed on skills that are needed to successfully handle a critical-incident scenario. So don’t just study on these topics—you’ll need to be an expert on each of them.

Gauge Your Competency in the Exams

An important part of passing the CEN exam is to understand your competency level. While you will be tested on each of the general subjects, you can prepare yourself for specific areas, such as adult and pediatric care.


The CEN exam is a comprehensive exam to demonstrate your knowledge in the area of emergency nursing. The exam focuses on several different areas of emergency nursing. Each section covers a different topic such as infection control, trauma, cardiovascular care, etc. Your score on the CEN exam reflects how well you can understand, analyze, and apply the concepts you learn to practice the emergency nursing profession.

For those of you who haven’t taken the CEN exam before, it is a very comprehensive test and takes up several hours of your time. The CEN exam is based on the National Board Exams in Emergency Nursing. The Certified Emergency Nurse Exam Preparation Guide will help you prepare for the CEN exam.

About Dr. David Staar Dr.


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