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Top 5 CCRN Review Books

Higher Education Articles September 29, 2013

If you want to pass the notoriously difficult CCRN exam, you need to find the absolute best CCRN review book to help you succeed. Certification in critical care nursing is a big undertaking, but the exam itself doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Many have completed it before you, and many others have developed intensive study resources based on the exams to help you do the same. You can find a number of free study resources and general information about the exam on the American Association of Critical Care Nurses website, but don’t stop there. The following list contains five of the best CCRN review books available.

Pass CCRN!: One of the definitive CCRN review books, Pass CCRN! by Robin Dennison is an extraordinarily comprehensive study guide for prospective critical care nurses. For many, the accompanying CD for practice questions and rationales is the crown jewel of this guide, with the book (which is quite large for a study guide, about 1,000 pages) serving more as reference material. Together, they make a knockout combo.

AACN Series: The American Association of Critical Care Nurses is the premiere authority on all things related to CCRN, so it should come as no surprise that their study materials are among the absolute best. Their Certification and Core Review for High Acuity and Critical Care is a mainstay. Like Pass CCRN!, this guide comes with a CD of practice tests that are extremely helpful. The book is more manageable and honed at about 200 pages, making less of an extensive reference source and more of a usable study guide.

Critical Care Nursing Certification: This book and CD of preparation, review, and practice exams, written by Thomas Ahrens, Donna Prentice, Ruth Kleinpell, is regularly updated and highly regarded. It represents a middle ground between the two previous titles. This guide contains some useful and condensed study material on the CD (though perhaps fewer questions than Pass CCRN!), as well as a fairly bulky reference book (about 700 pages).

Critical Care Nursing Secrets: Another great CCRN study title, this book by Hildy M. Schell and Kathleen A. Puntillo is written in question and answer format, providing a uniquely concise and accessible guide. While no CD is included, this text translates surprisingly well to the Kindle reader, which is not always the case with textbooks.

Critical Care Examination Review Revised: This title by Joanne Noone and Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio (who is famous for her acclaimed CCRN prep videos) might be a little old, but it’s still well liked and relevant. Like the previous title, the question and answer format of this text makes for a highly efficient and usable book.

Don’t limit yourself to just one of these study guides. Most students will use a combination of guides along with video and Internet resources. The bottom line is that your education and experience up to this point will serve as the foundation for your exam success. Without that, no practice guide will save you. But, if you have that foundation, these guides can help you refresh yourself, polish your knowledge, and give you some insight into exactly what the test will be like, which is all incredibly helpful.

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