Top 15 Questions about the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) Exam & Qbanks

March 1, 2021
Researching CEN certification exam details and the best study methods can be overwhelming. Rather than doing the time-intensive searching yourself, you’ll find the answers to common questions here. This post will help clarify what types of exam review options exist, which one(s) are right for you, and what you need to know to prepare for the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) exam. Is there a question you’d like to see here? Let us know and we’ll get the answer for you.

How do I become a Certified Emergency Nurse?

To be eligible for certification, you must have an active RN license, and it’s recommended (but not required) that you have 2 years of experience in emergency care.

What is the CEN exam?

It’s the certification exam for nurses who work in the emergency department and want a credential that demonstrates their knowledge and skills in emergency nursing.

What is a CEN Qbank?

A question bank (Qbank for short) is a database of multiple-choice questions that helps you prepare for your certification exam. These questions are in the same format as the ones you’ll see on the actual exam (for example, no “All of the following except…” no “Which of these is incorrect?”) and should cover the topics included on the exam. 

The point of a Qbank is to help you simultaneously practice for the exam and learn about each topic (so you can figure out your weak points). To help with this, the Rosh Review CEN Qbank includes detailed explanations with every question, including why the correct answer is correct—and just as importantly—why the incorrect answers are incorrect. These explanations also include related teaching images that distill the important information. And as a bonus, each Qbank question includes a One Step Further question: a short, fact-based question and answer related to the main topic. So every question in the Qbank is actually two questions to help further cement your understanding.

Should I use a Qbank for my CEN exam?

There are many ways to study for the exam, such as live courses, self-directed study, and Qbanks. You need to choose the option that’s best for you. We’re a Qbank company, so we (not surprisingly) think Qbanks are an excellent way to prepare for your test. The article How to Select the Best CEN Exam Review will help you answer these questions:

  1. Do I need to use a Qbank?
  2. What criteria should I use to make a decision? 
Which CEN study resources should I compare?

If you don’t have the time to read through the “How to Select a Qbank” article but know you’re interested in a Qbank or other resources, these are the companies we suggest trying. Compare them by signing up for a free trial and see which one is right for you:

  • BCEN materials
  • Boswell review course
  • ENA review course
  • Rosh Review
  • Solheim review course
How should I study for the CEN exam with a Qbank?

This detailed article about How to Increase Your CEN Exam Score includes our favorite study tips. Spoiler alert: you should target your “unknown unknowns.” Here’s how you do that:

  • Answer a question from a Qbank
  • If you answer incorrectly, read the explanation
  • Take notes about why the correct answer is correct, and make sure to take notes on anything in the explanation that you didn’t already know

If you do this for every question you answer incorrectly, and if you regularly review your notes and add information to topics as you do more questions, you’ll eventually determine your unknown unknowns. In return, you’ll uncover most of your blind spots that questions on the board exam can ask about. 

The “How to Boost Your Score” article also includes day-of tips like which grammatical mistakes to keep an eye out for to help you narrow down answer choices. Our goal is to help you succeed, so read as many of these tips as you can before exam day.

Where can I find free CEN practice questions?

You can access free practice questions with a free trial for the CEN Qbank. The free trial includes practice questions that align with the content outline and include comprehensive answer explanations and beautiful teaching images.

After practicing with these questions, if you decide you’re ready for hundreds of additional questions to help you confidently prep for your exam, you can easily upgrade to a full Qbank subscription.

How many questions are on the CEN exam?

It has 175 questions, which you have 3 hours to complete. 

Check the test content outline for content breakdowns.

How is the CEN exam scored?

Of the 175 questions, 150 are scored and 25 are not (called “pretest” questions). 

Pretest questions look just like the regular scored questions and are being vetted for their use as scored questions on future exams. You won’t be able to tell the difference between the pretest and scored questions, so just know that not all of the questions will affect your score.

What is a passing score on the CEN exam?

You must correctly answer 106 of the 150 scored questions to pass. Note that this can change.

When does my CEN certification expire?

Every 4 years.

How do I renew my CEN certification?

You have two options: 

  1. Recertification by CE attestation

You must show proof that you completed 100 contact hours of CE

  1. Recertification by exam

You must sit for the CEN exam within the 90-day testing window specified in your eligibility email 

The recertification fee is $350, and you can get a discounted rate if you are a member of ENA, ASTNA, or STN or are eligible military personnel. Read more about CEN recertification.

What if I fail my CEN exam?

Life happens. Between practicing medicine, studying for the boards, having a personal life, and dealing with a global pandemic, there is always the possibility that you might not pass the exam. We believe in you, which is why we extend your subscription until you pass. Even if you didn’t use Rosh Review before taking your exam and you didn’t pass, you get a complimentary subscription until you succeed. We’re here to stand with you throughout your career—not just sell you a product and move on.

How do I get a discount on Rosh Review?

If you’re part of a group purchase or program purchase, you can receive a discount based on the number of people in your group or program. Active military personnel and attendees of certain conferences can also get a discount.

Are Qbanks worth the money?

Depends on who you ask! Some people do better with live courses, while some swear they wouldn’t have passed their exam without a Qbank and that the cost was reasonable and well worth it. Your best bet is to try a free trial and determine what’s right for you. And if you choose Rosh Review, we’ll be with you every step of your career.

By Adam Rosh

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