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10 FAQs about ANCC's New PMHN Exam

Updated: May 6, 2020

Who’s eligible to take the exam?

You must have the following qualifications to sit for the exam:

--> Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country;

--> Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse

--> Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in psychiatric–mental health nursing within the last 3 years.

--> Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric–mental health nursing within the last 3 years.

When is it?

Once ANCC has reviewed your application and your credentials have been verified (which usually takes 3-4 weeks), you’ll receive an email that gives you a 90-day window in which you can sit for the exam. The timing of the exam is up to you.

How much does it cost?

There is a $395 registration fee for non-ANA and non-APNA members that you have to pay up front in order to register for the exam. There's a discount if you are a member of either of these organizations. But, BE SURE TO CHECK WITH YOUR EMPLOYER ABOUT POSSIBLY PAYING FOR THIS! If your employer is part of ANCC’s Success Pays Program, it may cost you nothing to take this exam! (And Success Pays offers a free re-take if you need it!)

Where are the exams given?

There are testing centers all over the US. For exact addresses, go to:

What are the advantages of being board certified?

It significantly increases your professionalism, making you a stronger candidate for hiring and promotions. Most report that it increases their sense of confidence on the job, which increases their sense of satisfaction and enjoyment in their work.

Will I earn more if I’m board certified?

With many employers, the answer is YES! Check with the HR Department about what kind of differential is offered to nurses who are PMH board certified.

What kind of exam is it?

--> As of October 24th, 2019, the PMHN exam now consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, given via computer;

--> Only 125 of those 150 will count towards your grade. The other 25 are being tested for validity and future use. You will not know which ones count and which do not. Just assume they all count;

--> There is only one answer to each question, with no combination answers such as “Both A and C,” etc.;

--> There are no True/False questions or fill in the blank questions;

--> You can skip a question and come back to it any time before you finish the exam.

How much time will I be given to complete the exam?

As of October 24th, 2019, you’ll have 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete the 150 questions. That translates to about 1 minute per question, with enough time left over to go back and check all your answers and make sure you’ve answered them all.

When would I get my results?

You get your results immediately. You’ll be provided a pass/fail report before you leave the facility.

How do I get ready for it?

There are several things you can do:

--> Get ahold of a copy of ANCC's recommended study guide by Kim Hutchinson

--> Watch my free PMHN Exam Prep videos on YouTube on topics such as Trauma Informed Care, Three Levels of Prevention, Personality Disorders, etc.

--> Form a study group with some of your colleagues and meet every couple of weeks to zero in on various topics.

--> Check out my brand new PMHN Exam Prep Workbook and PMHN Exam Prep Flashcards, both available at

--> If at any point you get stuck and just need a couple of questions answered, email me or set up an appointment with me for a free 15 min consult. If you're really stuck or feeling overwhelmed, you might find an hour of 1:1 tutoring to be of help. (You can always reach me at

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