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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Questions frequently asked by applicants and NCSNs are listed below and are posted here for your convenience. Additional questions may be directed to certification@nbcsn.org.

Questions regarding the examination

Why does it take so long to find out if I passed my NCSN exam?
Because of the number of candidates who sit for the NBCSN exam, the testing company cannot "pre-equate" the test questions. This means the "cut score" (i.e., passing score) cannot be determined until all of the candidates have taken the exam throughout the entire testing window.

Questions that did not perform as expected are analyzed and a determination is made as to how a particular question will be handled in regard to scoring. All of those questions are reviewed by a group (usually 5) of subject matter experts (SMEs) during a formal "problem item notification" (PIN) meeting with a test development specialist from the testing company. SMEs are nationally certified school nurses who have passed the NCSN exam and who have volunteered for the opportunity. NBCSN works very hard to get a panel of school nurses who have diverse educational, clinical, and geographical backgrounds and who have practiced for a number of years and are certified.

Questions that come up during the PIN call might be handled in a number of ways.

  • A question may be discarded, either to be archived (no longer to be used) or to be rewritten to go back into the new question or a pretest category. In that case, the question would not be counted for or against a candidate. The situations where this might happen are:
    • a question for which candidates chose two choices almost equally as often;
    • a question for which high performers did poorly and low performers did well; and
    • a question for which very few chose the correct answer.
  • In some cases, the panel looks at question that has been chosen for review and determines that it is, in fact, appropriate and it will not be changed.

Once the fate of the questions being reviewed has been determined, the "cut score" (i.e., passing score) is set and score reports can then be produced and sent to candidates.

**The entire review and scoring process takes roughly 8 weeks and can only start after the close of the testing window.

It is actually in an exam candidate’s favor that questions are "post-equated" and that some questions are not counted against them.

If you are an NCSN and are interested in participating in a test development activity, please go to our website at http://www.nbcsn.org/nbcsn-volunteers to learn more about upcoming activities.

Will candidates be able to get immediate scoring in the future?
If there comes a time when the pool of candidates taking the exam at any given time is large enough that the questions can be pre-equated, NBCSN will look into providing immediate scoring.

Do I have to be working full time to be eligible to take the exam?
Please visit Examination Page of the website to access all of the current information about eligibility requirements to take the exam. 

I am interested in taking the examination to become an NCSN. Is there a class available to prepare for the exam?
There are no review classes or written preparation materials for the exam that are supported or approved by the NBCSN. Data provided by school nurses sitting for the NCSN exam indicate that small group study where school nurses informally join together to study and review the content outlined in the exam brochure is a successful mode of preparation.

Although not endorsed by NBCSN, many NASN affiliate organizations have study groups and review courses to assist school nurses prepare for the examination; some colleges offer online and graduate courses related to school nurse preparation and content; and the National Association of School Nurses publishes a manual, School Nursing Certification Review, available through its book store.

Questions regarding liaisons

Can you give me contact information for the NBCSN liaisons?
You can find your state liaison on the liaison page of this site.

I am interested in becoming a liaison, what is the next step?
We allow a maximum of two state liaisons per state. Please fill out an application to become a state liaison from the Forms & Applications page and return to the board office. The Vice President reviews your application. You are required to submit an annual report which can also be downloaded from the Forms & Applications page. For further information please visit the Liaison page.

Questions regarding recertification

What type of continuing education credits are acceptable for re-certification?
Please visit Recertification Page of the website to access all of the current information about acceptable continuing education credits. 

How do I contact someone if I have questions or concerns, or am having a problem with my application?

Follow the link to contact the National Board for Certification of School Nurses, Inc. with any questions, concerns, or problems.