How Difficult is the CHPN Exam?

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Have you signed up for the CHPN exam, and are you unsure what to expect? Are you awaiting CHPN exam registration until you find out more about the exam? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, we have the answers that you are seeking.

The Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse Exam, or the CHPN, is used to test a nurse’s knowledge of end-of-life care. Nurses take it at all levels for several reasons: to prove their vast knowledge and expertise in the field.

If you need information on the difficulty of the exam or general tips on how to pass, all you have to do is keep reading to find out more.

What to Expect on the CHPN Exam?What to Expect on the CHPN Exam?

The CHPN exam is not designed to be easy. It is meant to test the expertise of nurses and ensure that they are knowledgeable in this area of care. The exam covers many topics, and scenarios nurses will likely encounter while administering palliative care. There are several different topics on the CHPN exam.

The topics on the exam range; however, they are all things that a hospice nurse should know. The exam is broken down into five sections. These sections include:

  • Patient Care
    • Pain Management – This section takes a deep dive into pain, the different types of pain, and even critical indicators of pain (verbal and nonverbal).
    • Assessment & Planning – This section will cover things like who should be handling certain decisions, disease progression, and even signs of death that individuals can look for to determine their family or friend’s timeline. It also covers alternative therapies, non-pharmacy-related interventions, and a discussion of symptoms.
    • Symptom Management – This includes several different types, including neurological, respiratory, skin, and things like psychosocial management.
  • Support, Education, and Advocacy
    • This section involves care planning and self-care activities for families. It also covers support after death, grief therapy, communication, patient safety, and more. It even covers ethical issues as they pertain to the end of life.
  • Practice Issues
    • This section covers legal information pertaining to end-of-life care. This includes regulations like OSHA and HIPAA, professional boundaries, and even government legislation.

How Many Questions Are on the CHPN Exam?

How Many Questions Are on the CHPN Exam?

Now that you are aware of the information on the exam, it is crucial to understand how many questions in each section you can expect. It is essential to know that all of the questions are copywritten, and you are not allowed to copy or reproduce actual test questions in any way. When taking the exam, students are allowed to have one pencil and one sheet of paper. To ensure that you are not cheating, all students will need to not only dispose of this sheet but tear it to pieces in front of the proctor. As you are taking the exam, students are not allowed to ask questions about any of the questions they read on the exam.

Before you are given the exam, all students are given the option to take a practice exam. This exam will prepare them for what is to come regarding the exam format. This portion of the exam is not scored, and this time is not counted towards your test-taking time.

Since all exams are taken via computer, the amount of time you spend taking the exam is automatically timed. Your exam will automatically end when the time limit is exceeded, no matter where you are on the exam. However, this will be no surprise. Students can watch the time move as the exam continues; however, it can be turned off for students who may get test-taking anxiety.

With the CHPN exam, the questions do not get increasingly more complex as you answer them correctly or incorrectly. Students have the authority to change their answers as long as there is time left on the exam. Test takers are not required to answer a question before moving to the next one.

Do not be afraid to guess if you are unsure of the answers. If you are unsure about a solution, save the question for later with no penalty. However, do not forget to go back to it. This can be done by bookmarking.

There are no consequences for guessing.

Each section outlined above has a different number of questions to represent it. In total, there are 135 questions on the exam. The breakdown of questions by area is as follows:

  • Practice Issues – 28 Questions
  • Support Education & Advocacy – 28 Questions
  • Patient Care
    • Pain Management – 26 Questions
    • Symptom Management – 28 Questions
    • Assessment & Planning – 25 Questions

What Percentage Do You Need to Pass the CHPN Exam?

What Percentage Do You Need to Pass the CHPN Exam?

Once you have completed the exam, your next steps may differ depending on where you are taking the exam. If taking the test in a testing center, you will need to see our proctor upon completion of the exam. They will be able to provide you with a copy of your sheet. If you are an LRP candidate, you will receive your scores via electronic mail. This is the official way in which scores are received.

Regardless of how you receive your scores, your report will show a plain text indicator of a pass or fail.

In addition, you will have a numerical breakdown of your score. This will include raw scores and scaled scores. The raw score is simply the number of questions that you answered correctly. Each different score has a different meaning. Your scaled score must be derived statistically.

To be able to consider yourself one of the lucky ones who pass the exam, there is a minimum passing score you will need to reach. However, the passing score is determined through a process that the test administration calls “equating”. This has to be done because as questions are swapped on the exam, and other questions are added, the level of difficulty for the exam may change. Imagine there are two exams, exam A and exam B. Exam B is more challenging than exam A. However, two individuals may each take different exams and receive the same score. Due to one exam being easier, equating is performed to ensure that all scores given are fair.

All students must reach or exceed a scaled score of 75. In the instance mentioned above, the passing scores may be adjusted on the more difficult exam to ensure that the same level of competency is gauged from both individuals.

Though passing the exam is based on total scoring, score reports provide some context on how many questions were answered correctly by content area. This section of the score report is used more to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses. If you do not pass the exam, use this section to determine what you should study before retaking the exam.

Is the CHPN Exam Hard?

Is the CHPN Exam Hard?

The difficulty of the exam is a relative question as it may depend on your level of expertise or the years you have spent within the hospice field. However, several nurses have mentioned how difficult the exams are. Some even advise you not to take the exam if you have not had several years’ experience within the field.

Many nurses found that after taking the exam, they did not have an accurate gauge of how they did on the exam and were not confident in either direction. Some even said that their test results were a shock for them.

Within the most recent testing data, 1379 students took the exam. Of those individuals, only 952 passed. There was a 42% CHPN pass rate for individuals repeating the exam.

If you are afraid to take the exam, don’t be. Please don’t allow a low pass rate to scare you; it should instead prompt you for action. Making sure you have a CHPN study guide or have taken a CHPN practice test are just two things you can do to make sure you are prepared to pass. Use the tips in the next section to get you started and on the road to success.

How Do I Pass the CHPN Exam? 5 Tips

How Do I Pass the CHPN Exam? 5 Tips

As mentioned above, there are several things you can do to pass the CHPN exam. These tips are just a tiny subset to help you get started in your exam prep.

CHPN Exam Registration

Registration is just one portion of your journey to taking the CHPN exam. You must know the information surrounding your test dates and application deadline. Different exam testing windows will have other Application deadlines that you must be mindful of. Paper Application dates generally end one month before online applications to allow for mail processing. Be mindful that when registering the application for the current open registration window, you will not be given the option to select your dates.

Create a CHPN Study Guide

This is one thing that should not be ignored. Creating a study guide and a corresponding test schedule can make or break your testing experience. This study guide allows you to outline all of the content that will be on the exam and ensure nothing is missed. You can also tailor your study guide to your areas of weakness.

Take a CHPN Practice Test

Taking a practice exam is a great way to gauge what you need to study. You should take at least one exam; however, taking multiple would likely be a more significant help.

Structure your studying period by starting with a practice exam; this gives you a baseline for where you currently are. Roughly halfway through your time to the actual exam, take another practice exam. This will let you know if you have done better in the areas you were falling short in before and let you know where to spend your energy for the final period.

Do not Allow Yourself to Burn Out

It can be easy to get roped into your exams so much that you become obsessed with them. However, taking breaks and giving yourself time to breathe is just as important. If you don’t, you risk walking into the exam mentally fatigued.

Practice as Much as Possible

Outside of taking practice exams, you should also familiarize yourself with the exam questions format. This can be done by practicing with as many exam questions as possible. These do not have to be formal practice exams but instead clusters of questions that might be found on the exam.

Wrapping Things Up: How Difficult is the CHPN Exam?

Regardless of where you are in your CHPN journey, this article has information that you can use if you are looking to take the CHPN exam. You can expect to see a lot of information on the exam; this includes content like Patient Care. Though this is a broad subject, it can be broken down into pain management, assessment planning, and symptom management. These are just three of the five critical areas you will need to know for the exam.

In addition to these knowledge areas, nurses must know practice issues and other things that may plague hospice care. With all of that in mind, the difficulty of the exam may vary. Due to the changes made as the exam continues to improve, scores are scaled. Though the passing score for the exam is 75, it is on an “equated” scale.

We hope this information was helpful and that you can successfully receive your CHPN.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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