4 Smart Ways to Prepare for Clinical Questions in CRNA School Interview

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You’re gaining valuable experience in your current critical care unit, and thought you had a solid understanding of clinically based questions at your CRNA school interview and looking forward to gaining acceptance into the program. But you were wrong, and I’ll tell you why. 

You are likely familiar with the relevant drugs or disease processes you see on a daily basis in your critical care unit, but do you really know them? Especially when you are in the hot seat sitting in front of the CRNA school admissions committee. 

While some CRNA programs never ask clinical questions during the interview, you must be ready for them in case. Also, some programs may give you a pre- written critical care test before the interview. In order to ace your CRNA school interview you must be ready for these types of questions. 

Read: How To Become A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

How to prepare for clinical questions 

So, the best way to be ready for any clinical questions thrown your way is to study as if you are gearing up to take the CCRN certification. But then my next thought is… if you’re already studying for it why not just sit for it, right? 

This is a great way to knock out two birds with one stone, as my mother would say. In addition to preparing you for any clinical questions at your CRNA school application, the CCRN also provides other benefits which will be valuable to you as a future CRNA. But before we get too far ahead what does obtaining your CCRN mean?

What is the CCRN certification?

The CCRN is a national certification that verifies a registered nurse’s clinical knowledge and ability to care for acutely and/or critically ill patients in adult, pediatric, and neonatal settings. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses grants this certification (AACN). 

As I mentioned earlier, there are definitely other benefits to passing your CCRN certification than just preparing you for the clinical questions you may get asked. Some of the benefits are: 

4 additional benefits of the CCRN certification 

  1. Improve patient outcomes with the use of evidence- based practice 
  2. Ongoing education prepares you to make more informed decisions  
  3. Validates your specialty knowledge and boosts confidence 
  4. Strengthen your CRNA School application 

4 Ways to prepare for clinical questions

My first two interviews I didn’t have a strategic plan when it came to interviewing. Actually, I had no plan at all. But I learned that in order to stand out from the other applicants a plan is a must. Therefore, it only makes sense to share with you some suggestions and tools I found that may assist you. 

1. AACN CCRN Exam Blueprint: 

The great thing about the CCRN Exam Blueprint provided by the AACN is included in a 42 page exam handbook, with all the information you need including practice questions, when you decide to take the exam. The test plan or blueprint is broken down by content area with an assigned percentage for the topic area. If you don’t have plans to sit for the CCRN exam at least review the CCRN Exam Blueprint. 

2. Practice Exam and Questions: 

Another great tool on the AACN website provides access to practice questions with rationales at your fingertips to gauge what you already understand or identify areas to study further. There are also hundreds of questions and unlimited practice exams for a paid subscription.  

Currently, they are offering 3 different subscription models. A free one- time trial with 7 day access which features 30 questions with rationales and exam scores. And 30- day access featuring 150 questions with rationales for $25 as a member/ $30 non-member. Premium subscription with 180- day access with over 300 questions with rationales for $65 member/ $75 non-member. 

3. Review Books: 

Nicole Kupchik’s book, Ace the CCRN: You can Do it! Practice Review Questions, has received highly positive ratings on Amazon. It is not, however, a comprehensive review book. It includes 450 practice questions as well as explanations for each one. It’s meant to be used in conjunction with the AACN critical care exam blueprint or another study guide. A completely updated 2020 study guide is also available. This is a book that the AACN recommends for use as a study guide for the CCRN exam.

With over 1000 practice questions, Pass CCRN, is a book which provides a comprehensive overview of the overall CCRN exam. There is a study mode as well as an exam mode. For a visual learner like myself, there are drawings, tables, and algorithms that are helpful. The outline type review based on the adult CCRN exam outline is a great bonus. This book goes into tremendous detail, and the practice problems are more technical and difficult than the actual test, so you have a better chance of passing it.

4. Review Courses:

The content within Critical Care Academy CCRN Review eCourse, is based on the most recent AACN’s CCRN® study guide. For $199, you’ll get six months of unrestricted access and up to 12 contact hours. It includes brief video lessons as well as handouts to help you retain what you’ve learned. The major difference I perceive between this review course and others is the assurance of a 100% PASS on the first try, which demonstrates their trust in their CCRN exam material. So there’s no reason not to give it a try. 


We can both agree, obtaining your CCRN certification will make you a more competitive CRNA school applicant. But there are so many other benefits as well. The most important is how much value you would bring as a nurse everyday by improving patient outcomes. But it also can get you ready for the clinical component of the CRNA School interview.

So change your thinking when it comes to the CCRN exam. Instead of dreading studying for it, stressing on whether you will pass it, just think of it as brushing up on your critical care knowledge and skills so you can become the next cohort of students nurse anesthetists.

P.S. Need a little help? For a complete guide that shows you exactly how to become a CRNA, grab a copy of the “Ultimate Guide to CRNA School Admission”. It’s FREE and will save you a ton of time and headaches since all the info you need is in one place.

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