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CEN Practice Test

Studying to become a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)? A CEN practice test is a great way to prepare for the exam.

The CEN exam is administered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). You will need to pass this exam if you wish to earn your CEN certification. Using free CEN practice questions is a great way to study!

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Official CEN Sample QuestionsBoard of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN)

CEN Exam Outline

The BCEN breaks up the exam into 10 domains. There are a total of 175 questions on the CEN exam. You will have 3 hours to take the exam.

Quick Facts:

  • Number of Questions: 175 Total. Only 150 are Scored.
  • Question Types: Multiple-Choice
  • Time Limit: 3 Hours

The 10 specific domains tested on the CEN exam are:

  1. Cardiovascular Emergencies (19 Scored Questions)
  2. Respiratory Emergencies (18 Scored Questions)
  3. Neurological Emergencies (18 Scored Questions)
  4. Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Gynecology, and Obstetrical (18 Scored Questions)
  5. Mental Health Emergencies (11 Scored Questions)
  6. Medical Emergencies (14 Scored Questions)
  7. Musculoskeletal and Wound Emergencies (13 Scored Questions)
  8. Maxillofacial and Ocular Emergencies (11 Scored Questions)
  9. Environment and Toxicology Emergencies, and Communicable Diseases (14 Scored Questions)
  10. Professional Issues (14 Scored Questions)

If you want to look more in depth on what each domain covers, here is the official BCEN outline.

An image showing an overview of the CEN exam

CEN Requirements

To be eligible for the CEN exam, you must hold a Registered Nurse (RN) license. Your RN license must be valid in the United States, a U.S. Territory, Canada, or Australia.

If you got your degree or license in another country, you may still be eligible. BCEN is partners with CGFNS International (an international credential evaluation service). CGFNS International will help authenticate your degree or license and see if you are eligible.

BCEN highly recommends that you have at least 2 years of experience in your specialty area, but this is not a hard requirement.

Registration & Fees for the CEN Exam

Registering for the exam can be confusing. Here are the quick facts:

  • Price: If you are an Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) member then it costs $230 dollars. If you are not a member then it costs $360 dollars.
  • Steps to Take:
    1. You must first hold a current Registered Nurse license or an equivalent certificate.
    2. You then must request an application from the BCEN. This is done through the official BCEN website.
    3. BCEN will then approve your application and send you a handbook and an authorization letter within 4 weeks of submitting your application.
    4. Once you have received your materials from the BCEN, you are eligible to schedule your exam. To schedule your exam, call the number that they provide in the handbook.
    5. Once receiving your letter you have 90 days to schedule your exam.

What to Expect on Test Day

You may take your exam either online or in-person. Here is what to expect for both options:

In-Person: Arrive 30 minutes before your exam and bring a government issued ID. They will then take a picture of you and you will accept the rules and regulations of the exam. They will then take you to a storage area where you will store items such as:

  • Phone
  • Bags (purse, handbag, etc)
  • Accessories (hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc)
  • Notes

If you bring any of these items into the exam you will be asked to leave and as a result and fail the exam.

Online: Taking the exam online is very similar. You must arrive at your Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) meeting 30 minutes before and present a government issued ID to your proctor. Your proctor will then ask you to scan your surroundings.

You may not have any objects that you would not be allowed to have in person. Once your proctor is satisfied with your surroundings you will take your exam.


There are a total of 175 questions on the CEN exam, but 25 of those questions are unscored. The unscored questions are sprinkled randomly across the exam and are not marked.

There will be a panel of BCEN members who will take into account the difficulty of each question. This panel will then determine a raw score needed to pass the exam.

You will need to score at least 106 out of 150 to pass the CEN exam.

Studying for the CEN Exam

Earning your CEN certification can be both rewarding and a big step in your professional career. You want to make sure you pass your certification exam the first time.

Here are some steps we recommend when studying for the CEN exam:

  1. Take a Baseline CEN Practice Exam: A baseline practice exam will help you figure out where you stand. You may end up answering every single question correctly and not need to study anymore!
  2. Analyze Your Baseline Exam: After taking the exam, try to provide an honest assessment for how you did. Did you struggle with certain areas? What areas were you strong in?
  3. Determine Your Study Strategy: You need to pick how you will study moving forward. Consider prep courses, prep books, and other free CEN practice questions.
  4. Focus and Allocate Your Time: Make sure you allocate yourself enough time to prepare for your exam. Make sure you are fully focused when studying so that you are studying in the most efficient way possible.
  5. Take a Final CEN Practice Test: Taking a final practice exam will either confirm or deny if you are ready for the actual exam. If you score well, you are all set for the actual exam. If you do not score well, you can continue to study before the actual exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are 175 questions on the test, but 25 of those questions do not count towards your score.

Yes. You have 3 hours to take your CEN exam.

Yes you can. Doing so is very similar to taking the test in person. When taking the test online you will have a Live Remote Proctor (LRP) who will behave similarly to an in-person proctor.

Yes. To pass the exam you must answer at least 106 questions correctly out of 150.

The fee for the CEN exam is $230 if you are an ENA member. If you are not an ENA member, the exam costs $360.

Jan Olson
Dr. Jan Olson has her Bachelor's degree in nursing, Master's degree in nursing, and Doctorate in nursing.