Exam Registration Questions
How do I apply for a BCEN exam?
The exam application is only available online via your BCEN Account. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to submit an exam application.
Will I get a discount on my exam for being a member of my professional association?
Yes, the fee is $230 for professional association members and $370 for non-members.
I received a complimentary certification certificate; can I use this certificate to apply online?
No, the complimentary certification certificate will need to be mailed into the BCEN office. Please contact a BCEN Candidate Experience Specialist at +1-877-302-BCEN (2236), or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Are BCEN exams offered internationally?
Yes, BCEN exams are offered at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide.
Are BCEN exams offered in other languages?
BCEN exams are only available in English regardless of what country it is offered in.
What is the cost of the exam?
The cost varies depending on membership status and certification status. View all fees.
When can I schedule my exam appointment?
You can schedule your exam appointment with BCEN’s test delivery provider, Pearson VUE, after receipt of the exam eligibility email. An exam eligibility email is sent immediately after your online application is processed along with payment in full. It contains important information on your 90-day testing window and how to schedule your exam appointment with Pearson VUE. We strongly recommend that you decide on the date you want to sit for the exam and promptly schedule that date with Pearson VUE.
When will I receive my exam eligibility e-mail?
Your exam eligibility email will be sent immediately after your online application and payment in full are received and processed.
- If you complete your online application along with a credit card payment then your application is processed immediately. An eligibility email will be sent out immediately.
- If you complete your online application, but mail in a check payment, please allow up to 4 weeks for processing. An eligibility email will be sent once your payment is received and processed.
- From what email address will the eligibility email be sent?
I have not received my eligibility email; what should I do?
First check your e-mail spam folder. If you are unable to locate the e-mail, contact a BCEN Candidate Experience Specialist within 2 business days of the processed application and payment. Note: If your payment was mailed, please allow up to 4 weeks for processing.
Is it necessary to schedule an exam appointment?
Yes. You must have a scheduled exam appointment with Pearson VUE to sit for your exam; walk-ins without a scheduled appointment are not allowed. You must schedule and sit for the exam within your 90-day test window. We strongly recommend that you decide on the date you want to sit for the exam and promptly schedule that date with Pearson VUE.
Can I schedule an appointment without the exam eligibility email?
No, you must have an exam eligibility email with your Candidate ID number to schedule your exam appointment with Pearson VUE. The eligibility email is sent immediately after an online exam application is processed along with payment in full. You must schedule and sit for your exam within your 90-day testing window. We strongly recommend that you decide the date you want to sit for the exam and promptly schedule that date with Pearson VUE.
May I contact Pearson VUE directly to schedule my exam appointment without submitting an application?
No. Pearson VUE cannot schedule an exam appointment for you until the exam application process has been completed by BCEN. Immediately following the processing of your online exam application along with payment in full, an eligibility email is sent to you with instructions on how to schedule your exam.
Can I reschedule my examination?
Yes. If you are within your 90-day testing window AND still have at least one business day before the exam (based on the time zone of the testing center where you have an exam scheduled), you will be able to reschedule with Pearson VUE with no reschedule/cancellation fees.
You can contact Pearson VUE online at www.pearsonvue.com/bcen, or with a speak to a customer service representative at 866-751-6589, Monday – Friday, 7am-7pm CST.
When rescheduling, you must pick a new exam time that also falls within your 90-day window.
Candidates who fail to reschedule/cancel within these guidelines, or do not appear for their scheduled exam time, will forfeit the full testing fee. Fees are applicable for new testing windows.
We strongly recommend scheduling your new test day promptly, as test center seat availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.
What happens if I missed my scheduled examination?
If you fail to report to a scheduled examination appointment you will forfeit all paid fees. A new application and payment are required to re-apply for eligibility to sit for an exam.
How many times can I take the exam?
Unlimited testing is allowed if you are unsuccessful; however, you are required to wait 90 days before re-testing. You may submit a re-test exam application online via your BCEN Account after the 90-day waiting period is over.
If I decide not to sit for the exam, can I receive a refund?
A written request for a refund of the exam fee needs to be submitted to BCEN before an exam appointment is scheduled with our test delivery provider, Pearson VUE, and before the close of your 90-day testing window as outlined in the eligibility e-mail. You may email the refund request to email@example.com. Once an exam appointment has been scheduled, refund requests will not be accepted. Recertification fees are non-refundable.
Exam Administration Questions
How and where is the exam administered?
Exams are delivered by computer at Pearson Professional Centers. A current listing of testing centers, including addresses and driving directions, appears at www.pearsonvue.com/bcen.
Can I take the computerized exam at home?
No. The computerized exam is administered only at a Pearson Professional Center. View a list of test sites.
How much time is allowed to complete the exam?
Total seat time for the exam is 180 minutes (3 hours). Seat time begins when you are presented with the BCEN Examination Rules and Regulations agreement screen. You will have a total of 180 minutes to (1) review and agree to the examination rules and regulations and (2) take and complete the exam.
Can I earn college credit by achieving my CEN credential?
Yes, you can earn three nursing elective credits toward your Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College. A verification of your certification will need to be sent to Excelsior College. You can do this by Publishing your Credentials.
To publish your credential, log into your BCEN Account, click on ‘Publish Credentials’ and follow the steps listed. The email address to use is ITCERTIFICATIONS@EXCELSIOR.EDU and in the message area, please include your DOB (date of birth), last 4 digits of your SS#.
Will I receive continuing education (CE) credit for sitting, or for passing, the exam?
No, you do not receive CEs for sitting for the exam, or for passing the exam.
How do I receive informational material on BCEN exams for my hospital or healthcare facility?
You may email a BCEN Candidate Experience Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org for brochures/flyers on our exams. In the email please list how many brochures/flyers you may need and the address on where to send the informational material. If you have any questions, you may also contact BCEN at +1-877-302-BCEN (2236).
Exam Scoring Questions
How many questions/items are on the exams?
The CEN exam consists of 175 items (150 scored and 25 unscored pretest items).
How are the exams scored?
Your exam score is based on your performance on the exam, i.e., based on the number of exam items answered correctly (raw score).
How many items do I need to answer correctly to pass my exam?
For CEN: of the 150 scored items, candidates must answer 106 items correctly to achieve a passing score.
Please note: The passing score is not based on a curve; it is based upon your individual performance on the exam.
Please note: The passing score can change every few years based upon the results of a job analysis (or role delineation study). The job analysis surveys thousands of nurses in each specialty area to determine the knowledge and skills needed for the particular specialty area. The passing score is established by a systematic procedure that employs the judgement of nurse experts representing each specialty practice area from around the country as well as the assistance of BCEN’s test development vendor. The final determination of the passing score is approved by the BCEN Board of Directors.
How many people pass the exam?
Number of candidates who sat for the exam in 2017
CEN® – 6,939
Number of candidates who passed the exam in 2017
CEN – 4,210
Number of candidates who failed the exam in 2017
CEN – 2,728
Number of candidates who recertified in 2017
CEN – 5,084
Note: This data is provided by BCEN per ABSNC’s program accreditation requirements for the CEN certification program.
Test Accommodations Questions
How do I request a test accommodation?
If test accommodations are needed, please answer ‘Yes’ to the Test Accommodation question in your application. From within the application, download the Test Accommodation form; upon completion, upload the form into the application.
BCEN will review the completed form and approve any standard or non-standard accommodation(s) deemed appropriate.
For more information, please contact a BCEN Candidate Experience Specialist at +1-877-302-BCEN (2236), or by e-mail at email@example.com.
How Can I Use My New BCEN Credential?
When you successfully complete the certification exam or recertification you may use the certification credential. This credential may be used only as long as a current certification status is maintained.
Can I Use the BCEN Trademarks and Logos?
BCEN has developed and maintains significant intellectual property, including various trademarks used by BCEN or used by individuals who have successfully passed BCEN requirements to be a credential holder. Learn more.
How Will My Credit Card Information Be Protected?
BCEN understands that privacy online is important to our candidates, especially when conducting business. Our policy outlines the steps BCEN takes to ensure privacy with respect to the use of credit card information. Learn more.
How Can Others Verify My Certification?
BCEN® makes credential verification available to certificants and to employers/third parties via online services. These services share meaningful information about certification status and reduce the potential for fraud and misuse of BCEN certification credentials. Credential Verifications are primary-sourced verification emails that can only be requested by the certificant.
BCEN certification holders: Sign in to your BCEN Account, hover over the My Account box, select Certification Verification Request and enter an email address to receive the verification. Credential verification emails are sent to the certificate holder with a copy sent directly to the email address entered in the request.
Third Parties: Contact the BCEN certification holder to ask them to request the Credential Verification email from their BCEN account.
BCEN staff cannot verify certification status via phone or email.