Student Resources to Become a CRNA 

Welcome, students! This page is dedicated to your needs and interests as you continue your training to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) by providing resources to help you on your path to certification.

National Certification Examination (NCE)

To begin your career as a CRNA, students need to take and pass the National Certification Examination (NCE), sometimes referred to as “the boards.” The NCE is designed to measure the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for entry-level nurse anesthesia practitioners. 

  • Students can take the NCE at any point after completing a multi-year educational program at one of the nation’s 137 accredited Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
  • The NCE may be taken up to four times following the completion of a nurse anesthesia education program.
  • It is a variable-length, computerized adaptive test with 100-170 questions and a maximum of three hours allowed to complete it.
  • Questions can take the form of multiple-choice, calculations, drag and drop, hotspot, and graphics/videos. Learn more about the question types in the NCE Handbook.


Preparing for the NCE with the SEE

Before taking the NCE, NBCRNA recommends taking the Self-Evaluation Examination (SEE). Most nurse anesthesia programs incorporate the use of the SEE in their programs. This voluntary self-examination has three objectives:

  • Provide information to students about progress in their nurse anesthesia education program.
  • Provide information to program administrators on how well their programs are preparing students with the knowledge they need for anesthesia practice.
  • Prepare students for the NCE experience.

The SEE is a 240-question computerized adaptive examination consisting of multiple-choice, multiple-correct responses, short answer/calculations, drag and drop, and hotspot questions. It serves as an important foundation in preparation for the NCE. Learn more about what the SEE entails in the SEE Handbook.

Exam Tutorial

The NBCRNA has developed an exam tutorial with the purpose of helping examinees with interactive examples of the five question formats contained within the NCE and SEE. This tutorial contains a total of 20 sample items that depict generally how the questions will look in the exam administration software, as well as basic instructions for responding to each question type, and can be taken an unlimited number of times.


  • Q When can I expect to receive notification from the NBCRNA that I am eligible to take the NCE?

    You can expect to receive an email notification from the NBCRNA of your eligibility to take the NCE within 1-5 business days following the date that verification of your nurse anesthesia educational program completion is received by the NBCRNA. It is your responsibility to make certain that you have provided the NBCRNA with your current email address, that you have not blocked access to your account by the NBCRNA and Pearson VUE, and that you can receive attachments from either group.
  • Q How should I prepare for the NCE?

    Whether you use study groups, workshops, or review courses, you should carefully review the content outline in the NBCRNA NCE Handbook; it contains everything a candidate needs to know about the NCE administration. 
  • Q When do I receive my results?

    You will receive preliminary results of your examination when you check out at the test center. These are preliminary only and are not final until validated by the NBCRNA.

    You will be notified of official test results by the NBCRNA within 2-4 weeks of the NCE by first-class mail.

    Contacting the NBCRNA office within the 4-week timeframe after your examination slows down the processing of all results because resources are used to answer questions and verify information rather than process results.

    Under no circumstances are examination results released by telephone, fax or email.

    Candidates should carefully consider making time-sensitive employment-related commitments that require immediate verification of certification (i.e., passing the NCE). Processing of results may take up to 4 weeks following the date of your examination, and processing will not be altered for individual requests.