Study Resources

Examination Content

Four major domains account for the CRRN examination’s content. The CRRN examination domains are:

1.  Rehabilitation nursing models and theories (6%)
2.  Functional health patterns (theories, physiology, assessment, standards of care, and interventions in individuals with injury, chronic illness, and disability across the lifespan) (58%)
3.  The function of the rehabilitation team and community reintegration (13%)
4.  Legislative, economic, ethical, and legal issues (23%)

The content outline includes the domains with related tasks, knowledge, and skill statements. It is the best source of information about the examiantion content.

CRRN content outline (pdf)

CRRN content outline mapped to The Specialty Practice of Rehabilitation Nursing: a Core Curriculum (7th ed.) (pdf)

CRRN Exam Suggested Resources

The examination is based on current knowledge of theory and practice in rehabilitation nursing. The resources recommended below, although not comprehensive, may be helpful to review in preparing for the examination. You are encouraged to use a variety of sources as part of any study program.

  • Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. (2015). The Specialty Practice of Rehabilitation Nursing: a Core Curriculum (7th ed.) . Chicago, IL.
  • Carpenito-Moyet, L. (2012). Nursing diagnosis: application to clinical practice (14th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Willkes.
  • Hickey, J. (2013). Clinical practice of neurological and neurosurgical nursing (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven Publishers.
  • Jackson, P., Vessey, A. (2009). Primary care of the child with a chronic condition (5th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
  • Jarvis, C. (2011). Physical examination and health assessment (6th ed). St. Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Karch, A. (2014). 2015 Lippincott's nursing drug guide. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkes.
  • Mauk, K. (2013). Gerontological nursing: competencies for care (3rd ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett.
    McCance, K., Huether, S. (2009). Pathophysiology: the biologic basis for disease in adults and children (6th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
  • Potter, P., Perry, A., (2012). Fundamentals of nursing (8th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
  • Powell, S., Tahan, H. (2008). CMSA core curriculum for case management (2nd ed.) Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkes.
    Thibodeau, G. (2012). Anthony's textbook of anatomy & physiology (20th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby Yearbook.
  • Wong, D., Whaley, L. (2010). Whaley & Wong's nursing care of infants and children (6th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby Yearbook

Other resources available at the ARN Bookstore:

Examination Preparation

The RNCB encourages you to prepare for the CRRN examination by using a variety of resources. Plan your review methods well in advance of the examination. Think about the study method that is best for you (e.g., individual review, study group, class) and the types of materials that are most helpful (e.g., textbooks, audio or video programs, outlines, memory aids). You may also wish to review the sample questions to get a sense of the question format.

A little anxiety regarding test taking can be helpful because it stimulates and motivates you to perform at your best; however, severe anxiety can hinder test performance. If you know that you frequently experience severe test anxiety, consider preparing yourself for the examination by developing coping mechanisms to make your tension work for you.

Before the day of the examination, visualize and rehearse the testing situation. Imagine yourself taking the examination with a positive attitude and focused, but calm, behavior.
Take measures to reduce your stress during the examination. Use deep-breathing techniques, and be sure to stretch your muscles periodically. These exercises can reduce both physical and mental stress. If necessary, take a few minutes to imagine a calm, pleasant scene, and repeat positive phrases to yourself.

Do not let the comments or behavior of other examinees make you anxious. As examinees are taking different versions of the examination, examinees will finish at different times—some finishing very early, others taking the full three (3) hours. Examinees that finish more quickly than you may not perform any better than you. Everyone works at his or her own speed. Some of the best test performers routinely use the total allocated time. Remember that (a) there is no limit to the number of examinees who can receive passing scores, (b) there is no bonus for completing the examination early, and (c) you are not competing with anyone else.

Eating well, avoiding too much alcohol, and maintaining a regular sleep pattern for several days before the examination will help you to be physically prepared. Also, collect all the supplies you will need, and choose comfortable clothing for that day in advance. Knowing that you are prepared for the test will help to reduce your anxiety.
Finally, your best method for controlling your anxiety is to feel prepared for the test. Designing a study plan well in advance will help you get ready.


  • Budget your time well. Because you will have three (3) hours to complete 175 questions, you will want to complete more than half (about 88) in less than half the time. This is because you will want extra time after completing the full examination to review questions you either skipped or questions you may have marked for review. Also, allow time so that every hour you can take a minute or so to relax your eyes and stretch your neck and hand muscles.
  • Read each question carefully, focusing on what is being asked. If you are uncertain about the answer but nevertheless want to give a tentative answer at the time, mark the test question to indicate that you want to review the test question and your answer if time allows. Go back to questions marked in this manner after completing the entire test.
  • Read all options before selecting your answer. Always select the best choice.
  • Do not overanalyze or try to “read into” a question. Questions are not written to be tricky. Do not assume additional information beyond what is given in the test question. All information necessary to answer the question will be given in the text of the question or scenario.
  • Remember that this is a national test. Questions will focus on rehabilitation nursing practice across the United States and will be based upon an accepted knowledge base. Don’t be limited by thinking only about your organization’s policy or your patient population. Choose options that you know to be correct in any rehabilitation setting.
  • If there are questions including the words “not,” “except,” or “least” answer these with particular care because you will be looking for the exception. These questions involve a reversal of your usual thought patterns.
  • Pay close attention to key words such as “best,” “most,” “primary,” or “usually.” These words indicate that other options may at times be correct, but given the wording or situation in the test question, you must judge which option is the best.
  • Skip difficult questions and come back to them later. Questions on the test are not ordered by difficulty (i.e., they do not go from easiest to hardest). Also, content areas and topics are addressed randomly in questions throughout the test. You may find one question near the end of the test that may lead you to recall information that applies to another question that appeared much earlier.
  • When guessing, do so by the process of elimination. Treat each option as a true or false statement, and eliminate those that you would not select. Narrow your choices and then make an educated guess.
  • Answer every test question, because there is no penalty for guessing. Go through the entire test, answering the questions you believe you know and skipping the difficult questions. Leave time at the end of the testing period to go back to the questions you skipped or want to review. If you are running out of time, leave a minute or so at the end to complete all of the blank questions randomly. Remember, you have a 25% probability of answering a question correctly by chance alone, so don’t miss any!
  • If reading English is difficult for you because English is not your primary language, maximize your time by reading and answering all the shorter questions first. After completing all of the short questions, go back and attempt to answer the longer questions.
  • Review the suggested resources listed in this handbook.