CNE®cl Exam Prep

Preparing for the Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE®cl) Examination

Before preparing for the Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator examination, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. The Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator examination was developed to measure competence in the scope of the academic clinical nurse educator practice role. It is recommended that in preparing for this examination, you begin by reviewing the following:

  1. The detailed test blueprint (page 8 of handbook) to identify the exam's content areas and determine which areas to focus your study.
  2. The test blueprint (page 7 of handbook) to understand how each content area is weighted and to review the percentage of questions that pertain to each area.
  3. The recommended reference list (page 16 of handbook) which provides references specific to each of the content areas. The recommended reference list is provided to serve as a guide and is not intended to be all-inclusive.
  4. Sample questions, (pages 18-19 of the Candidate Handbook) are similar to those found on the examination, but do not represent the full range of content or levels of difficulty.
  5. A Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) is an internet-based, 65-item, multiple- choice practice examination and can be considered a learning tool and assessment instrument that is parallel in form to the actual CNE®cl examination. The CNE®cl SAE is a half-length examination that will meet the examination specifications including content outline coverage, percentage of items in each of the content categories and the cognitive complexity item distribution. By taking the SAE, candidates will be able to practice taking CNE®cl-type questions, experience computer based testing, review rationales for correct and incorrect answers and receive a score report to assess strengths and areas for additional study. Note: those who purchase the SAE will be provided online access to this product for 60 days from the date of purchase.

CNEcl SAE Form A
NLN Member Package
Non-Member Package

CNEcl SAE Form B
NLN Member Package
Non-Member Package

Please make certain that you carefully review the Candidate Handbook for complete information about the Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator examination.



The NLN is often asked about various preparation products for the NLN certification exams (CNE® and CNE®cl). We would like to clarify some misinformation related to certification preparation products that currently exist in the overall market. 

The NLN has a variety of certification preparation products. These products include preparation books, practice exams, various on-site preparation courses, and online preparation courses. Since these are NLN products, there is strict quality control with these products. Additionally, the NLN products have been created by NLN content experts. It is not necessary to purchase an NLN certification preparation product to be successful on the certification exam(s). We do recommend that any potential tester download and thoroughly read the candidate handbook for the certification exam they are considering. Information about the test, the test plan, and sample questions are included in the handbook. Please note the candidate handbooks are available free on the NLN website.

There are a variety of non-NLN produced certification test preparation products on the market. The NLN DOES NOT  endorse any non-NLN certification test preparation products. Nor does the NLN collaborate on any non-NLN certification test preparation products. Some products might be excellent, but other products have been reported to us as being misleading to our testers. Some products contain misinformation regarding the required passing scores, the test plan, and even the types of test items. This type of misinformation typically results in misleading the future tester. 

The NLN values our certificants and future certificants. Our goal is to support your desire to become credentialed as a CNE or CNEcl. Please start any test preparation with the appropriate candidate handbook, found on the NLN website. They are updated annually and can be very helpful as you plan to take the exam.



Candidates are not required to buy or implement the use of SAEs or any other exam preparations materials offered by the NLN. The SAEs mirror the format and follow the test blueprint of the certifications exams but have fewer test items. The purpose of the SAEs is a practice within the test environment only. The use of SAEs or any other preparatory materials do not guarantee success on any examination. There is no “passing score” on any SAE. The data returned from use may help guide the candidate in the competencies that may need additional attention before actual testing.

The use of SAEs or other preparatory material is not intended to give any advantage to the user versus the non-user of the NLN materials.  The use of the materials is not the only or preferred method to adequate preparation before testing with the actual examination.

Although the NLN has preparatory courses and resource materials available to anyone interested in certification, these materials are not the only way to review and prepare for any of the certifications available. There are many different methods and materials that may be helpful in the study process. The certification program gives no advantage to those applicants using NLN-sponsored materials. Information is not known to the program regarding which applicant used which specific study approaches and materials. The purchase of NLN-sponsored preparatory and/or study materials is totally optional for all applicants and will never be a requirement of NLN Certification.