Candidates who are unable to test within their 90-day test period and canceled their exam appointment 6 days in advance of the exam date may request an extension for a non-refundable $79 service fee.

  • MSNCB cannot cancel an appointment for you.
  • Extensions are one-time only per registration, so the candidate must test within the new 90-day period or all fees will be forfeit.
  • Extension requests are only accepted after the original 90-day test period has expired and up to 10 days after expiration.

Requests that meet the criteria are processed in 1-3 business days. The candidate will be informed of their new 90-day test period by email when they are able to schedule.

Extensions are not available to candidates who registered through the MSNCB FailSafe Certification Program™, missed an exam appointment, or did not cancel the exam.

To request an extension form, contact msncb@msncb.org.


Cancellations and rescheduling are not accepted for exam appointments within 6 days of the exam date.

If you schedule an exam and do not show up for that exam, all exam fees paid will be forfeit.

MSNCB understands that emergencies happen. If an emergency occurs which prevents you from testing, you may submit an email to certification@msncb.org to provide us with the special circumstances of the emergency.

Supporting documentation must be provided. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If your cancellation is accepted, you will be refunded the application payment minus the $79 non-refundable processing fee.

Confidentiality of Examination and Scores

To ensure the security of the examination, the test materials are confidential and will not be released to any person, employer or agency.

All application information is considered confidential and is not shared with any outside party. It is used only by MSNCB and its testing agency for certification processing purposes.

Information concerning any candidate for certification is released only upon the written request of the certification applicant. Enrolled MSNCB FailSafe Certification Program™ candidates, by nature of participating in their facility’s program, grants the right to their employer to receive a pass/fail outcome.

Designation of Certification

Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN®). Certification is awarded to those who successfully complete the certification process by meeting the eligibility criteria and have either passed a written, multiple choice exam or who have earned their certification through exam exemption with continuing education contact hours. Certification as a CMSRN is valid for a period of five years.

Credentials may be used in all correspondence or professional activities.

Recertification of MSNCB credentials is available by examination or by continuing education. Certified nurses will begin to receive recertification notices approximately one (1) year before their certification expiration. It is the certificant's professional responsibility to be aware of their certification expiration date. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to expiration to avoid a late fee.

Denial, Suspension or Revocation of Certification

The occurrence of any of the following actions will result in the denial, suspension, or revocation of your certification:

  1. Failure to meet certification or recertification criteria.

  2. Any restrictions to professional RN license, such as revocation, suspension, probation, or other sanctions by a nursing authority.

  3. Failure to pay any appropriate and required fees.

  4. Failure to supply requested material by deadline.

  5. Falsification of information on the MSNCB examination/recertification applications or supporting documentation.

  6. Cheating on the certification examination.

  7. Misrepresentation of certification status.

A letter of notification will be sent to the certificant/candidate by traceable, secure mail (i.e. UPS or FedEx) and a copy of the letter retained in their file.

Right of Appeal

A candidate who has been denied based on eligibility or had their certification suspended or revoked has the right of appeal. This appeal request must be submitted in writing to the President of the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board within thirty (30) days of notification of their denial, suspension, or revocation or the right to appeal shall be considered forfeited. The appeal request should state the specific reasons for the appeal and adequate documentation should be provided to support the appeal.

At the candidate's request and expense, MSNCB shall appoint an Appeals Task Force of fellow certified nurses who will review blinded copies of materials sent by the applicant/certificant for review. The final decision of the Appeals Task Force will be communicated in writing by the Chair to the candidate and to MSNCB within one month of the start of the review process. All decisions of the Appeals Task Force will be final.

Scoring the Exam

A standard score of 95, or approximately 71% correct, is required to pass the CMSRN exam. A total score and subscores in the major test areas is provided for candidates who pass or fail the exam. Subscores on each of the test areas can be used to assist in further study for those who choose to retake the exam.

A candidate’s pass/fail decision on the test is based on the passing score determined by a modified Angoff procedure, rather than by comparing a candidate’s performance to other candidates who took the examination. To determine the passing score, the Angoff procedure is performed by the Test Development Committee in collaboration with psychometric consultants from MSNCB’s testing service using a criterion-referenced methodology. The criterion is what a minimally competent, certified nurse needs to know.

Scores are reported as scaled scores. In a scaled score, the number of questions answered correctly, called the “raw score,” is converted to a scaled score, which is referred to as a “standard score” on the score report. The conversion is similar to converting a weight from pounds to kilograms; that is, the weight is the same, but the scales differ. Raw scores are converted to scaled scores so that scores can be directly compared from year to year and from test to test..

Special Testing Arrangements

MSNCB will make special arrangements to accommodate candidates with disabilities protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that interfere with test taking. To request special arrangements, complete and submit the exam application first then contact MSNCB with documentation of the disability. Submit questions or documentation regarding your disability to MSNCB via email at certification@msncb.org

Please allow a few weeks to accommodate special arrangements. Every effort will be made to accommodate your disability.

Record Maintenance

MSNCB retain electronic records of all candidates and certificants for at least five (5) years.

It is the professional responsibility of the candidate/certificant to notify MSNCB of any change in name, address, phone, and email either before testing or during the 5-year certification period.

If assistance is needed, please contact MSNCB:

MSNCB National Office
PO Box 56
Pitman, NJ 08071-0056
Phone: 866-877-2676
Fax: 856-589-7463
Email: msncb@msncb.org