The CNA exam, otherwise known as the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program measures a potential CNAs competency prior to employment in any state in America. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, a CNA candidate will be administered 70 multiple-choice questions on the written part of the exam and will be required to complete five skills on the skills test portion of the exam. To obtain certification, you must pass both sections of the CNA test.
Unfortunately, not everyone passes the test on their first attempt. If you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, don’t worry you will have another chance to shine. Most states will allow you to retake the exam up to three times within two years of completing your CNA training.
You only need to retake the section that you didn’t pass. If you fail both the written and skills sections, you will be allowed to retake both areas. If you are unsuccessful after three attempts, you will need to retrain at a state approved CNA program and then restart the testing process after training.
While it’s always good to have a backup plan just in case you don’t pass, there are several steps you can take that will help you ace the test.
How to Pass the Skills Section
Most people that don’t pass the exam usually have trouble in the skills section of the test. Since you are tested randomly on five skills from a list of 25 potential nursing functions, you need to be proficient in all 25 skills.
The best way to perform well in this section is to practice each set with a classmate or partner. Take the time to review your training notes and rehearse all possible scenarios until you can put them to memory.
Another potential resource is to investigate your study options online. Download a skills section study guide or take the time to watch hands-on CNA training videos that are available online. Many times these videos are performed by people who have gone through the CNA testing process.
Additionally, don’t forget that during the actual test, you will be evaluated by an instructor. Most people fail the test because they don’t remember to do the simple steps. It doesn’t matter how good you are at a particular skill, if you forget to do the crucial steps, such as wash your hands or knock on a patient’s door.
How to Pass the Written Section
There are practice written tests that you can acquaint yourself with online. This is a very effective way of scoring and measuring your progress. The written tests will provide you with sample questions and a chance to grade your score at the conclusion of the exam. Take as many practice tests as you need until you feel confident that you are ready to take the actual CNA exam.
Here are a few additional tips that will help you study and take the written portion of the exam:
- Don’t cram all the information in right before the test. Space out your study. Use a CNA Practice Study Guide
- Take detailed notes during training.
- Take breaks during studying sessions. Your memory retains information at the start and end of studying better than what you study in the middle of the session.
- Test yourself frequently with flashcards.
- Read the entire question carefully before answering. Don’t make assumptions.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and go back later.
- Budget your time carefully and don’t forget to bring a watch.
- If you have time, read over your completed test and make sure you answer all the questions.