CNA Study Guide

The CNA Training Help study guide is the most comprehensive online resource for those who are about to challenge the CNA certification exam. You will find everything you need to successfully master both the written and skills part of the exam on this page. We’ve got videos, practice tests and detailed study guides for the written part of the exam as well. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below or on the individual skill/study guide pages. We’ll try and get back to you as soon as possible.


CNA Skills Videos and Examiners Checklist
CNA Written Exam Study Guide
CNA Practice Tests

CNA Skills Help

As part of your exam, you will be asked to efficiently demonstrate at least 5 skills in front of the examiner. Each skill has a video demonstration as well as an examiners checklist.

Click here to access the CNA skills Guide

Additional Reading

Tips for Mastering the Skills Portion of Your CNA Test

The Written Exam

The CNA written test consists of multiple choice questions that are designed to test your knowledge of how to properly administer care to patients.

The number of written questions on the exam varies from state to state, but is usually no more than 70 questions. The written test is also offered in an oral format for students who may have reading difficulties, or consider English as their second language.

The following sections outline the topics that are comprehensively detailed in the eight chapters of the on-line study guide. Each chapter has individual links for each topic.  We have also added a set of QNA’s at the end of each sub chapter to test your knowledge of the topic covered.

Environmental Needs Of The ResidentChapter 1

First and foremost, your patient’s personal cleanliness and safety are of the up most importance. This section will describe in comprehensive detail the proper method to bathe and care for patients. The chapter explains the correct way to make a patient’s bed and how to efficiently transfer the patient from the bed to a gurney or wheelchair.

You will also learn important issues regarding patient privacy and how to effectively provide for their comfort by arranging the living space area. Personal space in nursing homes and hospital settings is at the foundation of patient comfort and contributes immeasurably to a patient’s sense of well being. These issues are discussed in detail in this chapter.

Proper protocol regarding noise needs to be understood by prospective CNAs. In hospitals and nursing homes patients often reside in close quarter situations. In this capacity, noise abatement is necessary for the well-being of patients. This section will discuss ways in which you can minimize noise in your setting.

Another concern for patients is adequate lighting in a their room. This is essential, particularly in settings involving the elderly. Sufficient lighting will help to prevent falls and can improve the patient’s living situation. Something as simple as opening the blinds in a patient’s room can sometimes lighten their mood.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Cleanliness and Safety
  2. Living Space, Personal Space and Privacy
  3. Noise and Lighting

Communication SkillsChapter 2

According to the US National Library of Medicine, all nursing education schools should encompass training on how to be an effective communicator. Patient communication is vital to the success of the CNA.

This chapter will teach you the fine points of communication in both verbal and nonverbal applications. You will learn how to properly address patients and how to carry yourself professionally in a medical environment.

Additionally, in the medical setting all written communication such as shift reports, incident reports and charting must be done competently. This chapter explains how to document your daily care giving activities in a clear and concise manner. It also provides a convenient list of abbreviations that are frequently used by healthcare professionals.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Patient Interaction
  2. Receiving Assignments
  3. Effective Reporting

Physical Needs Of The ResidentChapter 3

A CNA needs to be able to confidently assess a wide variety of physical needs of the patient. Providing for patient’s hygiene is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in caring for the sick and elderly. This chapter discusses specific procedures such as helping patients brush their teeth, moving them to the shower, bathing patients and shampooing their hair. Safety concerns are also highlighted for the aforementioned activities.

The human body needs to move to stay healthy. Immobility restricts circulation and can cause a whole host of other physical problems. Read this section to learn how to address these issues and how to assist with range of motion (ROM) movements and exercises. The effect of ROM exercises both in and out of bed are discussed in this lesson.

Proper nutrition is an important aspect of patient care. Food is one of the basic human needs. A qualified CNA should strive to be a source of nutritional information for patients. You can do this by carefully reporting your patient’s intake of food. This will help keep the nursing staff informed. Responsible food choices can go a long way to improving the patient’s health.

Prospective CNAs will be tested on the reasons why some patients become malnourished. This lesson defines these issues as mechanical, psychosocial and cultural. To better understand the roadblocks to healthy nutrition, study each section of this chapter. This information will assist you during the CNA test and will be invaluable during your career.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Hygiene
  2. Physical Activity
  3. Nutrition

Psychosocial Needs Of The ResidentChapter 4

Along with accurately assessing the patient’s physical symptoms, CNAs must be able to understand basic human emotions. The objective of this chapter is to define critical psychosocial needs of the patient.

Being able to empathize with the patient will build rapport. Sometimes patients just want someone to understand their pain and take the time to listen to their complaints. This is where empathy comes in. Learn how to help your patient by understanding their situation.

University of Chicago neuroscientists conducted a study which revealed that loneliness and isolation can be directly related to sickness. Loneliness needs to be understood in the medical community, particularly in nursing homes. This chapter provides the CNA student with simple, yet effective techniques to help create a social environment for the patient.

The dignity of patients is also discussed at length in this lesson. Being sick in a hospital or nursing home is a humbling experience. Patients often feel helpless, due to the fact they can’t be in control of their pain or sickness. This feeling can sometimes manifest into fear and anger. A qualified CNA will be able to recognize this emotion and respond to it with kindness and understanding. This will help the patient to experience less stress and anxiety.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Dignity
  2. Empathy
  3. Socialization

Role Of The Nurse’s AideChapter 5

In this section of the study guide, you will be presented with a step-by-step method regarding how to interact with patients. Your relationship with the patient will depend on the quality of your bedside manner. Effective communication with your patient will open the door to a successful interaction. As a professional CNA, take the time to become well-versed in therapeutic communication.

The second part of this chapter will help you to improve time management skills. When you enter the medical environment, you will quickly experience how fast-paced and challenging some days can be. During stressful times, organization can be your foundation to success and can enable you to cope with handling several duties at one time.

The closing section in this chapter deals with privacy and discretion. In your role as a nurse’s aide, make sure your patient care plan covers these often overlooked basic rights of the patient. These rights include safekeeping of patient’s heath related issues, property, confidential information and medical records.

Moreover, to preserve your career, know what information you can and cannot release without proper authorization. This important lesson plan covers your legal obligations as a CNA.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Interacting With Patients
  2. Time Management
  3. Privacy and Discretion

Resident’s Rights

Chhapter 6

The Federal Nursing Reform Act, also known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) was enacted to improve the overall quality of nursing homes throughout the country. Questions regarding this act will be covered during the CNA exam. This chapter of the on-line study guide provides meticulous details on the scope and provision of this legislation.

OBRA also mandates certain qualifications and competencies that every CNA must meet prior to being employed in their respective state. The State Boards of Nursing in the CNAs state of employment dictates specific hours of classroom and practical experience that each nursing student must complete prior to employment.

As part of the quality of care improvement program, ombudsman programs were also developed in nursing homes. The goal of these programs was to preserve the well-being of nursing home residents. This section talks about the role of the ombudsman in nursing homes as well as specific rights that are inherent to each resident.

The closing section of this chapter covers neglect and abuse. This has been an unfortunate and tragic reality in some nursing homes. A recent study revealed that almost 44% of nursing home residents have suffered from abuse or had been treated roughly by staff. You can be part of the solution to change this heartbreaking statistic.

As a responsible CNA you will need to know the warning signs of neglect and abuse, types of abuse and what to do should you encounter a case of neglect or abuse in your place of employment.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. OBRA
  2. Ombudsman
  3. Neglect and Abuse

Infection Control

Infection is a serious concern in the medical community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 4.5 hospital infections for every 100 patient admissions and nearly 100,000 deaths caused by hospital infection.

This chapter of the CNA study guide discusses the types of organisms that can cause infection. It also focuses on the hospital population that is most susceptible to the spread of infection.

Nurse’s aides will know the various germs that can be harmful to the patient. This section explains the different types of infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa.

In this chapter, you also learn about the chain of infection. This will help the nurse’s aide to identify the six links of the infection chain. When a CNA can properly identify the causes of infection, it will be easier to disrupt a link in the infection chain. This will ultimately help to prevent the spread of infection.

This chapter regarding infection control also discusses general guidelines for preventing infections. A comprehensive list of techniques on how to prevent the spread of infection is provided for your review.

The chapter concludes with a section explaining the correct way to educate patients and family members about the proper procedures that need to be followed in a healthcare setting.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Infection Introduction
  2. Infection Control

Special Care Procedures

Whether working in a hospital, nursing, home or other medical care facility, certified nurse’s assistants will be responsible for taking care of patients in a variety of settings. This chapter discusses different environments in which CNAs will be exposed to during their careers.

Nurse’s aides will certainly be exposed to dying patients during their careers. This section details the type of care that needs to be administered to these patients. You will learn the definition of palliative care. In this section you will also learn how to comfort and help relieve physical and emotional pain of the dying patient.

CNAs can also be assigned to medical/surgical floors and in this capacity will need to know the proper procedures to care for the surgical patient. These patients will have their own unique set of issues that you need to be aware of. Along with her primary duties, you must know what to look out for in these patients and how to accurately communicate the patient’s needs to the nursing staff.

This chapter will also explain how to care for the emotionally stressed patient. Being able to recognize basic human emotions and how to effectively cope with patient’s fears, anxieties and frustrations will dramatically help in the overall care of the patient.

The last section of the chapter talks about CNAs that are charged with the care of the elderly and chronically ill patients. On many occasions, CNAs and nursing homes will encounter both these scenarios. In this section, you will learn about the general atmosphere and duties involved in nursing home facility. A qualified nurse’s assistant will be able to provide physical care for these patients, while also addressing the emotional needs of these long-term patients.

Detailed Reading For This Chapter

  1. Care of the Elderly and Chronically Sick
  2. Caring for the Emotionally Stressed Patient
  3. Caring for the Surgical Patient
  4. Death and Dying

Additional Reading

Passing The Written Portion Of Your CNA Test

Practice Tests

We have a range of practice tests, developed in house as well as collected from various external websites.

Click here to access the free CNA practice tests


This is a collaborative effort. If you have any suggestions on improving the information in this study guide, feel free to drop us an email at admin (at) or using the comment form on the Contact Us page.

Study Guide Authors

Kathryn Goldyn MD
Denise Warren BSN

31 Responses to CNA Study Guide

  1. Margaret January 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    My sister lost her certification in a house fire in the 90’s but needs them to start school in nursing. How do you find the records – Her name is Mary Kern. Please write back to let me know. We can either come to get the records or have them sent to us via a credit card or money order for any payment that is needed.

    • Admin January 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      Hi Margaret, I can’t help you out with the certificate. The correct body to contact would be the nurse aide registry in your state. They will have records from that year and might be able to send you a print out.

  2. cindy April 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Im a CMA can i take the CNA exam without going to school how do i get the state to let me take the exam without schooling?

    • Admin June 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      This really depends on what state you live in. Many states will allow you to challange the test without prior education in the area of CNA work. However, not all states will allow this. THe best thing to do is check with your states CNA licensure board and see what their particular rules are. They will certaintly have this information for you! Good luck!

  3. kameron June 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    hi my name is kameron and i need some help cause i wanna take cna classes but i cant find any free cna classes cause i realy need a job asap !!!!!!!! so anyone can help please let me kno i live in gary nd im tryna move after i save sum money !!!!! in need of sum help ):

    • Shannon October 29, 2012 at 1:30 am #

      You may find free classes, but you MUST pay for your license! Get a student loan, and do it the right way!

    • Robyn January 24, 2013 at 12:59 am #

      If your under the age of 24 job corps have state certified CNA program

      • Danie July 13, 2013 at 5:25 am #

        im 17 and im going to job corps they pay everything but i think you gotta pay for exam not sure though theyll tell you

  4. denise June 20, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    hello there, maybe you can help me before thursday haha. i challenged the test about a month ago and failed the written. THE EASIEST PART! Anways i was wondering where can i go to sudy for the written. theres practice tests online but they dont help.. i feel like these practice tests are so easy and the actual test is nothing like these practice tests. i tend to over think all the questions and my friends keep telling me to not pick real world answers but to pick the by the book answer, question is where can i study from the book. i need something to tell me this is the answer and why this is the answer not just tell me if my answer is right or wrong. Sorry for the novel, any help would be greatly apprecaiated. thank you.

  5. Gabrielle July 11, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    I’m trying to find out if I should become a CNA. I am 18 and graduated high school and about to start college to major in special education. As well as I have always loved to work with people with special needs. My mother, grandmothers, and grandfather was a CNA. Bt I’m just afraid of not getting the grant to go for the classes. I live in woonsocket Rhode Island. Any help would be greatly apperception thank you

    • Tessa Gatlin August 25, 2012 at 4:08 am #

      You really should go for it. It will be very helpful in the end. I volunteered in PALS special education and the teachers do a lot of what the CNA’s duties are. It was helpful for me because my high school had a free CNA program. Idk how it is in those island, but the CNA classes are really not that pricey. Most of them range from 300-500 dollars depending on where you go well that’s how it is in Texas… But trust me IT’S REALLY WORTH IT. I failed my first time on the written part by one question only because our teacher got fired and didn’t teach us and we shared a teacher with the other high school I take my test next Wednesday. But make sure to study if you do decide to take it… The wording gets tricky! Good luck!!!

      • Tessa Gatlin August 25, 2012 at 4:09 am #

        My bad I meant Rhode Island*

  6. nytoria corbett October 8, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    i was wondering do they have any free practice test question online for the cna practice test

  7. von October 14, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    hey im planning to challenge the CNA next month i really need to know the best sites to get better prepared so i can pass! im in florida so i know i can! but every where i look doesnt seem real or what you to pay something!

  8. Dolores October 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    hi my name is dolores..i am a cna training.. i failed frst and second exam. bcz i study but the quistions in my exams is deff. and they give me vocabulary exam…. but im confusing. soo i failed again, they said i still have 1 last chance.. but it is shame.. i want to take and fee my exam. were i can find the place to retake i live in kerrville tx. pls help me.. i want to pass this cna exam.. but the next schedule is on dec. pls let me
    know and help me.. were i can find the place to re test again.Thanks.. dolores

  9. Josefina December 4, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    Hi name is josefina i am live in Boston Mass i really need help to pass my CNA state exam and i take the exam few time i failed . i retake the exam i failed again and i still have a last chance to pass so anyone can help me to pass this exam. any help would be greatly apperception thank you Josefina

  10. ann December 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    i live in north carolina and i,m wondering if there are any other testing facilities other than pearson veiw in the raleigh durham area i heard they are too picky.

  11. Burnidine Burns December 17, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I HAVE MY CERTIFICATE But i am trying to get certifacation to work i have completed the class need help with my paying for my skills test so what do to get the help that is needed

  12. Lisa Webb January 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I took the class but was never given my certificate due to dismissal from my job. What can I do to get the certificate?

  13. sheryl January 18, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    hi im 22 years old im starting my CNA on march 18, 2013. i am afraid to go in school maybe its difficult. what do i need to do plz help.i appreciate it.

  14. casey January 27, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Whoops it posted and i wasnt finished lol……does anyone know if the board of nursing sends out a study guide in nc for ppl who challenge the exam? After 13 years im def rusty on the testing and need to study hardcore for this! Thanks for any help 🙂

  15. Shelley Griffin February 3, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I have my nursing assistant diploma but i am certified and I need help getting certified

  16. Catelin February 18, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I’m looking for a study guide booklet for Kansas state CNA. When I took the course in CA we received a booklet prior to testing. As I’m aware the test is simple, I don’t know if there’s any substantial differences between KS and CA. Can you direct me toward someplace that can mail me a study guide?

  17. Ella February 27, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Hi, im just new here in this forum, i just took my C NA state exams for 2013 feb.i did perfectly well in my school, my trainning and i also did so well in my exams skills because i got myself ready and well pratice! pratice in school, at home, with whoever . but surprisingly i didnt pass the exam written test,it was so suprising i could fail! i read like im going to take my final degree exams!. i failed four content area performance in my written exams like A .D .L ,MEMBER OF THE HEALTH CARE TEAM,EMOTIONAL&MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS AND RESTORATIVE SKILLS.This so unbealivable!. please Maa’m /sir, i need your advice or Guide now!! because i want to retake this test as soon as possible, i cant wait , stil reading my books beacuse im still shocked from the boom! What can i do?i will have to retake my test.please advice me.Thanks

    • Ami March 25, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Ella, first of all BREATHE! Second, you can download practice CNA written tests online to go through and figure out where your weaknesses are. I downloaded a few different ones to my tablet and have been using them as a study guide because they have similar questions which will be on the test. In class I made copies of the first one I found and gave a copy to each classmate and one to our teacher because I am of the opinion that together we stand, yada yada. Anyway, now that you’ve taken the real thing once and know where you messed up it won’t be as difficult and you’ll have mastered both the test and those Pre-exam jitters. Good luck!

  18. Ami March 25, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Don’t you mean ‘your patient’s personal cleanliness and safety are of the utmost importance’? Not ‘up most’. Lol! Sorry, nitpicking. Love the articles, I’m sure they will help me tremendously when I go to take the exam.

  19. Wonder80sB June 16, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    My advice for future CNAs–please study and review all skills exam tasks. I passed the written exam with flying colors with hard work put in but I failed on 2 out of 5 skills earlier today because I did not study ALL of them. I studied what was taught in our CNA course which was only 5 but in my Nurse aide handbook there are 24 skills to go over. I had the misfortune of being cut off from finishing my dentures task by the evalutor. I miss 2 steps before I was cut off and my failed exam came back with more than 2 steps wrong. WTF! So I couldn’t do anything about it because only one evalutor was present. BS will happen I guess. I did study 5 different skills because we did them in our CNA course–so be careful do all your studying until your studied out. But at least I can retake the parts that I missed and of course the cost for retake will be 60$. I would love to go off on the state that pulled that time cutting BS but trying to keep calm and study. I will never understand the evalutor cutting my time and I had 20 minutes left of task and my 10 am to 12 pm exam period wasn’t up. It was about 10 minutes to 12 and I was cleaning some dentures. That’s a rather quick task. Seriously?! For future reference study everything you can until there’s no more to do. The blame is with me folks–don’t end up in my situation. STUDY and GLOBBLE IT UP.

  20. Beatriz August 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    How can I get the CNA study guide?

  21. Sarah October 14, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    HI I was a CNA for about 1 years from 2010-2011 and I had to leave due to my deep depression. I haven’t worked as a CNA for over 2 years now and my license needs to be renewed. it should of been renewed in 2012, but like I said I was very ill at the time. So my question is can I still renew my CNA license or do I have to go back to school and do all over again?

  22. Sarah Yager April 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    You just need to take the test again. No need to redo the class.

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