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Passing The Clinical Portion Of the CNA Certification Exam

For students, the clinical skills test portion of the CNA certification exam is often the most fearful part of the exam that also includes the written portion.  This is often most caused by the anxiety of having to demonstrate the set of skills that they should have learned during training class for a state examiner.  Having a stranger to evaluate ones ability to execute certain skills properly and confidently may be nerve racking for some, but the training you should have been provided will provide you with the necessary skills to excel during this and all parts of the exam.

Clinical Skills 

Nursing Assistant students will typically be required to perform a minimum of  five procedures that have been selected from around 40 possible tasks. This is for the state CNA examiner to assess the students level of skill that is required before someone becomes a certified nursing assistant.  You will be given a set amount of time to demonstrate these five skills. 

The most common clinical skills that are most likely to be tested on for the certified nursing assistant exam include but are not limited to proper hand washing, patient vitals, making an occupied bed, transferring a patient, giving a full or partial bed bath and providing oral hygiene.


Practicing and timing yourself is important so that you allocate time to the various tasks is essential to make certain of timely completion.  Although the Nurse Aide class will teach you the various skills and allow you to practice them during the training, students should still practice and time themselves  on the completion of these skills over and over again in order to become fully prepared for the clinical skills exam. Practice makes perfect so do not neglect this portion of test preparation.

The certification exam evaluator will use a skills performance checklist to evaluate your performance on each skill.  You will want to make sure not to omit any critical step.  You will want to ensures that patient safety is maintained which also includes infection control and privacy.

State Requirements

The required minimum score for the CNA certification exam will vary from state to state.  Students will only have so many tries to get it right, without having to repeat the entire training again. 

Students wishing to pass the states CNA certification exam especially the clinical skills portion of the exam, will want to ensure that they develop the skills needed and gain confidence in their abilities to perform any skills that the skills evaluator will ask of you.