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What the CNA Test Is Like and What to Study

When you find yourself in the process of accomplishing your CNA training program, you may speculate what the state examination is like. To obtain the  test results you deserve, it is important to understand what the exam consists of as well as how to take practice exams to better your chances of passing. With the proper expectations and the right learning materials, you can put the knowledge you gained from your training program to work and obtain your certification. Do your research, study the correct topics, and pass your certified nursing assistant test the very first time you take it.

Elements of the CNA Exam

When you are researching what precisely the state nurse aide test is like, you will need to evaluate your own state's requirements. Each state creates their particular CNA exam based on what precisely the state requires you to have knowledge of to earn certification. Every nursing assistant exam is comprised of two different components: written and a skills portion. Test takers are required to pass both the written and clinical skills area of the exam to receive their certification. The written test questions are usually  a multiple choice format that include roughly around 70 questions. The skills part of the examination will require the student to show competency in performing 5 hands-on skills. These different skills are selected from a large list of skills at random. Because individuals will not know which skills that they will be tested on, you will need to become familiar with each skill to pass your exam. The administrator will grade the skills tested based on the students ability to demonstrate the skills. The percentage required to pass the exam will differ in each state.

Skills to Practice for Your Exam

For those who have a CNA exam scheduled and you are not comfortable with their hands-on skills it is important to practice. If you are not sure what skills to practice refer to the list below and become familiar with each task:


  • Calculating a patient's pulse
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • Performing motion exercises for the knee, ankle, and shoulder
  • Catheter care

Its important to focus on the areas you are struggling with prior to your exam date to ensure you are competent.

Some training providers will offer exam study guides and study sessions prior to your exam date.  It  best to take advantage of this if it is being offered.  However if your instructor doesn’t offer this, you may want to consider investing in a reliable CNA test study guide. Taking a practice tests and getting together with classmates to practice the skills portion can help. When you and your classmates work together you can help each other build your skills and knowledge. Study, study, study and pass your test the first time. If you fail one portion of the test, some states will allow you to re-test the component you failed. However, you will only have so many times to do this, if you keep failing you may have to take the exam again.