Rigorous training and examinations are required to make certain that a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) will provide the very best in health care. If you are getting ready to begin your CNA career, you may be nervous about taking the state exam, but there are steps you can take before and during the exam that will increase your chance of passing.
Tips to follow before going to CNA State Exam
- Choose your CNA training program carefully. If you haven’t yet chosen a training program, look at the rates of passing the state exam that their CNA graduates have. If they have a low percentage of students passing the test, then chances are good that they are not teaching everything they should be.
- Study as you proceed with the class. One easy way to study as you go is to make flashcards to help you learn medical terminology and quiz yourself during breakfast and before bed. Tiny steps like that will help you memorize the information more efficiently.
- Memorize your specific state’s client rights. Health care facilities greatly emphasize this aspect of health care and you will be tested on your knowledge of them.
- Understand and memorize all aspects of controlling infection in the health care setting. A significant amount of your state exam will cover these steps.
- After the course is over, review your course material. Simply reading through the material will help put the overview of the CNA job into your mind before you take the exam.
- Take practice tests. This is an especially important step if you have difficulty taking exams.
- Finally, you’ll arrive at exam day. The exam consists of a written test and a skills test, and students must past both parts in order to get their license. While the written portion will test you simply on the knowledge you have, many people who do have the skills make simple mistakes that lower their score on the skills portion.
Skills needed to clear CNA state exam
- Practice excellent grooming skills on the day of the exam. This is especially important in terms of your nails. Fake nails and nail polish should not be worn as they do not conform to the acceptable dress code of health care facilities.
- Listen very carefully to each task that your examiner asks you to do.
- Always remember to wash your hands before handling the patient and after any procedure that requires it.
- Do not forget the indirect skills portion. This includes aspects such as privacy, communication with the patient and making sure the patient has a call light. These are skills that you will not be told to do, but will fail the exam if you do not include them while you are doing the requested tasks.
- Make sure you use the right equipment correctly for each task. If you are taking an oral temperature, make sure you use the correct type of thermometer.
- Remember your safety measures. Always wear gloves when needed, use the transfer belt when moving a patient and lock the wheelchair when transferring a patient.
Successfully completing the CNA state exam is the final component to a strenuous training program. As long as you learn, review and practice your skills, the exam can be a way for you to be rewarded for all of the effort you put into training. That reward will come in the form of a license that will allow you to embark on an equally challenging, yet rewarding, career in the health care system.
What to Expect When You Take Your CNA Exam
After you complete your CNA courses, it will be time to take your CNA exam. For many people this can be a stressful time, especially because they don’t know what to expect at the testing center. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare in advance so that you can take and pass your CNA exam and get to work.
On the day of your test plan to be at the testing center for about eight hours, arrive a little early to give yourself time to relax before the test starts and to ensure that you won’t be late. It will be a long day, so dress comfortably and pack a lunch. It is generally recommend
ed that you wear scrubs, non slip shoes and that you wear a watch with a second hand. It is also a good idea to bring a pen and pencil.
You will also be required to bring various forms with you to the testing site. These vary by state and can include a completed CNA application, processing fees, two forms of ID including a picture ID and a social security card and certificate of completion from your CNA training site.
The CNA test will consist of two parts. You will need to demonstrate your book knowledge in a written test and your practical knowledge in a skills test. In order to obtain your CNA certificate, you need to pass both sections. If you fail one of the two sections, you can generally retest and only take the one section over. You are allowed 3 tries on each section which must be completed within 2 years after your CNA course is completed. If you are unable to pass both sections of the test in 3 tries, you will need to complete CNA training again.
The best way to pass your CNA test is to choose a great training program. The better the training program, the better students generally perform on the CNA test. In addition to taking a high quality training course, you should also take time to study all course materials carefully before the test.
Taking your CNA exam is an important step to starting your career as a CNA. Preparation is important and will help you to pass this test. Above all, remember to relax and take your time on this exam. Once you pass, you will receive a Certificate of Completion which will allow you to get a job and start working while you wait for your official state issued certificate to arrive.
CNA Exam – The Written Portion
One portion of this two-part exam consists of the written portion. This portion will gauge your understanding of basic nursing. And the best way to get ready for the written portion, which is multiple choice, is to answer sample questions. There are several ways to find sample questions for practice.
Do an Internet Search
Performing a simple internet search through Google or the search engine of your choice is a quick way to find sample questions. There are a slew of websites that contain study CNA tests for those who need access to possible test questions. If you download these sample tests and save them, you will be able to read over them or even print them to get a feel of the CNA test-taking experience.
Previous Tests and Materials
No matter the institution from where you received your CNA training, chances are you have amassed a huge amount of tests and study materials. These materials are a goldmine of knowledge you can use to review the information seen on the CNA written exam.
Form a Study Group
It is normal for Certified Nursing Students to feel apprehensive about their exam. It can be highly beneficial to study with a fellow student who also feels they need extra practice before the “big day.” Doing this will boost your confidence and give you the opportunity to correct your mistakes. The end result will be a more calm and composed demeanor when completing the actual test.
The Other Part of the Exam — Clinical Skills
Even though you may be preoccupied with the written portion, do not neglect to review the procedures you will be required to show during the clinical skills portion, such as repositioning a bed-ridden patient or taking vital signs. However, you have probably been introduced to these skills during your CNA coursework. Also, the way you communicate and treat your patients will be examined by the person administering the exam.
CNA Exam Practical Portion
The CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, exam entails two parts, one of which is practical and the other written. After the exam is complete, the certified examiner will grade test takers on their performance of the practical portion. This allows prospective nurses to immediately know if they passed their exam.
More About the Practical Portion
Most nursing students find the practical portion of the CNA exam to be the most difficult as it tests their abilities in a clinical setting. During the exam, the students will work with a “patient” in order to demonstrate a wide variety of skills learned while taking their coursework.
Common Careless Errors
While the student is performing the necessary tasks, the certified examiner will observe and evaluate them every step of the way. Careless errors can cause knowledgeable students to fail the CNA exam on the spot. A few examples of common careless errors are not washing their hands prior to entering the patients room or forgetting to knock on the model patient’s door before coming into the room.
Another important yet overlooked part of the CNA exam is the student’s demeanor. The certified examiner must make sure that the prospective nurse is capable of keeping a calm facade during stressful work situations. It is recommended for test takers to remain composed, calm and above all, make the patient’s dignity a top priority.
CNA test takers will be faced with random theoretical patient cases they are required to handle, such as examining a possible heart attack patient. Students may also be asked to perform tasks like transferring the model patient from their hospital bed to a wheelchair. During these tasks, the students will be carefully watched by the examiner who will be observing how carefully the student handles the patient.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
Those who chose to become a certified nursing assistant will enjoy a wonderfully fruitful and rewarding career once they pass their CNA exam and obtain the necessary state certification. And it is possible to become a CNA only months following high school graduation.