Taking the CNA Exam — The 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.

Composure Counts

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.

Theoretical Cases

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.



I have been a CNA in the state of California since 1995. One of my passions in life is to help people and help others who want to expand their careers and become CNAs.

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