Until you pass the CNA certification test, you can’t put your career into high gear. Sure, you might be able to GET a job before you pass the test, but you will only have a couple of months to take and pass the test. If you don’t, you won’t be able to have any contact with patients. And, you cannot be listed on the Nurse Aide Registry in your state until you pass the test.
The message is clear – if you are dreaming of becoming a CNA, you have got to get certified as soon as possible!
So, how can you make passing the CNA certification test easier?
Just take a deep breath, and follow these six tips:
The CNA certification test consists of two different parts – the written section (or oral) and the hands-on section. If you want to pass the test, you will have to be able to show that you are an expert on both sections on the same day.
The written test consists of a bunch of multiple-choice questions (the exact number will depend on the standards in your specific state or province), and you will have a certain time limit to answer them all. The questions will test your knowledge of medical terms, patient care and basic medical theories. The number of questions you need to get right depends on your state’s requirements.
The hands-on section is designed to show what kind of physical skills you possess. Five skills will be chosen at random from a list of 25 of the most common CNA skills. Be prepared to do things like dress wounds, make beds, groom a patient and take vitals – all in front of a special examiner who will be grading your work.
2. Don’t overlook the little things
CNAs have to be incredibly thorough. After all, your job will be to take care of patients who are sick or injured! They may have special needs and limitations, so if you are not thorough, it can impact the way they feel and progress through treatment. That’s why the CNA certification test focuses on the nitty-gritty, in addition to the “big stuff.”
For example, check out this sample test question:
“When assisting a client in learning how to use a cane, the nurse aid stands:
A.) Approximately two feet directly behind the client
B.) About one foot from the client’s strong side
C.) About one foot from the client’s weak side
D.) Slightly behind the client on the client’s weak side”
The difference in all of these answers only comes out to a few inches in either direction, but if you make a mistake, your patient can fall down and get hurt!
3. Give yourself plenty of time to study
Because there are so many little things to remember, you will need to give yourself plenty of time to go over it all before you take your CNA certification test.
What should you do with all of that time?
- Take advantage of everything that your training program has to offer. If they give you study guides and practice tests, use them!
- Even if you’ve taken some practice tests, look for more online. The more questions you get to see in advance, the better!
- Make flashcards for your vocabulary words, so that you can quiz yourself.
- Watch CNA videos online so that you can see exactly how tasks need to be done. Then, get a friend or family member to practice on.
4. Practice out loud
When you’re practicing for the hands-on portion of the certification test, you are going to have a lot of steps to remember. The best way not to overlook anything is to say them out loud as you do them. Saying things like, “washing hands,” “setting wheelchair brake,” and “raising bed side rails” makes it easier to commit all of the steps to memory.
5. Talk to people who have already been there and done that
If you met someone during your internship who is already a Certified Nursing Assistant, ask them for some tips. Or, a quick Google search will turn up all kinds of forums and message boards where you can talk to people who have already successfully made it through the CNA certification test.
Hearing them talk about their experiences can make yours a whole lot easier!
6. Don’t panic
Of course you want to pass your test on the first try. However, the world won’t end if you fail – so do not heap a bunch of pressure on yourself. If you panic on test day, you are more likely to forget something important. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail your test. You can always take it again.
One important thing to remember – depending on the rules in your specific state or province, you can fail the CNA certification test a couple of times before you are required to take the entire certification course again.
National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) – https://www.ncsbn.org/1721.htm
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) – https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm