Once you have successfully completed your nursing assistant training, you need to get your certification, which entails passing the certified nursing assistant (CNA) competency exam. Preparation for this exam involves a combination of careful study and time to practice beforehand.
Here are some tips to help make sure you’re ready to take and pass the CNA exam.
1. Set Aside Time to Study
While this may seem like an obvious step, many people neglect to take ample time to study. Try to schedule an hour or two a day to make a difference and mark it on your calendar. Also, make sure that you can go to a quiet space where you won’t be distracted.
2. Make Use of a Study Guide
A good CNA certification exam study guide will be able to help you adequately prepare in addition to studying. The ideal study guide will be in the same format as the actual exam, provide sample questions or practice tests for CNAs, advise you on good test-taking techniques to help ensure success, and provide relevant information that will be included on the test.
Study guides should be available both online and in bookstores, and ask your instructor or peers for recommendations.
3. Know the Exam Format from Top to Bottom
The CNA certification program will include both a written exam portion and a hands-on clinical skills assessment on the same day, both of which you must pass to receive certification.
Exams will vary depending on the state, but most require 70 multiple-choice questions for the written part, with a two-hour time limit. The skills assessment involves five hands-on practical skills that students typically have twenty-five to thirty minutes to complete, which could include feeding a patient, recording blood pressure, and changing beds.
4. Take a Practice Test
Supplementing the study guide, take a practice test to stay fully prepared. Taking a practice test can relieve the stress associated with test-taking, helping you feel more confident when it comes time to take the actual exam. Try to find a practice test that matches your state’s format.
5. Relax and Stay Rested
The less stressed you are, the better you’re likely to perform on the test. Eliminate anxiety by relaxing and resting, and if you’ve followed these other steps before taking this one, you’ll likely find yourself passing the exam with flying colors.
All five of these steps are integral to a positive CNA exam experience. You’ll likely find yourself performing exactly the way you want to if you take plenty of time out for studying, taking practice exams, and resting before the big day comes.
If you need extra help, you can always ask for the assistance of one of your mentors or fellow CNAs who may be able to share more knowledge about what to expect on the exam. Remember, being prepared and relaxed are the two most important keys to succeeding on any exam, and the CNA exam is no exception.