You’ve spent the previous six to 12-months studying textbooks and engaging in clinical training to prepare for your new career as a certified nursing assistant. Finally, the day comes where you graduate from your CNA training program and suddenly you’re thrust into the realization that the real work is about to begin. Throughout your training, you’ve been preparing for your state’s CNA examination. While every state features different examination procedures, when training is completed the real challenges begin.
The most popular CNA classes and programs will not only prepare you for the state examination, but also for the real-world job duties you’ll perform as a CNA. However, your career as a CNA hinges on successfully completing your exam. Therefore it is of utmost importance to pay attention during your CNA classes and training, and take detailed notes to study in preparation for your certification test. The guide below will help you prepare for your CNA exam.
Preparation for Examination
After graduation, take some time to enjoy your success. While CNA training isn’t longer in duration, its concentrated learning modules are far from simple to complete. Once you’ve reveled in your greatness for a moment, it’s time to begin preparing for the CNA examination. While every state features different eligibility requirements and exam specifications, the primary qualities of the exam are universal.
The first step in preparing for the exam is to review the Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook published by your state’s nursing board. This detailed CNA manual explains not only what’s expected of you as a CNA, but also examination topics. Use this handbook as a guide to streamline your study sessions.
After review, gauge your current knowledge base by taking a practice examination. Practice examinations are available through your nursing board as well as through professional third-party sources. Choose a practice examination that follows the current exam style and phrasing. Therefore, only choose a practice exam that’s published within the previous three years.
Upon completion, use your scores to narrow in your study focus on areas of weakness. This is perhaps the most effective method preparing for the CNA examination as it compartmentalizes your CNA knowledge and organizes it for easy recall during the actual exam. If you have questions regarding what practice exam is best, refer to your state’s Candidate Handbook.
Taking the CNA Exam
After registering and paying the examination fees, you will then be slotted for an exam time/date. We recommend showing up at least 30 minutes before your schedule start time, in order to be adequately prepared for the test to come. It is important to eat a health breakfast the morning of your exam, and perhaps even go on a brisk walk beforehand, to clear your mind. Lay off the caffeine, as it can make you jittery and agitated, which will not help your score (a good night’s rest is far more important than your AM coffee). Remember to review the exam requirements regarding permissible items, and plan to spend at least 3-5 hours taking the theoretical and clinical exam portions.
After a few weeks, exam results are mailed to you, or accessible via an online database. If you’ve passed all exam portions with a “Satisfactory” rating then you’re officially a CNA and may register with your state’s Nursing Aide Registry. Unfortunately, not every aspiring CNA passes the examination during their first go-round. If this is the case, then take your time to study sections marked “Unsatisfactory.” Most states allow you to re-take any exam portion up to three times; however, failure to pass within the allotted chances may require you to re-undergo an entire CNA training program before being able to re-test.