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10 Tips to Pass the CNA Test

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The state CNA test is the one major roadblock that’s keeping you from becoming an officially certified nursing assistant. So with something as important as this, you’ll want to make sure you are well prepared to ace the exam. But besides CNA test prep, there are a couple pieces of advice I’d like to give you so that you can do even better on the exam. So without further delay, here are 10 tips to pass the CNA test.

10 Tips to Pass the CNA Test

#1. Choose the right school

In order to know everything you’ll need for the CNA test, you need to choose a quality training program. This can be the determining factor of whether you have the skills needed to become a CNA or not, since your school will be teaching you everything you need to know. That’s why it’s important to do a little research about how effective the CNA training program is, what the pass rate is, and prior students’ experiences with the instructors. The school you’ll want to attend should also be approved by your state in meeting the standardized curriculum requirements, as this will allow you to qualify for the state comprehensive CNA test once you’ve completed the program.

Also consider taking online CNA classes for the knowledge/lecture portion (remember, a separate clinical/lab portion will have to be completed on-campus), as this will allow you to learn at your own pace while being able to go back to master all of the content when you want.

#2. Take practice tests beforehand

10 Tips to Pass the CNA Test - CNA Test Prep

To gain a firm grasp for the knowledge/lecture portion of the CNA test, try completing a few CNA practice tests before doing the real one. This can help you improve your confidence going in as well. So, we’ve put together a list here of some great CNA practice tests you can find around the web.

Useful CNA practice tests

#3. Use common sense and ethics

For the multiple choice section, if you ever get to a question that you don’t understand or know by heart, try using common sense and ethics to solve the problem. What seems like the right thing to do in the situation? Read through the choices carefully until you’ve found an answer that makes the most sense. This shouldn’t be an excuse to not study, however, but whenever taking a test there always seems to be a few that stumps you. So be sure to study and answer every question, even the ones you don’t know by using common sense and ethics.

#4. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast

You’ve probably heard it a billion times already: before a test, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast. So, we are just repeating what has probably been hammered into your skull so many times that you don’t take it very seriously. But yes, it’s extremely important to do both for optimal performance. A good night’s sleep ensures that your mind is well rested, which is necessary for critical thinking and pulling information out of memory for the CNA test. And you’ll want to pair that with a healthy breakfast that helps you to boost your mental capacity.

#5. Exercise your knowledge of safety, cross-contamination, and patient privacy

Throughout the CNA test, especially the clinical portion, you’ll want to make sure that you exercise what you’ve been taught about safety, cross-contamination, and patient privacy rights. Safety is all about safety for the patient, which means avoiding risk of injury. Cross-contamination can be a major issue as well, which is why you’ll want to eliminate any risk of cross-contamination as you work. This means doing things such as washing your hands, encouraging cleanliness, and preventing the spread of disease and infection. Lastly, you’ll want to exercise patient privacy rights as well, doing things such as closing curtains, closing doors, and keeping private information to yourself.

#6. Practice, practice, practice your skills!

10 Tips to Pass the CNA Test - Taking Blood PressureAs you may already know, the CNA test not only includes a multiple choice knowledge section but also a clinical skills evaluation as well, which some say is the most difficult part of the CNA exam. Depending on your state’s standards, you will be given a set of clinical skills out of everything you’ve been taught to complete (often 3-6 skills out of a total 25-30). So, in order to master this part of the exam, you’ll need to know all of your skills and the steps inside and out. And the only way to do that is to practice, practice, practice!

If you only know the steps to perform the skill but don’t practice it in real life, you won’t have the process ingrained in your memory. If you think you’ll be able to perform the skills needed perfectly on game day without prior practice, boy, will you be in for a surprise! So be sure you know how to follow all of the steps in order and practice your skills until they become second nature.

#7. Verbalize the steps as you do them

When you are doing the clinical portion of your CNA test, it can make it easier if you verbalize all of the steps as you do them so that you don’t forget all of the small things as well. For instance, if you are to measure blood pressure, you should treat the mannequin as if it were an actual patient. I know, it might seem a little awkward at first, but it can not only help you to remember the steps but it will also demonstrate your excellent communication skills in the process.

So, when you are measuring blood pressure, you should start by introducing yourself to the patient and explaining the procedure you will be undertaking. Verbalize that you will first test to see whether the patient has an elevated heart rate, and if everything is okay, explain that you want to place the patient in a comfortable position first. Next, explain what the cuff is and that it should cover about half of the upper arm. Keep explaining the steps throughout the process and you’ll find how smoothly things go.

#8. Be on time and prepare prior to test day

Pretty simple tip, right? Be on time and prepare prior to the CNA test. What’s so hard about that? If you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and eaten a healthy breakfast like we’ve mentioned above, you’ll have no problem with arriving on time for the CNA test. As for preparing prior, this basically means studying for the test consistently up until test day. This does NOT mean cramming the night before, but studying a little every day. You can do this by making flash cards, taking CNA practice tests and covering up the answers, practicing your clinical skills on family and friends, writing down important course notes, and reviewing the CNA handbook. By preparing for the CNA test beforehand, you’ll be able to stay calm while taking the test and not have to worry about anxiousness or being nervous.

#9. Have a positive attitude

10 Tips to Pass the CNA Test - Positive AttitudeThink positive thoughts and you will emit a positive attitude. And this help you get through both the multiple choice section as well as the clinical portion of the CNA test with ease. This might even help you through the clinical skills test in more ways than one. For instance, if you made a small mistake while performing a skill, you can let the proctor know you made a mistake and cheerfully ask the if you can try again. A positive attitude is also an essential quality needed to become a successful CNA, so just think of it as even more practice for when you actually get the job.

#10. Visualize your success

If you can’t see the end goal of what you are trying to achieve, it might make things harder for you, not only in concentrating on the smaller tasks of a larger objective but also in reducing the effectiveness of your actions. When you visualize success in your mind, you gain confidence in the things you do and can follow your intuition.