So, you’ve finished your classroom lessons and your hands-on training during your externship. You have worked hard to become a CNA. Soon you’ll be a healthcare professional, making a difference in the lives of your patients.
But first: You need to pass your state’s CNA Certification Examination.
There are two parts to the exam. The written test is based on information from the classroom courses. The test has 100 questions. You’ll need to get 80 of them correct to pass the written portion. There are some good practice tests online, including two (with 200 questions each!) at CNAClasses.us.
Nearly everyone agrees that the skills portion of the exam was harder. Demonstrating procedures in front of a stranger can cause a case of stage-fright. Don’t be nervous, we have some tips for you. We have looked everywhere and gathered advice from other CNAs who have already taken the exam. They were just as worried as you may be, but all succeeded and are now enjoying their new career.
Read these tips from the new CNAs to make your turn less stressful:
• “For every skill, don’t forget SAFETY, INFECTION CONTROL, and PRIVACY. Lock the wheelchair, wash your hands, and close the curtain.” (Isla.Raquel, VA)
• “Don’t forget to lower the bed, ask if the patient is comfortable, and provide the call light.” (Lindsey R. MI)
• “Watch videos on YouTube to see how procedures are done. You’ll see some hints that aren’t in the books that are helpful.” (S.N., MA)
• “I made up this acronym to help me remember what to do. Before skill: KICK. K= knock, I= introduce, C= pull the Curtain & K= Know the procedure you are about to do. After skill: LCH. L= lower bed, C= call light & H= wash Hands.” (Isla.Raquel, VA)
• “Don’t forget to wash your hands at the end of every skill.” (Carolina, NC)
• “If you make a mistake, stop right away and tell the evaluator. Explain what you did wrong and what you should have done. Do it before you wash your hands.” (Renee, NY)
• “Always knock on the door and introduce yourself when the skill involves a patient. Explain every step, this will help you remember. Make sure you clean all equipment you used and put it where it belongs.” (Mark, NY)
• “Don’t be embarrassed to talk to the mannequin like a real person. Act confident.” (Allnurses.com)
A few other practical reminders from the University of Kansas:
1. Get a good night’s sleep before your test.
2. Eat a breakfast that includes protein. Your brain needs it!
3. Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
4. Wear comfortable clothing. (Note: You’re required to wear flat, non-skid shoes with closed toes. Scrubs are optional.)
5. Be on time! You should be at the test center 30 minutes before your appointment.
Hopefully, you find these hints reassuring. Just pause, take a deep breath…and relax. Picture yourself passing your examination with flying colors. You’re almost there!
Try reviewing the course material on CNA testing protocols from our course library.
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