Certified Nursing Assistant / Aide Exam Review
- an exerpt from The Nursing Assistant / Aide Practice Exam by Alene Burke, RN, MSN and Nurse Educator.
According to federal law, CNAs must attend at least 75 hours of CNA training in order to become a CNA. Some states require more than 75 hours. At least 16 of the 75 training hours are clinical hours that involve the actual learning of “hands-on” skills. People who have completed CNA training are eligible to take the CNA exam in their state. The costs of these examinations, or tests, vary across the country, but it is typically a nominal fee like $100.
Your state CNA Registry issues you your CNA certificate only when you pass both the written and the skills competency portions of the state exam. You can elect to take the written portion of the exam orally, if you decide to do so. It can also be taken in Spanish.
THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A CNA CERTIFICATION
A CNA certificate is a very valued and treasured thing to have. It is something you want to have when you look for a job. As stated above, the major difference between a nursing assistant and a CNA is the fact that a CNA has had the required education and they have been able to show the world that they have successfully passed their state CNA test. Although nursing assistants do not have to have a CNA by law in hospitals, most hospitals only hire nursing assistants who have their CNAs because they want to give their patients the highest quality care possible.
THE CNA TEST
All CNA tests have two parts, a written or oral knowledge part and the skills part. You must successfully pass both parts of this test in order to get your CNA certificate. Typically, you will get either a pass or fail grade on the written/oral portion of the CNA test as well as the skills performance part of the test.
The written or oral knowledge part of the examination has between 50 and 70 multiple choice questions. Most states have 60 questions. There is only one correct answer for each of the questions. You have 90 minutes, or an hour and a half, to complete the knowledge part of the test. Below, you will learn more about the knowledge part of the test, some helpful study tips and the opportunity to take a 300 question CNA practice test.
The skills competency portion of the test will require that you perform several CNA tasks or skills on an actual patient or resident, a mannequin or a “patient actor”. You will be assigned a number of skills, up to five, for the skills evaluation part of this test. Most states test five skills. These skills have critical elements, or necessary steps, that you must do in order to pass the skill. For example, you could fail the skill if you do not wash your hands before every patient contact and/or you do not give the patient an explanation of what you will be doing before you do it. Below, you will learn about the skills that can be tested as well as some helpful tips to success.
These tests are conducted in all states. There are a number of testing companies that conduct the test, including the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program (NNAAP), Prometric and Pearson Vue. Check with your CNA school or your state’s CNA Registry for the testing schedule in your state.