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CNA State Exam Tips

CNA State Exam Tips

Congratulations! You have passed your CNA class, Lecture (yawn ), Skills (yay), and Clinicals. You were able to take what you’ve learned in class and apply it to real-life situations. All while caring for some of the most beautiful people in the world… the elder population. It doesn’t matter how long it took you to get there; 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 1st try, 2nd try, or even a 3rd. What matters is that you didn’t give up. You stayed the course. You worked hard with great determination and conquered. Whew! Exhale, stand proud and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Now that you have your Certificate of Completion in hand, your next step is to register for the state exam with the Authorized Administrator in your state. Everything is computerized nowadays so you may register in the comfort of your own home, or for best results, register with the assistance of a representative from the CNA training program you attended.

Instructions on how to set up an account, and register for the state exam

Prometric - Follow the instructions for registration information and then come back for the tips

Headmaster - Find your state for specific registration instructions and then come back for the tips

Pearson Vue/Credentia

For instructions on how to set up an account, and register for the state exam, please consult your Blue Candidate Handbook (page 2).

After completing a Washington state-approved training course, you will create an online account with Credentia’s CNA365 system @ Test Takers, click the “CNA365 Login” button and select “Sign-Up.” Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Payment is in the form of a credit card or pre-paid credit card (American Express, MasterCard, Visa, ACH/ electronic check, or electronic voucher). Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable once submitted.
  • For exams at test center, you must make an online reservation via a PC (smart phones and tablets are not recommended) at least ten calendar days prior to the test date of your choosing.
  • For Written (or Oral) online exams, you may schedule an exam as early as the following day depending on exam availability.
  • You are responsible for completing an online application in CNA365. You may ask someone from your nurse aide training program or facility employer for assistance in completing the application. If you need help or have any questions about the application process.

Exam fees are listed on page 3. Fees increased on February 1, 2023.

Your Blue Candidate Handbook not only lists and describes the 22 skills you will be tested on, but it also holds important information regarding the following:

  • State exam registration
  • Fees
  • Accommodations
  • State test site locations
  • Absence and refund policy
  • What to bring to the test
  • What to wear
  • What to expect
  • Proper identification
  • How to file a grievance
  • So much more

Please review your Candidate Handbook, from beginning to end, and become very familiar with its contents.

Exam Day | Test Site

(page 5)

Arrive at least 30 minutes before test time, or you will not be allowed to enter. The testing day will be divided into two parts. (page 2) The first half will be the written portion in which you will have 2 hours to complete 70 multiple-choice questions. This written portion is available in both English and Spanish. You will be given a 15-minute warning when 2 hours are almost up. The second half will be the skills portion where you will be tested on 5 out of the 22 skills that you learned in your CNA class. The first skill will be Hand Washing, whereas the remaining 4 skills will be generated at random. You will have 30 minutes to complete the 5 skills and will be given a 5-minute warning when the 30 minutes are almost up. If you arrive too late for the written portion, please at least request the Skills portion so you don’t miss the entire test day. You must arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled skills exam, or you will also forfeit that portion.

Arrive early. Preschedule that day off work. Arrange childcare and transportation in advance. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat a healthy breakfast. Stay hydrated.

Plan to be at the test site ALL day. Arrival time is usually 7:30 am. Departure time could be anywhere between 2 pm and 8 pm. This depends on the number of candidates being tested, computer issues, acts of nature, and so forth.

Exam Day | Online

(page 4)

A live proctor will monitor you through the webcam at the location of your choice as long as it's in a quiet, private, and secure area. Online exams offer more scheduling flexibility than a test center.

Visit for information on how to prepare for your online exam.

PLEASE NOTE: Pearson Vue/Credentia does NOT issue refunds so schedule accordingly

Your test date may be scheduled for 2 or 3 months out. You must continue to study/review/practice while you wait so that the information does not get lost in your memory bank.

Written Test Tips

While you wait for your test date;

  • Continue to review your class notes and textbook
  • Utilize the online practice tests
  • Take the practice test located in your Candidate handbook
  • Review your terms, definitions, abbreviations, conversion chart, and military time information
  • Hire a Coach or a Tutor for one on one help to assist you in working through your challenges

Test day: relax, read each question carefully, and confirm that you have chosen the correct answer prior to moving on. Don’t rush. You have 2 hours to complete the written exam.

Skills Testing Tips

Review and practice your skills while you wait for your test date

  1. Practice at home with friends and family
  2. Arrange practice groups at your CNA school
  3. Review the skills steps
  4. Review and memorize supplies needed for each skill
  5. Purchase or borrow a manual blood pressure cuff and stethoscope to practice with
  6. Consult your program instructor for tips, updates, and concerns
  7. Take 5 random skills and time yourself doing them. Arrange a combo of wet and dry skills
  8. Hire a Coach or a Tutor for one on one help to assist you in working through your challenges

Use your “Corrections”

Candidate: “I’d like to make a correction”

Evaluator: “What would you like to correct?”

Candidate: “I forgot to remove the gown”

Evaluator: “When should you have removed the gown?”

Candidate: “I should have removed the gown before I started to bathe the patient”

Evaluator: “Do that now”

Candidate: MAKE YOUR CORRECTION then continue the skill where you left off

Be aware of your safety and infection control steps as some of them cannot be corrected (such as applying or removing gloves at the designated times). PLEASE CONSULT YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Before and After Skill Steps

Some call them “Befores and Afters” while others call them "Muscle Memory” steps.

These are the introductory and closing steps that must be done before and after ALL patient contact skills. You will learn these steps in your training program

Evaluator questions

You will have the opportunity to ask the evaluator questions prior to testing, as long as they are not “skills steps” related.

For example:

  1. How do the wheelchair locks work?
  2. Which button on the remote is for lowering the bed?
  3. Where are the toothbrushes located?

Test day: Relax, take a couple of deep breaths, and carefully read through your list of 5 skills. Familiarize yourself with the testing room and location of skills supplies. Run the steps through your head before and during your test. Set a good steady pace; don’t slow down until you are done with your last skill. Remember: SPEED & ACCURACY!

To recap:

Review and practice consistently from the day you graduate until the day you test. It’s very easy to forget the little details during the waiting period. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will remember everything 3 months down the road without an occasional revisit. Stay in touch with your classmates and your instructor to practice, refresh and ask questions.

You worked hard and you’re almost there. Stay the course. Finish strong and be the best caregiver, nurse, or business owner that you can be. Those who are placed in your care deserve nothing less than your best.

Believe in yourself.

“If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm”

#LearnWithNicole #MissNicoleCNAInstructor