After completing your Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, program, there is one more hurdle to overcome before you can start applying for jobs. You must take and pass a state-approved licensing exam. Like most aspiring CNAs, you're probably nervous about sitting for it because so much is on the line. First, relax. As long as you study diligently for the exam and pay attention during classes, you should get through it easily. Like many, however, it may have been some time since you had to study for a test. Familiarize yourself with effective study strategies to ensure good results.
Five Study Strategies for Passing the CNA Exam
Keep these tips in mind to maximize your odds of passing the CNA exam the first time:
- Invest in a Study Guide - Sure, the Internet has tons of free resources for studying for the exam. As important as this is, however, it's well worth it to invest a little money in buying a decent study guide. The right guide will thoroughly explain the format, provide sample questions and answers or practice tests, and provide techniques for passing the conceptual and clinical portions of the exam.
- Schedule Study Time - As a busy adult, it is easy to let things slip through the cracks. Don't just promise yourself you'll study every day. Sit down and carve out specific times exclusively for studying. Put them in your calendar and obey them to ensure you consistently study prior to taking the exam.
- Take Online Practice Tests - Even if your study guide includes practice tests, don't stop there. The Internet abounds with free practice exams that closely mirror the types of questions that are typically asked on these exams. Because they are multiple-choice questions, taking several practice tests will help you learn how to answer them properly when the time comes.
- Learn the Format Well - Avoid being surprised when you sit down to take the exam by learning everything you can about its format. Although CNA exams vary from state to state, most include approximately 70 multiple-choice questions, and you usually have two hours to complete them. The clinical section typically involves demonstrating five skills like taking blood pressure readings and feeding patients, and you're usually allotted about 30 minutes to complete it. Once you understand the format, you can study more effectively by timing yourself while performing skills and attempting to answer 70 or more questions within the time limit.
- Additional Tips - Keep traditional studying advice in mind to ensure you're confident and ready to go on the day of the test. Flash cards are immensely helpful. Use them to focus on areas where you need a little more practice. If possible, find a study partner. A fellow student from your class is ideal. Schedule study sessions, and quiz one another regularly in the days leading up to the exam. Make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before, and eat a light, but nutritious breakfast. Most importantly of all, don't be too hard on yourself. As long as you've been diligent about studying, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Taking the CNA exam is a big deal, but don't let nervousness or anxiety make you stumble. A good remedy for such feelings is being as prepared as possible, so start studying as soon as you can. When the day arrives, you'll be ready to take and pass this crucial exam.