What to Do if You Fail CNA Licensing Exam

What to Do if You Fail CNA Licensing Exam
Last Updated: |   Staff Writers |   Exam

Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, programs prepare students to be CNAs. They are also designed to help them pass their state licensing exams with ease. As long as you pay attention, do the work, and study regularly, you should excel in your program and emerge with the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Unfortunately, things don't always work out that way. People can and do fail their CNA exams. The good news is they are not out of luck. By learning about your options in the event that you fail the exam, you'll know exactly how to proceed and can quickly recover from this brief setback.

Steps to Take if You Fail Your CNA Exam

Even if you feel as prepared as can be, you might flounder and fail your exam. If so, keep these points in mind:

  • Examine Your Mistakes - At most exam centers, exams are graded immediately, and students get their results right away. Wrong answers are clearly marked. If you get your exam back and find that you have failed, keep your copy for future reference. Highlight the questions you got wrong and use them to form the basis for your new studying efforts.
  • Study More - If you are not able to retake the exam right away, get ready to do a lot more studying. Devote as much time to going over your missed answers again and again. More importantly, make sure you grasp why your answers were incorrect. Enlist the help of a friend to quiz you on the incorrect questions. Finally, if you cannot retake the test for a while, refresh your memory about other topics to ensure you still grasp them while taking the test.
  • Retake One Section - In most cases, you only have to retake the section you failed. The exam consists of a multiple-choice section and a practical section where you demonstrate various skills for an evaluator. Students tend to fail the written section more often than the skills section. Either way, you should only have to retake the section you failed. Once you've passed both sections, you will be good to go.
  • Keep the Deadline in Mind - Unless your testing center lets you retake the exam immediately, you will have to return to retake the section you failed. You'll be eager to earn your license, so you will probably take it again fairly quickly. Still, keep in mind that you typically must retake it within two years. If you wait longer than that, you may have to go back and complete a program again. Also, you are given three chances to retake the CNA exam. With any luck, you'll pass it on your second try.
  • Understand What to Do if You Fail Three Times - Failing a section of the CNA exam three times is very rare, but it does happen. If it happens to you, please understand that you will have to repeat your program. This means you have to enroll again, pay tuition again, and complete the entire program one more time. Needless to say, this is the worst-case scenario, and very few aspiring CNAs have to do this.

If you have not already completed your CNA program, make sure to put your best effort forward while doing so. Study specifically for the exam too. Lots of practice tests are available online. Finally, remember that it's not the end of the world if you fail the CNA exam the first time, and it won't negatively impact your career in any way.

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