A to Z Guide to Understanding CNA State Exam

The role of a certified nursing assistant is a remarkable one. They perform one of the most essential duties of taking care of the health of the patients and elderly people. Talented and extremely skilled employees are required for this post. Evaluation of the knowledge and the talent of the aspirants are checked by the certified nursing assistant state exam.

This exam is conducted after the completion of a certified nursing aide course. This test is also called a National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). The main aim of this exam is to judge the knowledge and skills of the candidate, which they have gained during the training session.

There will be two exams, the skills exam and the written exam.

The skills test will evaluate your practical knowledge gained from the clinical sessions and the written test will test your theoretical knowledge learned from the classes. You may also enroll in online training programs and give the online CNA certification exam to get certified.

As soon as you clear the exam you will be listed in the registry of your state as a certified nursing assistant and you can then start looking for job opportunities in healthcare facilities.

Eligibility Criteria for CNA Examination

Everyone is not allowed to appear for these exams. Certain pre-requisites should be fulfilled by the candidates before appearing for the examination. They are mentioned below:

  • Age: The minimum age requirement is 18 years. However, this may differ from one state to another. Though in most of the states the age requirement is 18, few states such as California provide admission to the students, who have completed 16 years of age.
  • Educational Qualifications: Completion of a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) is obligatory. This educational requirement is compulsory to ensure that all the students lie on the same page.
  • Background Checks: This requirement needs to be fulfilled to ensure that the candidate does not possess any criminal records. The background checks are usually performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Medical Checkups: Medical check-up is necessary to make sure that the student does not suffer from any dreadful or contagious disease that may harm the other patients. Hence, a complete physical examination of the person is done before providing them a license. One such medical test conducted is the tuberculosis test.
  • Completion of the CNA Training: The nursing assistant training is conducted by many nursing schools, hospitals, community colleges, and other health care organizations. It is advisable to seek admission only in accredited and well-reputed training centers for the best quality training. The duration of all the program is 75 hours in most states. This training can be pursued either through classroom training or online mode. Some of the nursing schools also conduct free CNA classes to reduce the burden of the training fees and all the deserving candidates get an opportunity to become a nursing aide. During training, the candidates are taught all the duties and responsibilities of a certified medication aide. The duties may include changing the bed linens, conducting vital tests, providing the patients with food and medicines from time to time, and maintaining the hygiene of the patients. Both theoretical and practical sessions are conducted.

Examination Fees

Students will have to pay the required examination fees before appearing for the exam. The fees may vary from one state to another.

Given below are the fees of some of the states for the CNA certification exam.

CNA Examination Fees
Florida USD 160
Alaska USD 50
Connecticut USD 110
Illinois USD 60
Georgia USD 108

CNA Exam Pattern

Certified nursing assistant exam pattern is the same throughout the United States, as there is a theoretical exam followed by a clinical skill exam. There might be a difference in the number of questions asked in the written examination.

  • Theoretical Exam: The theoretical exam includes 60-70 multiple choice questions based on the knowledge that you gained during the classroom lectures. This exam is conducted to check the candidate’s theoretical concept of nursing.
  • Clinical Skill Exam: During the practical session, you will be given a set of 25 questions from which you have to demonstrate any 5 skills in front of the examiner. This practical test is conducted to check the skill of the candidate and how competent they are for being awarded a nursing certification degree.

Theoretical Exam

In a theoretical exam the student must have theoretical information about:

  • The human body mechanism
  • Moving patients
  • Bathing and feeding procedures
  • Handle different medical equipment’s

They should also have information about the admission and discharge procedures, as well as other documentation.

The theoretical test consists of 70 multiple-choice questions along with ten pre-test questions to verify the arithmetical knowledge of the students. It is followed by an oral exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions and ten word-recognition questions.

Clinical Skill Exam

The clinical skill test is closely observed by a nursing examiner. The student has to present his abilities and skills including

  • Hand washing procedures
  • Helping the patient with the daily living activities
  • Moving and repositioning the patient
  • Measuring the vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature) etc.

A student has to pass both the exams to become a certified nursing assistant. If a student fails in the exam, then they can re-appear for a maximum of 3 times. If they do not clear at the third attempt, then they have to again undergo the training session.

What will happen if the Candidate fails in a certified nurse aide Exam?

If the candidate fails in the exam for the first time, then they will be provided 2 more attempts to appear for the exam. But, if not cleared in the third attempt, then they have to go through the full training session once again.

How Does the Candidate Get Informed about the Examination?

The candidates are intimated beforehand about the date and venue of the exam through email, therefore the candidate must provide the correct contact details.

Formalities for Certification After the Exam

Before the certification, candidate need to do some formalities such as

  • The applicant has to fill a state application form at the Nursing Aide Registry licensing authority. The candidate has to sign, notarize, and then send this application form to the State Licensing Office.
  • One may require to fill up a training verification form to ensure that the training course that they have attended is a part of the credited program. The application form will then be sent to the Nurse Aide Registry to support the applicant’s license.
  • One needs to undergo background and medical checks. For the background check, the applicant has to fill a fingerprint card at the Department of Public Safety to pass the criminal background check.

After these procedures are finished, the license application has to be approved by the local board of nursing. The application will be processed in four to eight weeks and the applicant will be informed through an e-mail or a letter.

The rules regarding the retests and the frequency at which one can re-appear may differ from one state to the other. Students must check about the same with their state health department.

Advantages of CNA Exam

  • Obtain CNA certification
  • Obtain CNA license that will enable you to get a job of a certified nurse aide in any health care industry of the state
  • Obtain the skills required to become a certified medication aide

CNA Job Opportunities After the Exam

Most colleges and universities have an agent to help the students in placing them in different medical settings as per their experience and workplace expectations. For home health aides, there is a national certification that is administered by the National Association for Home Care.

The Healthcare sector has many opportunities for individuals who want to pursue a stable and lucrative career.

Certified nursing assistant jobs are high in-demand among such aspirants as they open up many avenues and also provide an opportunity to earn high salary at the beginning of your career. CNA certification training is required to clear the examination to become a certified nursing assistant in a healthcare facility.

Training is provided in schools and colleges which constitute classes and practical sessions that will help you become a successful professional nursing aide.

The certification is the first step towards a career in the nursing and healthcare sector and this helps you get listed in the registry of your state which would further increase your job opportunities.

You should be careful in looking for schools or colleges which are accredited as training from a non-accredited school or college would not give you an advantage.

Tips to Clear Certified Nurse Aide Exam

It is important to clear both the theoretical and practical exams to get the nursing assistant certification. There are some points that you need to consider, as it will help you in effectively clearing the exam.

  • Practice answers to all the different type of questions before appearing for the final examination
  • Be clear will all the basic concept of nursing and health care
  • Wash your hands before demonstrating the skills to the examiner
  • Do not enter the room of the patient without knocking at the door during the practical test demonstration
  • Be careful and attentive while handling the patient’s door during the practical test demonstration
  • Read and understand the questions carefully then answer the question in an effective manner

One of the best ways to score good marks in the nursing aide competency tests is to attempt several practice tests. One such organization that conducts practice tests is the Prometric. Its official site comprises of several practice questions that have a paper pattern similar to the final test papers.

Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Cram

Constant practice helps you gain the confidence to appear for the final exams. Prometric has got its testing centers across several regions of the United States of America. There imply certain fees for every practice test you undertake.

Besides, there are certain free practice tests as well. Internet is the source where several practice question papers are available. In fact, we have several free practice test as well as a complete CNA study guide on our website here.

There are many books, guides, and test papers available in the market. There is a lot of online exam preparation material available that you can download free of cost.

Certified Nursing Aide Exam Books

Let us have a look at some of the common books that will help to clear the certified nursing aide examination.

  • Name of the book: CNA Exam Secrets Study Guide: CNA Test Review for the Certified Nurse Assistant Exam
    • Author: By CNA Exam Secrets Test Prep Team
    • Price: USD 48.50
  • Name of the book: CNA Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Cram
    • Author: Linda Whitenton and Marty Walker
    • Price: USD 19.72
  • Name of the book: Nursing Assistant / Nurse Aide Exam
    • Author: By Learning Express Llc
    • Price: USD 13.09
  • Name of the book: CNA Exam Practice Questions: CNA Practice Tests & Review for the Certified Nurse Assistant Exam
    • Author: By CNA Exam Secrets Test Prep Team
    • Price: USD 19.99
  • Name of the book: Competency Exam Prep and Review for Nursing Assistants
    • Author: By Barbara Acello
    • Price: USD 93.46

Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Cram – One of The Best Book for CNA Exam

Certified Nursing Assistant Exam CramIf you have decided to pursue your long-term career in the field of health care or to be specific, in the nursing field then you are supposed to take formal training for CNA through any of the state-approved programs.

After the accomplishment of the training course when it comes to the exam for certification as a nurse aide, then you must have the exam preparation guide.

The students have to pass the NNAAP (National Nurse Aide Assessment Program) exam by the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing).

CNA certified nurse aide exam cram is the best guide to study the nursing aspects to pass the state exam and earn the certification as nurse aides. You can get the book on Amazon.

About the Author

Marty Walker has practiced nursing for the past 30 years and she had started her professional career as an LPN (licensed practical nurse). She attained a master’s degree in nursing and has worked across various states to date.

Linda Whitenton has working experience of 38 years in various fields like mental health, pediatrics, and medical-surgical nursing. She had been a teaching nursing assistant and education director.

Components of the Book

  • All the topics desired to be prepared for the exam
  • Chapters prioritize the exam objectives first
  • Chapter-wise practice questions
  • Sample practice exams as per the NNAAP exam pattern
  • A CD-ROM test engine (state of the art) that provides with the real-time practice of skills along with feedback

Unique Features of the Book

  • This book can be used along with a variety of print and electronic learning material
  • This book has all those aspects and characteristics that are needed by the students to master the nursing knowledge, gain the nursing talent and skills, acquire self-confidence and then pass the NNAAP exam for certification
  • It includes various notes, sidebars, tips and cautions for the students
  • It provides with the best strategies for taking CNA tests and time-saving tips for achieving time-efficient and effective preparation
  • It includes cram sheet tear-out cards that have tips, acronyms, memory joggers, etc., which is indeed an interesting concept

Chapters included in the Book

  • Cram sheet – Introduction: This section involves a cram sheet for the certification exam for CNA and it encompasses all the precise notes in the form of cram to remember the important points without having to learn them too fast. The introduction section introduces the nursing practice and concepts in nursing at a very basic level.
  • What You Need to Know to Prepare for the Exam: This section explains the pattern of the examination as a written test and a clinical skills test. The written test is based upon the technical or theoretical knowledge of the students; while the clinical skills test is based upon the practical talent of the students. This section of self-assessment provides with tips and strategies for taking both the tests along with some important points like how to manage to study in a short time, what to read at the eleventh hour, what all skills are to be practiced manually, hoe to prepare day by day as well as week by week before the exam date approaches.
  • The Role and Responsibilities of the Nursing Assistants: This section gives all the concerns related to job responsibilities of a nurse aide along with the essential tasks of a CNA that must be performed accurately as well as recurrently. It also includes additional tasks of the nursing assistants, their job limitations, what all qualities must be possessed by the nurse aides, how to develop communication skills, legal and ethical issues related to nursing, etc.
  • Promotion of Health and Safety: This section gives a simple technique guide about the maintenance of personal and patient health and safety. It provides tips on how to sustain the hygienic environment around the patients. It involves topics like communicable diseases, prevention of spread of diseases, infection control techniques, how to maintain asepsis in case of medical equipment, etc.
  • Promotion of Function and Health of Residents: This section is completely based on the basic patient care practices, daily activities, restorative care, age-specific care, data collection about patients, and then reporting to the doctors. It also gives a detailed idea about the emotional, mental, cultural, spiritual, and sexual needs of the residents and how to comfort them in the clinical environment.
  • Specialized Care: The students can get information about how to deal with the specialized care requirements such as hearing impairment, speech impairment, vision impairment and respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, psychological, paralytic disorders, etc. It also covers a separate section on how to deal with patients with AIDS.

Every chapter in the book has a special section of competency exam preparation questions and answer rationales. This helps the students to get an idea of the kind of questions asked in the test and the most probable answers for them.

Before 2 practice tests, answers for them, appendices, and glossary; there is a large section that gives a checklist of all the clinical skills to be performed during the practical test.

This book can be recommended as the perfect study guide for the CNA exam preparation; especially at the eleventh hour. It provides all the aspects of nursing and tips to prepare for the exam within a short time.

Myths About CNA Examination

Below are the common myths that give inaccurate information about CNA exam:

One needs to have at the very least six (6) months of experience working as a practice nurse before he or she can be qualified to take the examinations.

Of course, this is untrue, as the CNA exam only tests the nurse’s knowledge of the basic skills necessary to begin practicing as such. This myth was born because those who are already practicing as nurses are more confident with their skills, knowledge, and experience. As such, they choose to take the examinations after having gained such expertise. This is to ensure passing.

The examination does not deal with the nursing profession’s whole area and deals only with a limited few.

This is not true as the examination tests the knowledge of a nurse is varied and broad areas to ensure that those taking it have in-depth knowledge of the nursing practice.

Questions in the examinations are presented in grouped topics.

This is inaccurate. The questions are presented randomly. One question may deal with diabetes, and the next question may jump to how to deal with children’s sicknesses like a fever.

It is expensive to take the exam because of the high fee.

This is totally inaccurate. There are a large number of institutions that offer affordable certification programs. The rate may range from $500 to around $1200.

A certified nursing assistant who is nationally certified may also be allowed to practice as a licensed nurse practitioner.

Most states require that a national certification be obtained first before taking a licensure examination. Thus, if an individual is certified nationally, such certification is only a requirement for such an individual to obtain a license and not to practice.

Being certified and licensed in one state means that an individual can practice in all states.

This is not true because each state has its own regulations regarding practice, and as such, one must first obtain a license in the state where he or she wants to practice before engaging in such activity.

The nursing practice is the same in each state

This is not true. There are various significant differences. For example, some states allow a nurse practitioner to prescribe medication even without a physician overseeing such a prescription. Simultaneously, some states mandate that a physician’s supervision is required before a nurse practitioner may prescribe medication.

In an exam administered through computers, once you state or choose your answer, the same can no longer be changed.

Answers may be changed as long as you have not yet signed off. You may even flag questions before you sign off to review the question later. As long as you are still signed in, questions may be reviewed, and answers may be changed.

If you earned a nursing degree online, such a degree would not be credited.

This is a huge myth. Online degrees are credited. There are reputable schools and universities and even colleges accredited which offer online nursing degrees. They are affiliated with online CNA courses and are offering classes online.

Employers do not recognize license obtained through an online exam.

This is inaccurate. Traditional courses and online courses are both accredited and recognized. Applying for an online course and an online exam is actually a showing of great discipline and initiative for those nurses who want to seek higher levels of learning but are too busy with their current jobs. It is a plus point and not a negative point.


A certified nursing assistant state exam is an evaluation process that will help judge your skills and capabilities to become a certified nursing assistant. Hard work and constant practice will help score good marks in this competency test.

The certification exam has to be cleared if one wants to become a nursing aide. You will get the license only if you clear both the tests and perform satisfactorily in all the theoretical and clinical sessions. You have to have the patience to clear the certification with flying colors.

After passing the CNA exam, you will be awarded a CNA certification degree then you can apply for a license from the licensing authority. The procedure for obtaining a license takes 3-4 weeks after which you will be eligible to apply for certified nursing aide jobs in any of the health care organizations in their state.


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