CNA Pactice Test & Study Guide

Once you have successfully completed the course requirements for your CNA class, you are eligible to take the state examination to become a certified nursing assistant. Traditionally, your instructor will help you fill out the forms for the test and provide you with the correct mailing address. Although the State Board of Nursing is usually the authority that presides over CNA testing, your state may use the standardized national nurse assistant assessment program (NNAAP) test, or an exam written by the State Department of Health or another authoritative entity. The first part of your test may be the hands-on test that is graded by your course instructor or a state examiner. They will observe you perform patient care techniques in either a clinical setting on actual patients or on your fellow classmates in the class practice laboratory. The second part of the certification exam will involve either a paper test or a computerized exam format. Although the examination may cause some people test-related anxiety, it may help alleviate some of your anxiety if you have a good idea of what to expect on the test. That’s where we come in! Below, you will find everything you need to prepare for the CNA exam, including a practice test to get your juices flowing.



Okay, I’m taking the CNA test soon. What are the top five most helpful tips you can give me?

1. Practice Your Basic Nursing Skills

Successful CNAs who passed their skills test understand that nothing takes the place of practice. Perform your basic nursing skills, such as making hospital beds or taking blood pressures until it becomes second nature to you. Practice can make you feel confident and help you relax.

2. Review Your Classroom Lessons Daily

Preparation is the key to experiencing less anxiety and passing your written test. As soon as you graduate, begin to review your class textbook and video lessons for at least an hour or two daily to stay sharp. Avoid “cramming” just before your testing date.

3. Take Practice CNA Exams

Take reliable CNA practice exams on and offline to get familiar with answering multiple-choice questions. Learn to eliminate the answers you know are incorrect, so you can focus on the right answers and pass the test.

4. Be Prepared for Your CNA Exam Day

Thoroughly read your instructions from your testing center and get your I.D. and all the documents you need to be ready for testing in advance. Ensure you arrive for your test on time to avoid a need to reschedule.

5. Look Professional at Your Skills Performance Test

Make a good impression when you take your manual skills test and remove rings, earrings or any other jewelry. Avoid wearing synthetic nails and dress in comfortable scrubs that make you look professional.
^Back to Overview

I passed the test! What do I do now?

Congratulations! Now that you’re certified, you can begin to look for a CNA job and earn a salary. Your local newspaper may advertise for openings in nursing homes or hospitals in your area. Online job boards may also be helpful.

Be sure to type a resume and describe what you’ve learned in school, such as patient rights, the importance of good nutrition for patients, and patient privacy during care. Make copies of your resume and either email them to nursing homes and hospitals or attach one to each of your applications.

For interviews, dress in casual business attire and wear comfortable shoes. A prospective employer may ask you in an interview how you’d handle an unruly patient or other difficult situations. Remaining calm and keeping the patient safe is always a positive answer that shows your dedication to your patient’s needs and safety.
^Back to Overview

I failed the test! What do I do now?

First, don’t panic, you have the opportunity to retest. Many successful CNAs have not passed their skills test or written exam the first time. Most students may fail due to nervousness, missed performing handwashing before touching a patient, or forgot to explain the procedure to the patient.

In most states, your state agency will automatically send you an application to re-test. Once you receive your voucher or application approval, you can call the testing center and set up a new test date.

When you get your scores on your skills or written exam, be sure to review it and find out what you missed or didn’t fully understand. Make an extra effort to study those areas to ensure your second attempt goes well. In addition, review your textbooks or practice your manual skills on a daily basis to feel better prepared and less anxious about your upcoming test.
^Back to Overview

Frequently Asked Questions



Take the Practice Exam Here!

You can actually take the CNA practice test right here! The exam below consist of 60 questions that will help you familiarize yourself with the type of questions that will be on the actual CNA exam. The practice test is free to take and you can take it as many times as you like.

Your Score:  

Your Grade:  

^Back to FAQ

What is on the CNA state examination?
The 70 question exam may be given orally or as a paper test and typically includes several questions from each course subject. This ensures that the graduate is capable of providing safe and effective care for a patient challenged by an illness or another health condition. Currently, 22 States use the NNAAP test as the certification exam and the Red Cross CNA test usually has more questions. Often, questions are divided into categories on the exam as:

  • Activities of Daily Living: How well a graduate safely assists patients with daily care
  • Basic Nursing Skills: Assessment, documentation, infection control and safety
  • Restorative Care: Assisting patients with walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and encouraging independence as appropriate
  • Mental Health: Questions about providing emotional, cultural and spiritual patient care
  • The Role of the Certified Nursing Assistant: Effective communication skills, patient rights and the scope of practice of a CNA

^Back to FAQ

What are good places to study for the exam?
If you’re looking for other helpful resources, the NNAAP has a online practice test consisting of typical questions and an answer key in PDF format. In addition, you can use the following resources to help you study for the exam.

^Back to FAQ

What is the CNA test like?
The written or oral exam may be proctored at a classroom, test center or the educational department of a hospital. Generally, the amount of time allotted for the paper test is two hours. The performance part of the test may be conducted at a skills lab in a classroom or given at an actual hospital setting with patients. To reduce the anxiety of taking tests in front of examiners, practice each class module as much as possible.
^Back to FAQ

What is the performance skill portion like?
Depending on the state the test is administered in, the performance skills test may be graded by a certified instructor, registered nurse or a nursing board examiner. The program graduate is assigned three or four tasks that represent the performance skills studied in class. Taking blood pressure, transference of a paralyzed patient, skin care or any other skill may be observed and graded by the examiner in accordance with:

  • Patient Privacy: Always knock on the door when entering a client’s room.
  • Infection Control: Hand washing techniques performed before and after patient care.
  • Prevention Techniques: Provide safe care and protect the patient from falls, injuries and accidents during the performance skills.
  • Vital Signs: Performing technical skills correctly and reliably, and knowing when abnormal values need to be reported to the physician.
  • Communication Skills: Document effective patient notes and perform an adequate assessment.

^Back to FAQ

When can I take the CNA test?
Once you’ve completed the CNA program, you will receive a certificate of completion that will be mailed to the board of nursing or department of health by your program instructor. In approximately two to six weeks, you should receive your appointment for the exam in the mail.
^Back to FAQ

How hard is the CNA exam?
The exam is usually on a high school level with some memorization required in certain subjects. Performance skills take practice to learn and some people have a better aptitude for hands-on than the classroom work and vice versa.
^Back to FAQ

How much is the CNA test?
Depending on your state of origin, both the skills test and the written exam may cost anywhere from $65 to $120 dollars or more. Check with your local board of nursing to find out how much the exam costs in your state.
^Back to FAQ

What is the passing score for CNA exams?
For most certification exams, including the NNAAP and the Red Cross CNA exam, a passing grade is 80 percent. The performance portion is usually a pass or fail grade.
^Back to FAQ

How long is the CNA exam?
The written exam is usually 70 to 80 questions and the candidate is given about two hours to complete the test. The performance skills section may give 30 minutes to complete three to five CNA skills. Since time management is an important part of being a CNA, these time restraints are taken seriously and are final.
^Back to FAQ

How to retake the CNA exam?
In most states, if you fail the written exam or the performance skills section, you are able to re-take the CNA exam as long as two years have not lapsed since your graduation from the CNA program. If you have received a failure notice in the mail, there is usually a re-take form you may mail in to the boards.
^Back to FAQ

What is the best CNA study guide?
Investing in a good study guide can help your organize your thoughts and feel confident about taking the CNA exam. A guide with a practice test on an interactive DVD can be helpful to a student studying for the test. Reviewing coursework and re-reading textbooks and assignments from the program is also a good way to review before taking the exam. The leading study guide for the NNAAP is the NNAAP National Nurse Aide Assessment Program Exam Study Guide.
^Back to FAQ