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Certified Nursing Assistant Skills

To become a certified nursing assistant, the student must pass both a written exam and a skills demonstration test. It is important for CNA students to practice their skills often prior to the test. With the proper preparation and practice, students can do well when it comes time for the skills demonstration exam.

The CNA skills are related to personal care and assistance that they will need to help their patients. These skills begin with proper handwashing techniques, changing a bedridden patient’s position while in bed, lifting/patient transfers, vital signs, emptying a catheter bag, feeding a patient, bathing, dressing/grooming, and other personal care related skills.

cna skills practice test

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CNA Skills List & Videos

All of the CNA skills are listed and are accurately demonstrated on the student videos. The skill test will only test the student on a few of these skills. However, those skills are picked randomly, so students need to get comfortable with all of the skills.

  1. Adult Diaper / Brief Change (Video)
  2. Applying Elastic Stockings (Video)
  3. Dressing & Undressing Patient (Video)
  4. Partial Bed Bath (Video)
  5. Occupied Bed Making (Video)
  6. Female Catheter Care (Video)
  7. Denture Care (Video)
  8. Donning and Doffing PPE (Video)
  9. Perineal Care (Video)
  10. Nail Care (Video)
  11. Bedpan (Video)
  12. Hand Hygiene (Video)
  13. Measuring vital signs (Video)
  14. Cleaning and dressing of wounds
  15. Repositioning patients
  16. Feeding patients
  17. Interpersonal skills

CNA Skills Test

How do I prepare for the CNA skills test?

Practice each skill often, and make sure that you understand the correct techniques. This includes proper body positioning when lifting and always washing hands in the correct manner.

What skills do they test for CNA?

The skills test typically only consists of a couple of the possible skills rather than all on the list. Hand washing is almost always on the exam.

10 Tips Passing CNA Skills Test

1. Practice all Your Performance Skills Daily
Of course practicing your manual skills in the training lab in school is important, but what about in your home? Enlist your family, friends, and even pets at home to practice counting heart rate and respirations, taking blood pressure and performing range-of-motion exercises. Practice all 25 skills randomly and be prepared for any of the three to six skills your state examiner will ask you to perform.

2. Dress for Success
If your hair touches your shoulders, pin it up for a more professional look. Remove earrings, rings and never wear facial jewelry studs. Avoid artificial nails (you can be disqualified) and wear clear polish on finely trimmed nails. White or light colored scrubs look the most professional and wear comfortable shoes to help you move in comfort.

3. Are You Safe with Patient Care?
Above all else, your examiner is concerned with how you ensure patient safety. Properly cover your patient during personal care, pull up bedrails when you leave a patient unattended and secure a safety belt to their waste when performing any transfers.

4. Listen Carefully to Each Scenario
Ensure that you understand the performance skill scenario that your examiner has assigned you and ask any questions immediately if needed. Once you begin each skill to be tested, you will no longer have the option to ask for clarification.

5. Repeat Tested Skills if Necessary
If you make a mistake, admit it to the examiner immediately and ask to repeat the performance skill. Most states give you an opportunity to repeat each task and about 45 minutes for the entire performance test. You may gain valuable points back in the eyes of the examiner if you act quickly and repeat the task correctly.

6. Apply Safe Body Mechanics
Again, safety is the biggest concern of the test that also includes the wellness of the nursing assistant performing the exam. Remember to practice your body mechanics and always bend at the knees, position yourself comfortably, and don’t lift without a wide base of support at the feet.

7. Wash and Return all the Equipment Used
If you use a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff or thermometer, be sure to wipe with alcohol and place the equipment back to the original place. Rinse and air dry any wash basins you use and place used linens into the proper container.

8. Approach Your Patient with Respect
As a CNA, you must consider the emotional wellbeing of your patient. Address them with respect, introduce yourself, and explain all procedures thoroughly — even if you’re working on a mannequin. In addition, ask patients if they understand what you’ve told them and got their permission to proceed with their care.

9. Infection Control: Handwashing
Most CNAs who’ve failed the performance test the first time have forgotten to wash their hands before or after touching their patient. Ensure that you perform handwashing immediately after you greet your patient, once gloves are removed and before you leave the room. When in doubt, wash your hands. Ensure that you perform handwashing immediately after you greet your patient, once gloves are removed and before you leave the room. When in doubt, wash your hands.

10. Approach Your Performance Exam with Confidence
Although everyone wants to pass the first time, keep in mind that you can retake the performance exam if necessary. If you look at your performance test as an experience in life that you can learn from, you may reduce your test-related anxiety. Be as empowered as possible with practice and just do the best that you can.

State Specific CNA Skill Requirements

Each State may be different in terms of the CNA Skills they require you to learn in order to pass the CNA Skills test. Select your State from the table below to learn more about their specific CNA Skill requirements:

AlabamaIndianaNebraskaSouth Carolina
AlaskaIowaNevadaSouth Dakota
ArizonaKansasNew HampshireTennessee
ArkansasKentuckyNew JerseyTexas
CaliforniaLouisianaNew MexicoUtah
District of ColumbiaMaineNew YorkVermont
ConnecticutMarylandNorth CarolinaVirginia
DelawareMassachusettsNorth DakotaWashington
FloridaMichiganOhioWest Virginia
IdahoMissouriPennsylvaniaRhode Island

CNA Skills FAQ

How many times can you take the CNA skills test?

Most states allow CNAs to take the skills test portion 3 times within 2 years of successfully completing a state-approved CNA program. Only the failed skills need to be retaken.

Is the CNA skills test hard?

When students prepare and practice their skills often, they typically won’t find the skills test hard. There are no trick types of testing.

What is the pass mark for skills test?

Skills to be tested are randomly chosen on the day of the test. Usually a 70 to 80 percent pass rate is required. All of the critical steps in the demonstrated skills must be performed correctly.

How many points can you miss on the CNA skills test?

Usually, about 5 skills are picked out of the possible 25 to 30 or so skills learned in a CNA program. Students must pass at least 70 to 80 percent.

How much is it to retake the CNA test?

This varies depending on the state. Most charge a $25 rescheduling fee. Both test portions run about $55 to $100.

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