CNA Exam Dilemma! Help!

Students CNA/MA


Hello to all current and future CNAs!

I'm new to THIS forum, however I'm always using the allnurses Pre-Nursing Student forum for help with my schooling! I'm a pre-nursing student in California, applying for nursing school for spring 2010. To gain hospital experience (you get extra points at most schools if you have your CNA already), I enrolled in a CNA course in December '08. I graduated early February '09 and was scheduled to take my CNA exam a few weeks later. However, at the time I was finishing prerequisite classes for nursing school and didn't have the time to study for a CNA test, so I postponed it and planned on taking it later. I continued to postpone it...and to this day I haven't taken it.

Well, I'm scheduled to take my certification exam on July 19th. I'm TERRIFIED for the clinical portion. Really terrified. I should mention that the place I took my class at provided us with an AWFUL teacher. We didn't learn anything. She literally gave us the answers to the tests the day before we took them (READ us ALL the answers directly off the test itself--no joke) and NEVER had us learn our skills. The place we did our interns at had very crummy workers who didn't care about their patients and didn't care about whether they followed CNA skills properly or not. In fact, when we worked with them they would specifically tell us NOT to do what they did on our state board exam! It was that bad. So, needless to say, I never learned my skills. Since I'm pre-nursing, I know most of the book material so I'm not concerned about the written portion (I also took the online practice tests and passed those with ease), but I'm very, very nervous about my skills. I plan to start studying my skills on Monday and study every day until the test. It's just very difficult for me to be able to remember every single step for every single skill. I tried to study for it last time and got so overwhelmed that I decided to call it off! It's pathetic, really. And now I've built it up so much that I'm even MORE petrified of taking the test!!

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. :cry:


1 Article; 160 Posts

Go to and type in the skill you are looking to study. They have online videos of different skills. Make sure you know how your state wants it done though. You can also go here It is like online classes. It was very helpful for me to brush up on some things. Just remember that it might be a little different for your state. But get to know the basics and find someone to practice on at home if you can. Good luck to you.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is...take a deep breath. Being a CNA is mostly common sense. I do remember almost being in tears over making a bed. Things like giving a bed bath and feeding people are not too hard to task. As far as things like vital signs that take a lot of practice... I literally walked around taking everyone's bp and pulse that would let me, and I counted respiration while they talked to me. Just read all the literature they give you and you should do just fine. always rememeber...put nothing on the floor! and always put gloves on!.......the exam itself was a lot easier that I thought it was gonna be. it was a lot of "if you were in this situation what would you do". Not bad at all. GOOD LUCK!!!:wink2:


370 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/Hematology.

Thank you so much! Actually, being a pre-nursing student, I already know how to take vitals. I've been practicing for about 2 years now! :) But it's all the steps involved before and after that are hard for me to memorize. Like when to put the bed up, when to put it down, which pillows to put first and in which order when just seems like SO MUCH and it's so specific!

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

It SEEMS that way, but a lot of the steps are the same thing over and over again. If you look in your book you might see that the first 5 steps and the last 5 steps are the same exact thing for like every single task. So if you know the first 5 steps of everything, then it's easy to get started, and after that you're just naturally on a roll with it. If you do freeze up, just keep safety, dignity, and infection control in mind, and the next step should come to you.

Don't feel bad about your clinical experience either. No one goes by the book in the real world.

nkara, CNA

288 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Pedi/Tele.

It really isn't as bad as you think. I was a nervous wreck for my exam and they tester with me made so many errors and she still passed. The instructor for the test was very nice and "passed" on some skills even if you missed something. Just brush up on the booklet they give you or go online to review them and you'll do fine.

I had:

Washing hands

Peri care


Feeding patient

and I forget the other two... but it was easy.

Good luck! :D


33 Posts

I agree that will help. Just search for the skills that you want to see. Also, don't worry about there being so many steps. It looks like a lot, but really most steps are common sense. Practice the skills on someone. I challenged the exam, and just practiced on my kids over and over again. That really helped. On the day of the exam, I was really nervous, but it was so much easier than I thought it would be. You'll do fine. Just practice on someone if you can.


370 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/Hematology.

Thank you to everyone for the responses.

Do you think all the skills are learnable in about 5 weeks?


33 Posts

Yes! I received my date I had to take it in the mail 3 weeks before the exam. I only had 3 weeks to read the CNA book and practice the skills. It can be done. I read the book the first 2 weeks and practiced the skills the last week. You tube really helped me a lot! Let me know if you have any other questions. You can pm me if you want. I will be happy to help.

Specializes in PCT/CNA/HHA.

I just took the test on this past Tuesday. The exam room itself is very minimal. It was a small room, with just the necessary things I need to do my exam.

Although I think I appeared too confident, because the examiner was using tactics to try and "get me nervous". He was like "This is State Boards!". SMH.

We shall see..

Important thing is to just take a deep breath and relax. Act like the examiner isnt in the room (Which was hard for me because he was trying to use scare/pressure tactics). The written part of the exam is a BREEZE!


1 Post

MISSLADY thank you SO MUCH for the link to the site with the training videos ( I am studying on my own to challenge the CNA test and I was really sweating how I was going to learn the skills part of the exam. The link you posted was SOOOOO appreciated. Kudos to people who mentioned the You Tube videos also. I feel so empowered now that I have the tools to I need to feel confident about doing well on the exam. Thank you, thank you thank you!!

***People are cool:yeah:

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