To become a fully certified CNA, every certified nursing assistant student must take and pass an exam, known as the National Nurse Aide Assessment program – NNAAP for short. Taking and passing this exam is seen as the final step towards gaining your CNA certification.
In order to pass the exam, there are several things you can do to give yourself a head start. The first good bit of advice to passing the NNAAP exam is to simply have an understanding of how the test is actually structured.
The NNAAP exam consists of several different sections, including written, skills testing, and oral sections. It consists of 2 main components. The written part of the test consists of several multiple choice questions, covering the main ‘range’ of CNA knowledge that students are required to comprehend and fully understand. The oral part of the test contains 10 basic comprehension questions, in addition to several more multiple choice questions. The 2nd part of the test is a skills test. The skills test is designed to test a CNAstudent’s ability to safely perform the duties that are required of a CNA. Candidates are given the chance to show their skills in a simulated hospital situation, while being monitored and evaluated by nursing staff and exam officials to gauge overall performance and ability.
Both written and skills sections of the CNA certification exam are done on the same day, and CNA’s will need to take and pass both parts of the NNAAP in order to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and to be listed on the Nurse Aide Register. The exam itself might vary slightly from state to state, as with the questions and format of the test. Generally speaking, though, the tests are very similar in all states, and most have an average of 70 to 100 multiple choice questions.
It is advisable to prepare the night before the exam, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and are fresh and ready to take the test the next day. The written exam can take up to 2 or more hours, so it’s imperative that you go prepared.
Normally, the written test will be the one you are given to take first. Make sure you go over your CNA certification training materials, because this part of the exam will go over many aspects of patient care, and procedures that you will already have covered in your CNA training classes. If you have kept up to date with your CNA classes, then no part of this test should come as a surprise to you as you will already have covered all of it in your CNA training. It is however, advisable, to make sure you review all your training material in the upcoming days before your exam, so everything is still fresh in your head.
After the written exam, comes the practical portion of the exam. Sometimes, you will be asked to bring an assistant along with you, although most facilities will provide one for you if you cannot bring your own. Your assistant will basically act as your test patient; upon which you can show the examiner your clinical ability. Keep in mind that you should try to remain calm throughout the test. Try not to be too nervous, because the examiners are not there to fail you. They want you to pass the test, so remain calm and remember your training.
You could even practice at home on friends or family members, so when the day comes to do it on your test, you’ll have already done it numerous times before, and your CNA Certification exam should be a breeze!
It’s worth reviewing these points before your test. Although some may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people forget these simple things:
- Come prepared! Remember things like pencils, pens, a watch, stethoscope, and if required, your Identification card.
- Arrive early. It’s better to arrive at a test early so you can settle in, than having to rush because you are late.
- Make sure you have a good breakfast and drink plenty of water. The last thing you want in your test is to become light headed because you have nothing in your stomach. Your brain also works better when fully hydrated, so take water with you if it’s allowed.
- The examiners will be watching you closely. Often in exam situations, people get stressed out and begin to forget the absolute basics…. Remember to WASH YOUR HANDS before attending to your patient! The instructors will not remind you to do this, at this point in your CNA certification training you should know to do these things already, and it really should come natural to you.
- If you make a mistake, ask the examiner if you can repeat the process and try again. It’s better to ask to do it again, and do it right, than to do it wrong and say nothing to the examiner. Showing the examiner, you are aware of your mistakes will score you more points than not being aware of it, or trying to hide it.
- Keep a healthy amount of communication going with your patient. It’s important to inform them of what you are doing and why, and also talk to them to keep them calm if they are nervous.
- Don’t forget to smile. Be positive. Remember, you are already a CNA, you just need to demonstrate this to the examiner.
Remembering these tips and remaining aware of what you need to do to gain your CNA Certification will make a huge difference to you when trying to pass the exam, and after successfully passing the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam, you can look forward to starting a great career as a fully qualified Certified Nursing Assistant.