CNA TestA Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) typically works in a hospital or long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, to provide basic care to patients. CNAs perform a number of important tasks, including:

  • Serving meals and helping patients eat
  • Measuring patients' vital signs
  • Repositioning and transferring patients between wheelchairs and beds
  • Cleaning patients
  • Helping patients use the restroom and dress

CNA regulations and requirements vary by state. Typically, a CNA must complete some mandatory training on the basic principles of nursing. Additionally, a CNA will complete supervised clinical work. CNA training can be completed in a community college, vocational/trade school, or in a hospital or nursing home.

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After completing mandatory education, a CNA student must pass a certification exam. The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam is comprised of two distinct tests: the Written (Knowledge) Test and the Clinical Skills Test. The tests may be taken in any order. Students are not required to pass one test before taking the other.

CNA Clinical Skills Test Overview

The Clinical Skills test is intended to measure your ability to perform typical CNA required skills. The test is a timed test where you will be evaluated on performing five skills (three assigned skills and Handwashing and Indirect Care).

A candidate must pass all five skills in order to pass the Clinical Skills Test. To pass a skill, a student must demonstrate competency in the skill. Assessments are performed by a Nurse Aide Evaluator who will compare a student's performance against a list of checkpoints.

CNA Written (Knowledge) Test Overview

The CNA Written (Knowledge) Test is intended to measure a candidate's mastery of nursing assistant knowledge and skills. The test consists of 60 multiple choice questions. Students are given 90 minutes to take the exam.

CNA Written Test Outline Summary


(Percent of Test)
Number of Questions (Approximate)
Role of the Nurse Aide  18 % 11 Questions
Promotion of Safety  18 % 11 Questions
Promotion of Function and Health of Residents  24 % 14 Questions
Basic Nursing Care Provided by the Nurse Aide  26 % 16 Questions
Providing Specialized Care for Residents with Changes in Health  14 % 8 Questions

CNA Written Test Outline – Detailed

Role of the Nurse Aide

  • Personal Responsibilities – work organization, reporting requirements, protection of resident's rights, workplace standards, ethics, personal health and safety
  • Nurse Aide as a Member of the Health Care Team – job responsibilities, roles of team members, teamwork, resident care conferences, plan of care
  • Interpersonal Relations and Communication Skills – principles and types of communications, factors affecting communication, techniques that support communications

Promotion of Safety

  • Potential hazards in the resident environment
  • Common injuries and related risk factors
  • Providing a safe and comfortable environment – comfort needs, preventing accidents, restraints and restraint alternatives
  • Fire prevention and safety
  • Infection control – clean environment, infections (signs and symptoms), factors that contribute to spread of disease, decreasing the risk of exposure to disease
  • Emergencies – evacuation procedures, immediate life-safety of residents, emergency responses

Promotion of Function and Health of Residents

  • Personal care skills – dressing, grooming, toileting, skin care, mouth care, foot/nail care, perineal care, bathing, feeding
  • Health maintenance and restoration – nutrition, mobility, hydration, circulation, skin integrity, elimination, promoting independence
  • Age-related changes – physical, emotional, mental
  • Psychosocial needs – basic human needs, change responses, institutionalization effects, emotional support strategies

Basic Nursing Care Provided by the Nurse Aide

  • Routine, chronic, non-life threatening situations – observing reporting and responding to physical and behavioral cues
  • Acute Emergency Situations - observing, reporting and responding to chest pain, respiratory distress, confusion, stroke symptoms, choking, aspiration, seizures, swallowing difficulties, diabetes, cardiac arrest, vomiting, falls, bleeding, burns, etc.

Specific Care Provided for Residents with Changes in Health

  • Physical problems – typical physical impairments, impact on safety, comfort and care
  • Psychological problems – typical psychological impairments, impact on safety comfort and care
  • Care of the dying resident – grief process, emotional needs, factors influencing the grief process, physical changes as death approaches, post-mortem care

CNA Exam Preparation

CNA candidates have a wide variety of options available to them to prepare for their CNA test. Students typically prepare for the CNA by taking practice tests or preparing with study guides. offers its own free CNA practice tests to help you prepare for the exam. Additionally, see's list of recommended CNA study guides that you can use for additional preparation.