How to Pass the CNA Skills Test

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If you are preparing to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you may be wondering how to pass the CNA skills test.

This can be a nerve-racking experience for many CNA students because you have to prove your abilities as a nursing assistant in front of an evaluator.

With the right preparation you can go into the CNA skills test with confidence.

Summary: Review the CNA skills you may be tested on below. To practice for the written portion of the exam, take our CNA practice test.

What is the CNA Skills Test?

The CNA skills test is a portion of the CNA exam in which you will be asked to perform 5 tasks in front of an evaluator.

You will have 30 minutes to complete the 5 tasks. You will not know which skills will be tested until you get asked to perform them.

CNA Skills Prep

Use a prep course to review and brush up on all the CNA skills. BoostPrep is our #1 recommended provider.

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CNA Skills List

It is important to know the skills you may be tested on. Review the CNA skills list below to ensure you know how to perform each skill.

  • Handwashing
  • Indirect care
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • Measuring body temperature
  • Measuring and recording pulse
  • Measuring and recording respiration
  • Measuring the output from a urinary bag
  • Ambulation with a gait belt
  • Feeding
  • Mouth care
  • Mouth care with dentures
  • Mouth care for unconscious patient
  • Toileting with a bedpan
  • Hand and nail care
  • Foot care
  • Transferring to a wheelchair
  • Change of position in bed
  • Changing an occupied bed
  • Perineal care: female
  • Perineal care: male
  • Catheter care
  • Partial bed bath
  • Dressing a resident with a weak arm
  • Applying elastic support stockings
  • Body positions: supine, prone, lateral, Sim’s, and Fowler’s
  • Range of motion exercises (shoulder)
  • Range of motion exercises (elbow, wrist)
  • Range of motion exercises (hip, knee, ankle)

How to Pass the CNA Skills Test

The skills test is not the most challenging exam in the world, but it can be nerve racking to perform these skills in front of an expert. Follow the steps below to help pass your exam.

1. Meet All Requirements

You will need to complete 3 requirements to pass the exam and become a CNA. Those requirements are:

  • Take the required courses from an accredited state-approved school.
  • Pass a written test that consists of 60-100 multiple choice questions. You can practice for the written test with our free CNA practice test.
  • Pass the skills test.

2. Familiarize Yourself With the CNA Skills

You should have learned all of these skills while completing your required coursework. However, it is always a good idea to become familiar with the skills you will be asked to complete.

List of CNA Skills

3. Determine Which Skills Need Brushed Up On

Work your way through the list of skills and determine which skills you need to review and brush up your knowledge on.

You will need to know all of the skills since you will not know which of the 5 skills you will be asked to complete.

4. Determine Your Method of Study

If you have multiple skills you need to brush up on, determine how you would like to do so. You can use some of the following methods to help:

It is all a matter of personal preference. If you decide to invest in a prep course, you will also get access to materials that will help for the written exam.

5. Confirm State Requirements

The general requirements for all the states are extremely similar. With that being said, some states may have some slight variations.

You should have received some specifics from your training program on what to expect from your state. If you did not, you can find specifics by visiting this link.

Important Notes:

  • Handwashing is a skill given by all states
  • Recording a measurement is a very common skill asked to be performed on the CNA skills test
  • Indirect care is also a very common skill
  • Some states may use a mannequin while other states may have an “actor.”
Jan Olson
Dr. Jan Olson has her Bachelor's degree in nursing, Master's degree in nursing, and Doctorate in nursing.