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How to Pass the CNA Skills Test

Learn how to pass the CNA skills test. This portion of the exam can be very nerve racking 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.

What is the CNA Skills Test?

The 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 25 minutes to complete the 5 tasks. You will not know which skills will be tested until you get asked to perform them.

CNA Skills List

Review the list below to ensure you know how to perform each skill.

  • Hand Hygiene (Hand Washing)
  • Applying One Knee-High Elastic Stocking
  • Assisting to Ambulate Using Transfer Belt
  • Assisting with Use of Bedpan
  • Cleaning of Upper or Lower Dentures
  • Consulting and Recording Radial Pulse
  • Counting and Recording Respirations
  • Donning and Removing PPE
  • Dressing Someone with Weak Right Arm
  • Feeding Someone Who Cannot Self Feed
  • Giving Modified Bed Bath
  • Measuring and Recording Urinary Output
  • Measuring and Recording Weight of Ambulatory Client
  • Performing Passive Range of Motion for One Knee and One Ankle
  • Performing Passive Range of Motion for One Shoulder
  • Positioning on Side
  • Providing Catheter Care for a Female
  • Providing Foot Care for One Foot
  • Providing Mouth Care
  • Providing Perineal Care for Females
  • Transferring From Bed to Wheelchair Using Transfer Belt
  • Measuring and Recording Manual Blood Pressure

If you want to practice for the written portion of the exam, use our CNA practice questions.

Source CNA Prep Course Badge

CNA Skills Prep

Prepare for the CNA skills portion of your exam with our partner, BoostPrep. They offer 50+ modules of content to help you pass the skills portion of the exam.

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 60-70 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 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.

An infographic showing the different CNA skills tested

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 when it comes to the skills exam. 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, make sure to confirm the requirements with your specific state.

Important Notes:

  • Handwashing is a skill given by all states
  • Recording a measurement is a very common skill asked to be performed on the 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.