Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

The Written and Skills Test of the CNA Exam – How Do They Differ?

July 1, 2011 by  
Filed under cna nursing exam


The Certified Nursing Assistant Examination is a hurdle that every nursing assistant must overcome to get accreditation. It is administered by the CNA state board and divided into two parts – the Written Examination (WE) and the Clinical Skills Test (CST). To pass, the CNA, an applicant must pass both the WE and the CST. But how exactly do these two exams differ?

The Written Examination
One part of the CNA exam calls for a written test. It is not written per se but computerized. Applicants take this part of the exam within a prescribed time limit which is usually two hours. It is taken at accredited testing centers in regional or local settings as approved by the CNA state board.

Arriving late at the testing center is a big no-no and it is recommended to be there at least 30 minutes earlier. You may want to get there a few days earlier if you need to do some long-distance travelling. You must also bring a valid ID and another similar form as proof of your identity.

It takes quite some time to prepare for this part of the CNA examination. Practice tests and review sessions are highly recommended to increase your chances of passing. Joining a study group is a good idea as well.

The passing score for the written examination depends on the state board that hold jurisdiction over your testing center. At the very least, you should aim to get a score of 70% to pass. Exam results usually come out after two to three days. To apply for a schedule for taking another written examination, simply follow the directions laid out by the state board.

The Clinical Skills Test
The other half of the nursing assistant exam involves an application of the skills you have learned. You can think of this as a practical exam. Applicants are tested based on their understanding and proficiency on the skills required from a nursing assistant.

An applicant should have the opportunity to make corrections on any checkpoints he missed while taking the exam. On the other hand, once that specific skill is finished and the applicant moves on to the next one, he is no longer allowed to take the previous one. Like the written exam, there will be a time limit here as well.

Be sure to follow the directions from your evaluator if you have to repeat any portion of this exam. This will depend on the regulations as set by the state board. To pass the CST, you need to have a score of at least 70% and 100% accuracy in following every critical step.

The best chance of passing this exam comes from lots of practice. A bit of memorization helps as well. Keep in mind that you need to follow procedures to the letter with absolutely no room for improvisation. Among the most important parts of this test is following the safety standards. You have to demonstrate to the evaluator that you are competent enough to handle the responsibilities of a nursing assistant.

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