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CNA Certification Exam


During training, you learn many skills that are important in caring for residents. There are 22 skills that are part of the Clinical Skills Test. When you are registered to test, a computer will decide which skills will be on your test.

A Clinical Skills Test consists of five scored skills. All candidates taking this test are scored on the Handwashing and Indirect Care skills. When you take your test, you will be given instructions for the other three skills that are part of your test. Because you may learn to perform skills in different ways for different residents’ needs, you are given instructions that describe how the skill is being tested. For example, if you test on the feeding skill, you will feed a resident positioned in a chair. Remember, you are still responsible for knowing how to feed residents who are positioned in other ways. The Knowledge (Written) Test may also ask questions about feeding residents in other positions.


Each skill in the test has checkpoints. The evaluator (nurse) giving your test will use these checkpoints to rate your performance. After you complete your test, the evaluator will enter his/her observations into a computer. Prometric’s system will then determine your results. Whether your test results are given to you on your test day, accessed online, or mailed to you, is based on your state’s requirements. The checkpoints for each of the skills are listed on the pages that follow. It is important that you understand that the checklists are not written as procedures. These checkpoints are not provided to help you learn skills, but to help you understand what the evaluator will look for when you perform a skill.


The procedures for skills are learned from your instructor, nurse aide textbooks, and other training materials. The procedure for any skill may include more detail about important requirements than are shown in the checkpoints. Your performance may include more detail than is included in the checkpoints.

Descriptions of the instructions given to candidates are provided with the checkpoints for each skill. This description includes if a person or mannequin is used for the resident. Depending on the state where you test, usually another candidate will play the role of the resident when a person is used. Sometimes a test site provides a person to play the role of the resident for the entire testing day. In special situations, the evaluator may need to play the resident.


While you are waiting to take the test, you will be given General Instructions to read. These are the basic rules for the Clinical Skills Test. For example, these instructions explain what you need to do when you want to make a correction to a skill you are performing.


These General Instructions are also available on the Web site for your state at You are encouraged to review them before you arrive at the test site. When you are called into the testing room to take your test, you will be shown around the testing room so you can see where equipment and supplies are located. The testing room will be set up similar to a resident’s room.

For example, personal care supplies such as the resident’s toothbrush, toothpaste, basins, and bedpan will be in the resident’s bedside cabinet. When you are taking your Clinical Skills test, remember that you are required to actually perform the skills. The evaluator is not allowed to answer any questions about how skills are performed.


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