CNA Skills – Finish Your Test on Time

CNA Skills - What most Students Fear

The CNA test is nerve-racking for most and the greatest challenge lies in becoming familiarized with the 25 skills you need to know.  Memorizing 25 skills sounds like a daunting task, but with preparation and a few tips and tricks, you will do just fine.


Depending on what state you reside in, the skills portion of the CNA exam will consist of three to five randomly chosen skills.  Well, hand-washing is usually one of them so you have one down already!  You will have 25-30 minutes to complete all of the skills required of you.  25 minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time, but in actuality it is a sufficient amount of time to get your work done.  You will most likely have time left over, as long you know what you are doing.  So with that said, don't rush! Take your time and be thorough.  Exams have been failed due to examinees forgetting the simple act of raising a bed rail, or locking the wheelchairs.

CNA Skills - How To Manage your Time

If you break down the skills by time, you will start to realize that you will have enough time to complete your skills, and hopefully that will alleviate some of the stress.

Possible Scenario:

1) Hand washing (one minute)

2) Blood pressure (1-2 minutes)

3) Respiration (5 minutes)

4) Pulse (one minute)

5) Measure Urine Output (one minute)

That's all of 10 minutes.  But of course, these are relativity quick skills to perform.

The skills that require the most time are a modified bed bath, or making an occupied bed. My advice is to practice these skills, and once you're comfortable, time yourself.  If it takes you 5-7 minutes to make an occupied bed, then you know that you'll have 18-20 minutes to complete the other four skills.  What if they give you two skills that take a relatively long time to perform?!  No sweat - both should only take you 10-12 minutes.

Once you have your skills down, time all of them and write them down.  This isn't to scare you, but to give you an idea as to how well you will perform within the allotted time.  It is unlikely that there will be any combination of skills that will consume more than the allotted 25 minutes. If there is, or if you are still worried about it, practice your skills to get faster at them. Now, I don't mean rush - you should never rush.  But instead, become more comfortable and efficient with the skills, and your time will approve. wishes you all the best!  Stop by anytime for more tips.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Maricela April 6, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I will be taking my test on April 9th in San Francisco

Suzanne April 6, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Hi Maricela,

If you need help with your studies be sure to check out the study tips and study guide. Good luck with your test!


school grants April 6, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

Connie April 6, 2010 at 5:56 PM

thanks for giving such encouragement, i just finish taken the cna classes, now preparing for internship, so after that, i will be studying real hard for that exams and as you said, the skills is a wrecking nerve, which i already failed in 2004. this is now my second time taking this course and i have no intention of failing, i’m gonna go there with the almighty god by my side. thanks again …bye.

Suzanne April 11, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Hi Connie, Thanks for the post!

When you’re ready to take the test remember to come back here and sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t done so already. I try to load the newsletter with good tips, advice and study tools. Also, my skills audio should be available by they time to take your exam. I’m recording each skill so students can listen along and practice. That way you don’t have to constantly refer back to your book and/or video. You just listen and do as the audio says. It’s gotten good reviews from my test group!

Good luck with your internship! Good luck!

Firuza April 27, 2010 at 8:17 AM

Hi Suzanne!!! I have internship on May 2, I scare and nervous.So what is be better to pass test? I’m reading books,I do all home works, but when I took ques test all questions was not from book, this is a great resource. Thank you Suzanne.

Suzanne May 11, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Don’t be scared! It sounds like you’re on the right path to success. Just keep doing what you’re doing and remember practice make perfect. If you haven’t already signed up for your free flashcards and check out the CNA study materials they will get you ready in no time!

Good luck!

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