CNA Exam Hints and Tips – Skills Demonstration

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There are two standard aspects to the exam process at the end of your CNA training. There is a multiple choice exam and a hands on practical skills exam. Of the two the skills demonstration seems to be the biggest stressor of potential certified nursing assistants. It takes place at a local health service, usually the hospital or facility that you underwent your placement or work experience and involves performing simple nursing assistant tasks with a volunteer patient. Your practical assessment can be one of the most nerve racking parts of your CNA training and the last thing you need is to be nervous for practicum. Here are some tips for ditching the nerves and successfully navigating your skills demonstration:

Prepping for Your CNA Training Exam

Get a good night’s sleep

It sounds like common sense but it’s one of the best ways to be on top form during your assessment. If you are sleep deprived before your CNA training exam, you may find yourself making all sorts of silly mistakes you wouldn’t normally make.


Talk yourself through the steps that you are taking during the assessment. This will help you to remember vital points and demonstrate your knowledge to the examiner. You may also find it helpful to verbalise when you are undergoing work experience too in preparation for your exam.

Follow the exact procedure you were taught in your CNA training – Staying focused on the procedure as it was taught to you ensures that you are completing tasks correctly, the examiner is looking for specific skills covered in your CNA training.

If you make a mistake acknowledge it

The examiners are highly experienced and know exactly what to look for, they will be more impressed if you make a mistake, recognise it, and then fix it, than if you gloss over it. The first approach shows problem solving skills and honesty, the latter does not.

Remember safety is your first priority

Ensure that you are following correct health and safety procedures throughout the exam. Working over bed railings and leaving the patients bed raised at the end of the exam are some of the most common safety mistakes made

Personal Hygiene

Remember to wash your hands! It’s so basic and you will have been over it a thousand times with instructors during your CNA training but on exam day it’s easy to get swept up with nervous energy and forget this hugely important precaution. Also remember to present yourself in a neat, tidy and above all clean manner. First impressions can make a difference to how harshly you are judged by your examiners.


I cannot emphasis this enough. You have completed your CNA training and have all of the necessary skills so just relax. Tense people are much more likely to make mistakes. If you are finding yourself anxious during the course of your CNA training then maybe you could invest some time learning a few relaxation techniques. Breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness can help students deal with anxiety and stress going into their practical exam.

And remember to practise those key skills at every opportunity during your placement to ensure that you are confident with your skills by the end of your CNA training.

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