How to Pass the CNA Skills Test

Instructor: Leah Salyer
As a prospective CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), you'll need to pass a skills test, in addition to a written exam, to prove your competency and earn the credentials needed to practice in your state. Read on to learn how to pass the practical portion of this exam and discover resources that can help you review some of the skills you learned in your nurse training program.

Passing the CNA Skills Test

Traditionally, you will be required to perform up to six skills on this portion of the CNA licensing exam. These tasks test your knowledge of topics ranging from hand washing and bed making to infection control and patient positioning. Keep in mind that the number of skills and the steps involved can vary, so it's important to understand exactly what is tested in your state. A more detailed description of how to prepare for and pass the test is laid out below.

Make the Most of Your Training

One of the best ways to prepare for the test is to make sure that you carefully follow all training offered by your instructor. If you know and can perform the skills taught in class, you should be able to easily perform them on the skills test. If you struggle with certain tasks, make sure to take full advantage of having an instructor by asking him or her for help as often as you need.


Ask your training program to give you a list of skills that will best tested or conduct a little research so you can make one for yourself. Many state health departments offer a list of exam topics on their websites that could prove useful when developing a practice routine.

Once you've determined what to practice, the best way to go about it is to perform these skills on someone. Find a friend or relative and practice as many skills as you can. If you're interested in a self-paced resource useful for reviewing topics associated with some of these procedures, consider checking out these lessons on Mobility and Immobility Issues, Nursing Hygiene, Nurse Safety, and Infection Control. You can view the lessons and take the self-assessment quizzes either before or after you've completed a practice session.

Don't Forget the Basics

On test day, you'll be given a series of instructions. It's important to remain calm so you can focus on the directions being given to you and make sure you don't forget any necessary steps. Even if you're an expert at some of the more complicated procedures, like bathing patients or helping them perform range of motion exercises, you could still fail the test if you leave out any required steps, such as hand washing.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.