You can take the state test to become a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, repeatedly for 12 months after you finish your class until you get it right. But you’ll still have to pay the online test costs with each try. Retaking the test not only costs money, it’s time-consuming and chips away at your confidence, something you’re going to need once you hit the street and start interviewing for a job. To save time, money and ego, practice before sitting for the state CNA exam.
The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is the national test that most states require for CNA certification. The test is given through the Assessment Technology Institute, which also sells practice tests. You could pay anywhere from $15 for flashcards to $275 for an in-depth version of the study materials that say they “guarantee” that you’ll pass any TEAS test you need to take. (There is a TEAS test for nurses, too.) You’ll get hard copy books and manuals as well as online assessment practice tests.
Find a slew of free practice tests on various websites. There’s a 50-question practice exam at Prometirc, for example, that gives you an overview of the multiple choice questions you’ll typically find on the TEAS test, which consist of 200 questions on various topics. The National Nurse Aide Assessment Program offers a free assessment test it says closely approximates the actual test you’ll take to get on the registry. It’s got 60 multiple-choice questions.
Find tons of offers for practice tests online that range from $19.99 up to hundreds of dollars. While any kind of practice can’t hurt, professionals such as those at the Certified Nursing Assistant Educator Association promote the practice tests that are free and available through your school and in your textbooks. You’re not going to make a lot of money as a CNA; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, CNAs made a median income of $11.54 an hour, so consider the payoff for the investment before paying big bucks for a practice test.
Create flashcards and ask friends and family members to help you study. Study buddies from your class will be undergoing the same pressure to pass the exam and know the kinds of topics you’ll need to study. Pair up with a partner or start a study group in your CNA class that you can get to know for tests you’ll take while still in school. After classes are over, you’ll have built relationships with those students that you can trust when it comes to studying for the state exam. You’ll feel comfortable with them; studying and quizzing each other will be mutually beneficial.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants
- Assessment Technology Institute: TEAS Test Prep
- Assessment Technology Institute: Store
- National Nurse Aide Assessment Program: Tests
- Certified Nursing Assistant Educator Association: Position Statement
- Nursing Assistant Guides: Test Taking Tips
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."