Advanced preparation is the best way to combat the stress and anxiety of taking the CNA exam. Nursing assistant training will go a long way in preparation for the knowledge and skills components of the state-administered exam. Instructors will cover the base of knowledge CNAs need to provide competent service, and hands-on work in simulated labs and clinical experiences will help to hone skills and boost confidence for the grueling skills exam. Many programs include test preparatory courses to help students succeed. While the training and review may be sufficient for some graduates to ace the exam, others may need additional aids. CNA practice tests can, no doubt, help an uncertain candidate gain the confidence needed to pass the exam. They can help you to gauge your level of competence and point out areas where you need more work.
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Should you pay for practice tests? What are the benefits of them? What are the differences between paid and free tests? And what are some other ways to prepare for the exam without spending a fortune?
Benefits of CNA Practice Tests
- They give candidates confidence to succeed
- They are a real representation of the actual questions on the NNAAP
- They simulate the actual testing conditions – especially electronic practice tests
- Candidates will identify their weaknesses and strengths ahead of the exam
- They help candidates prepare to manage the time they allocate for answers and review on the timed exam.
Paid or Free Practice Tests?
There’s an abundance of free practice test sites on the web. So one would wonder, why pay? Free NNAAP practice tests are usually in print form (PDF) and contain 50 to 100 multiple choice questions with the answer key included. Some sites leave out the answer key, requiring candidates to pay a small fee. Paid tests, such as those offered by Prometric, are electronic and provide feedback, source material, and textbook references. The electronic format simulates the actual test, including the timed aspect. Prometric also supplies the Clinical Skills Readiness Test in addition to the Written Exam Practice Test.
Free tests will suffice if you just need an idea of the test format and type of questions that will show up on the exam. However, if you need to simulate the exam, obtain feedback, and references, paid tests are worth their weight in gold.
Making the Most of Practice Tests
Whether you use free or paid tests, what’s most important is that you start your preparations early. Take the test even before you are fully satisfied with your understanding of the course curriculum. Answer the questions related to the material you covered until you’ve completed all your study material.
Take more than one test, and take each test multiple times – practice makes perfect. Study in groups with other colleagues or enlist the aid of an experienced CNA. This is especially critical when it comes to practicing for the skills component of the exam. Practice the steps for each skill until you can complete them without overthinking.
To sum it up:
Use group study: The interaction with other candidates will help you to understand familiar things in new ways or make strange concepts familiar. Group study also accelerates the rate of learning for many and helps to erase doubt.
Take the test more than once: Use a mix of free and paid tests for diversity, and take each test several times until you attain a perfect score. Online or electronic timed-test are an excellent choice for final test preparation as you can not only test your knowledge but your timing as well. Free, printable tests are ideal to use with your study notes.
Enlist friends and family: Armed with flashcards and a willingness to help, friends and family can help you prepare for success. From reviewing your notes to demonstrating your skills, step by step, use family members’ aid to prepare for the exam.
Tools and resources: The internet is at your disposal. Use it to locate rich study aids and get an overview of the exam from people who would have had the experience. Online forums are teeming with CNAs, new and old, who are willing to share their knowledge. Check online guides to taking the exam, not forgetting to download and review the Candidate Handbook for your state.
It’s entirely possible to succeed with free practice tests – or none at all – if you cannot afford paid ones. However, the timed aspects and included aids with paid helps are worth the money. Preparation is essential if you want to gain the confidence to pass the exam and embark on your new career as a Certified Nursing Assistant.