Test Tip Tuesday

How long do you have to do the skills test?
And what happens if you go over?


So far we have gone over the 5 secrets to passing the CNA Skills Exam (if you didn’t read them all, you should!). But now you are probably wondering how long you have to perform those skills…especially if you have to start a skill over!
There is actually a formula that is used to determine how long you will have to perform your skills. Each skills test will require that the candidate performs three skills, grouped in a skill SET. There are 11 of these skill sets used in Prometric testing (other states have other methods of grouping skills). Each skill SET has one ADL skill, one Mobility skill and one documentation skill (more on this in an upcoming blog). The amount of time you will be given is dependent on WHICH skills are in your skill set. Here is the formula that determines the time allocated for each skill set:
Skills timing formula


Because the skills are different, each testing skill set will have a different time it must be completed in. When you begin your test, the evaluator will read the care plan set to you and tell you how much time you will have to complete the skill set. When you are ready to begin, your time will start. When your time is almost up, the evaluator will give you a 5 minute warning. You want to try to finish the skill before time runs out. 
If your time runs out, you don’t automatically fail. But any checkpoints that you didn’t get a chance to do before you ran out of time will count as a deficiency (a step not done). Whether you are able to pass or not will depend entirely on which checkpoints you missed (and their potential effect on the patient).

So, let’s say that you have 37 minutes to perform your skill set. Skill #1 went okay (but took way longer because you didn’t practice it before the test), but for Skill #2, you kept losing count and had to start over a few times. By the time you started Skill #3, you only had 5 minutes left. You tried to rush, but didn’t finish the skill in time and had several checkpoints that you didn’t get to perform. It’s not the running out of time that will count against you – it’s those checkpoints you didn’t get to that is going to count against you during grading . Unfortunately, on this skill, most of the steps you didn’t get to do were safety steps…which are important (more on that in 2 days).

Starting a skill over never counts against you. You can start any skill over at any time…but the clock keeps ticking. Starting a skill over will take up time you may need to perform a different skill. Don’t try to be perfect – there is no extra credit for getting a perfect score. Do the best you can, make corrections when you need to and only start over if you absolutely HAVE to.

This is why practice is important. You WILL make mistakes when you are learning ANYTHING new. You don’t want to use up your valuable time making and correcting little mistakes during the test – you want to make them when time isn’t counting against you – BEFORE the test.

I actually talked about this in one of my LIVE CNA Q&A Sessions recently, you might find it interesting! Click here to watch it!

So, next week I want to tell you why the evaluators CAN’T fail you on the state exam. You passing or failing is not up to them – so who decides your score? (Hint: it’s not you, either) I’ll explain why this is important next Tuesday.


Miss Patti

Test Tip Tuesday: Clinical Exam Corrections 2

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