Top 3 Tips for CNA Test Anxiety

Melissa Mills
June 29, 2022
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Your heart is racing, your stomach is in knots, and you can't keep your thoughts straight for more than a second or two. You've been battling a terrible headache for two days and really wanted to stay in bed this morning. And the closer you get to the CNA classroom - and your big CNA exam - the worse you feel.  

Could it be the flu? Well, it could be, but if we had to guess, we'd say you're dealing with a grade-A case of test anxiety. It's a common form of performance anxiety and can strike before any test - big or small. But, what can you do to keep it from affecting your grades? We've rounded up the best text anxiety tips to get your symptoms under control.

Get a Good Night's Rest

Staying up all night to cram in a few more hours of study time the night before a CNA exam might sound like a great idea. However, you're probably doing more damage than good and won't remember most of what you read. 

The best test anxiety tip you can start using right away is to get a good night's sleep. Aim for at least eight hours, and be sure to go to bed about an hour before you want to fall asleep. Then, turn on some relaxing music or use a sleep app to listen to a sleep story or other calming soundtrack while you unwind. 

Study Early and Often

Cramming is a terrible test-prep strategy. Instead, study often and for shorter periods. Begin studying 7-10 days before each CNA test. Set aside an hour daily to review the content. Try study strategies like using flashcards or taking online quizzes to get in lots of practice. 

Don't forget to reward yourself for using your test anxiety tips and sticking to your study schedule. Maybe you get 10-minutes of screen time for every hour of studying, or you reward yourself with your favorite dark chocolate if your practice test scores are above a specific grade. 

Learn Relaxation Techniques

There are many different relaxation strategies out there. The key is finding one or two that work well for you. Here are a few you can try:

Box breathing is a paced breathing exercise that follows a rhythm. To begin, breathe in for a count of four, then hold the air in your lungs for a four-count. Next, slowly exhale for a four-count, and then keep your lungs empty for the last count of four. Repeat this pattern a few times before you go into the CNA classroom and again right before you start the test.

Imagery and positive affirmations are excellent test anxiety strategies you can use together. Choose an affirmation like "I can do this" or "I am calm and focused." As you silently repeat the affirmation, close your eyes and picture a relaxing place like the ocean, a forest, or a creek. Continue repeating the affirmation as you watch over the relaxing scene. Try this for a minute or two before and even during the CNA test. 

What Test Anxiety?

Using these test anxiety tips will get you on the right track quickly. The key is to set a practice and stick with it. The more consistently you use these strategies before every CNA exam, the better you'll feel, and your grades will show it!

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