You think you know all the home health aide (HHA) duties and are ready to start your HHA career.
Well, you need to be a certified home health aide unless you’re hired directly by a family of a client or work for yourself. Health care agencies that accept Medicaid and/or Medicare can only hire certified health home health aides.
Passing the HHA exam and getting your HHA certification is not difficult. Please keep this in mind.
Taking the HHA test?
You'll need The Official Guide To The HHA Competency Test - know what to expect on test day!
FREE Bonus Material!Since you were in grade school you were taking tests or quizzes.
Passing an exam is a way to show that you are knowledgeable in a subject matter.
So relax… preparing for, taking and passing the home health aide test is just like any other – granted, subject matters you were not exposed to in grammar school.
Home health aide test questions will test your knowledge about what you have learned about taking care of clients in their home.
When you walk into a client’s house for the first time or the 100th you should have the skills to help and care for that person – that’s what home health aides do.
You now have the home health aide training and are ready to take the HHA competency exam and conquer the world in your new career.
So where to begin?
You will drive yourself crazy if you look for information on preparing for the test.
Go to your favorite search engine on the internet and search for “home health aide exam” and the number (and quality) of the results are astounding!
And there will lots of advertisements for products and services…
The goal here is to provide information and guidance in a concise format to help you pass the HHA test.
Focus on preparing for and taking the exam and avoid all the “noise” you may hear and see about the exam.
What Will Be Covered Here:
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Take the time in the very beginning to plan out the whole process.
It sounds tedious and boring but your planning will pay off. Trust me.
Start by writing down dates and deadlines then enter them on a calendar – even your smart phone, and set reminders as well.
Find out when the test is and work your way back. You’ll probably want to give yourself a couple of weeks to study and review the material.
Studying and learning by yourself can be a challenge; we’d all like to learn more and study less!
And, we all know, life gets in the way and things will crop up and eat into your schedule – allow some extra preparation time just in case.
Most states have different HHA competency exam requirements so adhering to their rules is very important. If you miss one deadline it may prevent you from getting certified – you most certainly do not want that.
Chances are you received your training from a home health agency. Setup some time with the program coordinator and review what the steps are to get certified.
Did you complete your training online? Same thing. Give them a call and try to have a meeting. Ask them what other students have done to prepare for the test and what resources they may have available that you could use.
Begin to review the material learned from your training.
Review all of it and this should be incorporated into your calendar. Map out how, what, when and where you will be studying.
For example, on Tuesday afternoon “I will review the handouts I received regarding client hygiene from the classroom and take notes on these; then I’ll review what the textbook says about this”.
And for heaven’s sake focus on what you do not know!
Don’t waste time on a subject that is completely common sense or you know all there is about it – you’ll pass these sections with flying colors.
Work efficiently in order to learn as much as you can.
Some people simply don’t do as well on tests even though they know the subject matter very well – there are certain tactics to ace an exam.
Find a particular subject matter especially difficult?
- Make HHA test flashcards
- Take notes from your original notes
- Review key vocabulary terms
- Ask the training folks for resources such as additional books/videos
- Retake the test you took in class and the labs; what did you get right and wrong?
One of the best, perhaps the best, ways to prepare for the home health aide test is to take as many practice tests as you can.
At the risk of sounding too obvious here, it relieves any stress you may have now or will have on the day of the actual exam.
If you are familiar with what it looks like, how the questions flow and how to best manage your time then you will be virtually stress-free when you take it on exam day!
The first suggestion would be to tap into who provided your HHA training. They are used to folks asking for practice test and almost guaranteed they have a bunch on file for you to take.
Take as many tests as you can get your hands on – many will be free so why not?
Remember… everybody wants you to pass the exam.
No one is trying to stop you in your tracks and prevent you from being a certified home health aide. They just want to make sure you know what you are doing and you have the proper skills. People will help – just ask.[There are books available that won’t cost you much and there are online tests, too – though most will be hitting you hard to purchases something. Be careful and don’t purchase something you really don’t need and be especially cautious of monthly payment plans.]
What will make the biggest difference is finding someone to study with.
Whether a classmate from your home health aide training or a friend or family member it will make a big difference.
When you talk about what you’re studying and demonstrate to them some of the skills you are trying to master it sort of forces you to put your best foot forward. Especially if they ask questions of what you are trying to show them. If you take them seriously and answer the question it will help you answer this on the test.
As part of your planning how and what to study set aside time to demonstrate several home care skills with a friend. Tell them exactly what you will be doing and why.
Then perform that skill on them – for example, help them transport from a chair to a bed and then back. No need to be silly about this. Treat as though you’re testing registered nurse is watching and grading you.
Keep practicing the skills and talking (out loud) and you will master all the components of the test.
This applies even for the skills that you learned in the clinical section for your home health aide training. Practice these (e.g. recording vital signs, dressing client, transfer to/from bed, etc.) clinical skills on your spouse or a friend.
Another great way to either get tips on the best way to study or what to expect from a particular training/testing site is to speak with former students.
You can call your home health aide training coordinator and ask if there are past students you can speak with. Many of these facilities have a list of “referrals” for just that purpose – so take advantage of it!
These folks would love to “pay it forward” and help out others; you’ll be surprised when you ask.
When getting in touch with the former student (now a home health aide or a certified nursing assistant) ask away. Ask her what to expect on the multiple choice questions, ask if she had enough time and how to best manage time throughout the test, ask her what she found the most difficult, etc.
Of course it varies by state.
Usually the exam is separated into two parts:
- Written Knowledge Exam
- Skills Exam
Written Knowledge Exam
The written portion normally consists of close to one-hundred (100) multiple choice questions – most exams have an average of 75.
The written section may be offered in an audio/oral format for those who may have reading and/or comprehension difficulties. Also helpful for those candidates who consider English as their second language.
Typical subject matter may include:
- Infection Control
- Data Collection
- Personal Care
- Basic Nursing Skills
- Mental Health
- Role and Responsibility
- Care Impaired
- Disease Process
- Resident Rights
- Older Adult Growth & Development
Here’s a real approximate breakdown of content of the multiple choice questions (varies greatly by state).
- Activities of Daily Living 15%
- Basic Nursing Skills 35%
- Mental /Spiritual health 10%
- Communication 10%
- Client Rights/ Ethical Behavior 10%
- Meals/home mgt/safety 20%
Tips For Preparing for the Written Knowledge Exam
- Find Your Sweet Spot
- Be disciplined and set aside time each day – the same time
- Write or Wrong
- Take notes, make flashcards, doodle drawings to help jog your memory and make it fun
- Do not wait until the last minute and try to cram the night before
- Seek and Assist
- Don’t be shy; get stuck? Call a friend or your instructor for clarification
The skills exam portion is just that – the skills you learn in the clinical setting. Brings back all the times you had to get that “dummy” patient in and out of her bed!
You may be asked to demonstrate proper hand washing, taking blood pressure, transferring a patient to/from a bed, etc.
Many times there will be a certain number of mandatory tasks to preform then you have your choice of several others to complete. You are normally tested on five (5) skills and give about thirty (30) minutes to complete all of them.
This portion of your evaluation will be in a setting that will look very like a real life work setting.
It will normally contain a bed, chair/wheelchair, sink and bathtub – really anything you need to demonstrate that you know each particular skill a home health aide may need. Everything will be provided and you will not have to bring any of your own items, if you have them.
No dummies here… your pretend client will most likely be someone who volunteers in the class; so you will be working a live person. Treat this person as you would an actual client and speak to them accordingly – no fooling around.
As a reminder, you will be performing the actual skill required – not just explaining to the instructor.
If you are asked to help a patient out of her bed then you will assist the volunteer patient out of the bed as you were trained.
Example of subject matters on skills exam include:
- hand washing
- bed bath
- bed making
- temperature – oral, rectal, axillary
- handling and emergency
Please, show up on time – that really means about thirty (30) minutes before you are scheduled to be tested. Plan ahead, find out where you are going and map out a route if need.
Not sure best way to get there? Give the testing center a call – may be well worth it to call anyway in case something has changed.
Check your list twice, as they say, because you don’t want to show up and not be able to take the test.
Make sure you have the following to bring:
- completed application
- proof of completed home health aide training
- two (2) forms of ID
- both should have signatures
- make sure at least one (1) has your picture
- no copies; all should be originals
- social security number
- watch (with a second hand)
- exam fees
- bring a couple of checks just in case
Got to say these just to remind folks of some obvious matters. A quick rundown includes no cell phones/electronic devices, no large bags, no books/notebooks, and no smoking/drinking. See, all things you know are just common sense – even in 2016!
Usually your results will be sent to the respective department of health or nurse registry in your state. You become a certified home health aide only after you meet all requirements including, of course, the competency exam.
Don’t sit around waiting for your exam results though.
Your job search may take longer than you thought so you want to get a jump on it as soon as possible. Make it clear to your prospective employers that you recently took the home health aide exam and you expect the result real soon.
Emphasize that you are really excited about starting a career as a home health aide and you simply loved the training that you went through. Cite some specific example of what you liked best about the training.
If you fail either the Written Knowledge Exam or the Skills Exam you need to reapply to retake the exam you failed.
This contains information about how to pass the home health aide exam. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. It has not been created or endorsed by any state, licensing board, or any other organization. The author is not responsible for the presentation of non-factual or incorrect information. You must not rely on this information as an alternative to speaking to respective government agencies, licensing boards and or testing agencies as exams vary dramatically by state.