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Exam Preparation

We want you to succeed on the certification exam! There are many resources listed on this web page that can help you prepare.

Although the certification exam is based on the knowledge you’ve gained in your practice, you should study all aspects of your specialty, especially those you haven’t been exposed to recently.

Lists of competencies for each specialty
These lists describe the knowledge and skills that could be tested on for each certification exam. We suggest you review the list for your chosen specialty area carefully as it will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Each lists contains an exam blueprint so you know what percentage of questions are dedicated to each competency category. This will guide your studies and help you prioritize.

For each exam, we have put together a detailed bibliography that lists resources, references and books to help you prepare. The list includes bolded references, which are key books that will help you prepare for the certification exam. These books have been selected by the certified nurse members who create each exam as part of their work on specialty examination committees. If unsure about the books you need, you may want to consult a CNA mentor in your specialty.

We have a list of certified nurses who volunteer their time to provide support and assistance to certification candidates. Our Find a Mentor tool can help you quickly connect with someone who can help you.

Study groups
Joining an independent study group is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam. We have a detailed list of groups of like-minded certification candidates from all across Canada. (Please note: CNA does not endorse any study group or review any of their activities. Each group operates independently.)

Specialty associations
Each specialty area has an association that represents it nationally. Many offer preparatory tools — such as national study groups, guidebooks and webinars — that could help you prepare for your certification exam.

CNA’s certification webinars contain useful information from certification experts on how you can prepare. They were previously recorded and are available for you to watch at any time.

CNA’s NurseONE.ca website offers you one-point access to a wealth of nursing evidence-based tools and information that can be helpful to your preparation.

Private resources, tailored for you

If you have been deemed eligible to write the exam, CNA will e-mail you a private web link with online exam prep resources tailored to your specialty area. It includes details on all of the resources listed above plus an online practice test of about 100 questions with answers, rationales and references. You will receive this link 8-10 weeks after you apply and are deemed eligible. If you do not receive it, please contact us.

Please note that these online references are not intended to be the only source for your exam preparation. They are an excellent complement to your other study resources


The CNA Certification Program does not conduct its own prep courses, does not endorse other courses or workshops and is not responsible for the content of any course provide by an external supplier. Be wary of any course or workshop that claims or implies direct knowledge of the contents of CNA certification exams.

The CNA Certification Program also does not release exam questions, except for the sample questions used in the practice test section of its online exam prep resources.