Home Health Aide Testing: How to Easily Pass the HHA Exam in 2018

Top 5 Best Resources to Master Home Health Aide Testing

We all know that pursuing a home health aide career is no small feat!

From researching the training program that’s right for you, to successfully completing all of your assignments and supervised clinical days, it all leads up to this…

Your final home health aide testing.

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Even reading that phrase can be intimidating! But it doesn’t have to be… and our goal is to help you through it! 

By taking this seemingly giant task and breaking it down into a series of smaller, more manageable assignments, you will be on your way to successfully passing the final exam in no time!

That’s why, in this article, we want to give you five simple ways you can prepare for the HHA exam.

1. Know Your Resources

So how can you make sure you’re not going to stress yourself out, want to cram for the exam, and miss out on an important night’s sleep before the big day arrives?

Start preparing yourself on day one of class!

If you gather information and utilize the resources available to you throughout your HHA training program, you will no doubt be more prepared for the final exam when the time comes.

home health aide tests

Sitting in class and listening to your instructor present information is one of many ways to learn your home health aide material. To help you retain that information for test day and beyond, you could:

Start a regular study session with other students in your class.

Study groups can be beneficial for many reasons: they can prevent procrastination by holding accountability to the scheduled meeting time, they can help you gain new perspectives and insight on the material you might not think of on your own, you may improve your learning ability by picking up a new study technique from someone in the group, and they can help you gain real-world skills as you learn to collaborate in a team.

Discuss feedback with your instructors.

One of the benefits of an HHA class is the real-world experience your instructors bring, and the hands-on learning the classrooms typically provide.

If your instructor leaves notes on an assignment or test you turned in, ask them for further insight or discuss questions you may have. Ask your instructor for feedback as you perform skills in the lab to see if they have any special tips or tricks they use to perform the task.

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Pro Tip: Remember that your instructors have gone through training similar to yours, and have already experienced the job first hand! Utilize the knowledge they can provide!

Look for outside materials.

You will likely be given a specific text or workbook when you enroll in your HHA program, and that’s awesome! But just because your instructor uses a certain book during class, doesn’t mean that has to be your only source of information.

Search for other text or workbooks. Your local library may have excellent home health aide resources for you to borrow, you can check out a local bookstore, and of course Amazon has plenty of new and used texts that could be useful supplements to what you learn in class. You just have to take the time to look!

See if a mock skills checklist available, like this one. You could inquire with your training program or testing facility to see if they have any available to help you prepare for the real thing.

Using a mock checklist can be an excellent study guide! By knowing exactly what will be expected of you on test day, you can spend time leading up to your exam practicing your skills exactly as they will be evaluated.

Make it easy on yourself and take the guesswork out of studying! 

Look for opportunities to take an HHA practice test. Like the mock skills test, you can inquire with your training program or testing facility to see if they have any free practice tests available.

Many states also provide HHA practice tests online! Home health aide sample exam questions like the one from Washington State Department of Health are available free of charge through their state’s proctor, while the state of Oregon provides their study guide for purchase.

Even when sample questions are not available through your state, often times they will provide a test breakdown like Oklahoma’s.

It explains the total questions and time you will have allotted to complete, while also detailing the number of written questions to expect in each category. Information like this can be useful, since you can get an idea of how long you will have to spend on each question on test day!

HHA practice test

2. Know the Material for Test Day

What information is going to be covered on the exam?

That may sound like a silly question since you’re probably wondering, “Why wouldn’t they cover everything I learned in class?”

And they do! But how the information is tested varies by category:

  • There are portions of the test where you will have to actively demonstrate your knowledge by showing your skills to a registered nurse performing your evaluation, and
  • There are portions of the test in which you will be evaluated using written or oral examination.

While there may be slight differences in testing standards that vary by state and agency, there are several things that are required by federal regulations that you can expect.

What will I need to demonstrate during the home health aide skills test?

home health aide competency test

Of the 13 subject areas you covered during your HHA training, 5 of them must be specifically addressed in the demonstration portion of the final exam. This includes:

  • “Communication skills
  • Reading and recording temperature, pulse, and respiration
  • Appropriate and safe techniques in personal hygiene and grooming that include:
  • Bed bath
  • Sponge, tub, or shower bath
  • Shampoo, sink, tub or bed
  • Nail and skin care
  • Oral hygiene
  • Toileting and elimination
  • Safe transfer techniques and ambulation
  • Normal range of motion and positioning”
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Be sure to keep in mind: While these are the five areas that you will for sure be asked to demonstrate, your evaluator may cover other subjects this way as well.

What information will I be tested on using written and oral methods on the exam?

The remaining categories will be evaluated using a multiple choice test, presented to you in either a written or oral format. This includes:

  • “Observation, reporting, and documentation of patient status and the care or service furnished
  • Basic infection control procedure
  • Basic elements of body functioning and changes in body function that must be reported to an aide’s supervisor
  • Maintenance of a clean, safe, and healthy environment
  • Recognizing emergencies and knowledge of emergency procedures
  • The physical, emotional, and developmental needs of and ways to work with the populations served by the home health agency, including the need for respect for the patient, his or her privacy and his or her property
  • Adequate nutrition and fluid intake
  • Any other task that the hiring agency may choose to have the home health aide perform”

While the specifics of the test may vary, you can generally expect to complete over 50 questions in a timeframe of around 2 hours.

In many instances, an oral exam must be requested specifically when you are registering for your exam. Since special accommodations must be made by your testing site to provide the necessary materials, it is unlikely you will be able to request an oral exam on your actual test day.

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Be sure to keep in mind: Some states also provide an oral exam in languages other than English, if requested prior to test day. Regardless of the language you choose, your oral exam will presented in two parts:

  1. The first, larger portion will consist of multiple choice questions testing your home health aide knowledge in which you record your written response on an answer sheet.
  2. The second, smaller portion will consist of multiple choice questions which are specifically meant to test your English comprehension and your ability to respond appropriately in English.

3. Know How to Complete Your HHA Test Registration

Nothing would be worse than showing up for test day and finding out you aren’t eligible to take the exam because you missed an important part of the registration process.

While your school, state’s licensing agency, or state’s exam proctor will have the specifics required for the test in your state, there are some general things to keep in mind as you prepare to register:

  • Keep in mind that some states require you to receive an authorization letter confirming they have received your necessary forms and fees before allowing you to schedule your test.
  • It is important to know that your application may only be good for a certain period of time.  If your exam is not scheduled within that timeframe, you may be required to resubmit your application.
  • Proctors will double check on test day - make sure you use your full legal name on all paperwork.
  • Have you requested any necessary ADA or special accommodations you may need on test day? Remember that things like oral exams or exams in languages other than English usually need to be requested when scheduling your exam.
  • Have you requested any necessary ADA or special accommodations you may need on test day? Remember that things like oral exams or exams in languages other than English usually need to be requested when scheduling your exam.
  • Have you reviewed the cancellation policy? While you hopefully never need to utilize it, it is important you fully understand any policies pertaining to rescheduling or cancelling your exam, since you may need to resubmit paperwork or forfeit previously paid fees.
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Pro Tip: Remember that your instructors or state agencies will be the best contacts to confirm the registration process for you. They may even have helpful step-by-step guides, like the Department of Health for the District of Columbia, to walk you through the process.

4. Know the Test Site Rules

Imagine yourself at the finish line:

You arrive at your test site feeling well rested and fully prepared with the knowledge you need to complete your exam successfully.  

But did you make sure you’re also aware of all the rules on test day?

Much like arriving at the DMV to take your drive test, there are going to be specific guidelines to follow as you complete your exam. And while the guidelines may seem like a hassle, they are in place to make sure everyone gets a fair and equal chance at becoming a home health aide.

Test day policies, procedures, and enforcement will vary by any given agency or proctor, but there are some things you can generally expect:

At check-in:

  • Be prepared to show a valid, government issued photo ID matching the name you used to register for the test. This requirement is especially important if you know you will need a name change due to marriage, for example.
  • Be prepared for a physical screening. Some test sites have metal detectors to walk through or guards to wand testers prior to testing. This ensures safety, but also helps catch devices that can be used for cheating.
  • Be prepared for accessory inspection. It is not uncommon for proctors to ask testers to remove things like eyeglasses or large pieces of jewelry for visual inspection to ensure no recording devices are present.
  • Be prepared to leave prohibited items outside of the testing area. Things like cell phones, wearable technology (think smartwatches), electronic devices, large outerwear, hats, purses, briefcases, food, and drink are usually not allowed during testing. Not all sites provide lockers or secure areas to leave such items, so it is best to double check prior to test day or leave the items at home.

During testing:

  • Be prepared to know your material. Written notes, study guides, and flashcards can all be left at home. Only learning aides strictly approved and provided by your proctor for ADA accommodations will be allowed on test day.
  • Be prepared for silence. There is usually no speaking to other testers allowed during your exam.
  • Be prepared for strict rules regarding breaks. Depending on the expected length of your test, your administrator may inform you of scheduled breaks during the day. Often times there will be rules for leaving and re-entering the testing area, rules for accessing your personal items during your breaks, and rules regarding how many times you are allowed to leave during the exam.

While these guidelines may sound harsh, remember that rules like this are in place for two main reasons:

To keep everyone safe, and to ensure everyone experiences the same exam and has a fair shot at becoming a home health aide!

By taking the guesswork out of what is expected of you on test day, you can focus your energy on what matters most:

Utilizing the skills and knowledge you have learned during your course to become the HHA you set out to be!

5. Know That You’ve Got This!

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One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself as you prepare for your home health aide test is to remember that you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

Don’t stress yourself out.

You should be proud of the fact that, by now, you mostly know what you need to know for test day!

All of your class assignments, homework, and clinic time has been aimed to help you through this final hurdle of your training, and your instructors want to see you achieve your goal! Keep those thoughts in mind as you lay out your strategy to prepare for test day.

Don’t cram for your exam.

While it’s important to study and be ready for your HHA exam, it’s also important to study effectively. 

It’s been consistently shown that you remember more if your learning is spaced out over multiple, shorter sessions rather than one huge overnighter. So do yourself a favor:

Break up your study time into manageable timeframes, and get the proper sleep the night before! You’ll thank yourself on test day.

And finally:

Don’t stress about these rules too much! Your instructors and test administrators will make sure you have all the information you need prior to test day.

So, while it may seem like a lot to remember, be sure to remind yourself that everyone is in your corner!

All of the class hours, clinic days, homework assignments, and tests were meant to prepare you for your final exam, and your instructors and classmates want to see you succeed!  

Now that you have some “how-to” information out of the way, check out these resources we think could be helpful as you prepare for your final home health aide testing.

Top 5 Best Resources to Master Home Health Aide Testing

1. Providing Home Care: A Textbook for Home Health Aides, 5e

Written by William Leahy MD, Jetta Fuzy RN MS, and Julie Grafe RN, BSN, you can be sure the information you receive in this book is top notch - especially since the authors have first-hand experience working in the healthcare field and with HHAs!

Currently in it’s fifth edition, the text largely maintains the format and information from previous editions, but also provides new or updated information regarding preventing infection, Alzheimer’s and numerous diseases, person-centered care, the dying process, and death.

Our favorite things about the book

There are several things to like about this textbook. The large and colorful illustrations do an excellent job helping to explain the learning objective, each chapter contains sets of exams to help you practice what you’ve learned, and anatomy and physiology information is mindfully paired with related conditions and diseases.

Like the layout of this text and want more from these authors? They also offer the accompanying Workbook for Providing Home Care: A Textbook for Home Health Aides, 5e - designed to help review and maintain all the important information you learned in the textbook!

2. Home Health Aide Exam Prep: Home Care Aide Test Review 2nd Edition

What’s the most obvious way to help you prepare for the types of questions you will need to answer on test day? Practice, practice, practice!

And with more than 400 home health aide practice test questions, you will have ample opportunity to do just that. 

To get your money’s worth, think about using this book throughout your HHA class! Use the questions provided to quiz your friends during a study group session, reformat the questions on flashcards to help you complete homework or prepare for labs, or have someone read the questions aloud to you so you can practice answering verbally.

Our favorite things about the book

The questions are derived from all federally required topics making it usable for exam prep in all 50 states, and it was authored by Jane John-Nwankwo, RN MSN - that means she’s a real-life nurse with experience in your field!

She has written several healthcare related texts, and even has one to accompany this exam prep book! If you’re interested, The Home Health Aide Textbook: Home Care Principles 2nd Edition is available online.


This book is one of a kind! Meant to supplement what you learn in the classroom, Student Success for Health Professionals Made Incredibly Easy is a practical approach to becoming a student, a successful learner, skilled test-taker, and, eventually, a healthcare professional.  

Written in an “incredibly easy” style, this approach presents sometimes difficult concepts and ideas in ways that are more easily understood, making it an ideal resource for new HHA students.

It’s broken up into three sections:

  1. Reviews basic student success principles like setting goals, time management, maintaining student health and well-being, and addresses different interactions and networking techniques students can utilize to increase their success.
  2. Takes a deeper educational dive and explains the importance of learning style and critical thinking when applied to student skills. It provides helpful information to improve note-taking and reading skills, develop effective written and verbal communication, studying, and test taking.
  3. Expertly details the transition from student to health care professional by describing various roles in the industry, while giving practical advice for required externships or clinical work and explaining how student success can be utilized in the workplace.

We find this book especially helpful because it also includes an online resource for students that is jam-packed with useful tools! You can print off note guides for each chapter, calendars to assist in your time management, numerous student activities, AND sample cover letters and resumes specifically for healthcare professionals to help get you the career you’re dreaming of!


Over 600 five-star Amazon reviewers agree: this book delivers! 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less) aims to get readers to do just that - the strategies and tools presented in the book are meant to increase academic performance in less time. And who couldn’t use more free time to do the things you enjoy?

A central focus is the author’s idea of “Desired Preparedness” and the “equation” he creates to help get you there, which includes:

  • The time you spend in class
  • The quality of your learning
  • The time you spend studying, and
  • Your ability to study efficiently

An unexpected bonus of this book is that the author’s writing is funny and relatable, making a quick read of serious and useful information!

While this book is not directly related to HHA classes or healthcare professionals, the information presented is surely beneficial for a student entering any kind of classroom.

Our favorite part of this book is that all electronic versions include clickable links directly to outside websites, mobile friendly apps, and numerous online resources.

And no worries: if you prefer reading a hard-copy version of the book - you can still find all underlined resources in the book conveniently compiled on one online site for you to access anytime!


This is another resource not directed at any group of students in particular, but one that will no doubt be beneficial to whoever chooses to read it. This book boasts more than 600 positive Amazon reviews, and they are overwhelmingly positive:

And it’ll take you no time to figure out why!

Like, have you ever read another book by someone who is a Grandmaster? Because this one was! Grandmaster Kevin Horsley beat a World Memory Record in 2013, and he uses this book to explain some of the techniques and learnable skills he used to do that. (like the number recall trick he used to beat the record by more than 14 minutes!)

The book is broken up into three sections to help you:

  1. Connect
  2. Create and connect
  3. Continue use of the information presented

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