CPR Certification Study Guide


When you are tested for CPR certification, there will be some variance in the flow of the skills testing depending on the type of certification. However, there are some basic skills that you need to be acquainted with in order to pass the basic CPR certification exam as put forth by the American Heart Association (AHA). This study guide reviews these skills.


  • When you approach a victim, you should first tap him and call out loudly, asking if he is alright or if he needs help. You should order someone to contact emergency services and to bring a defibrilator (if one is being used in your certification test). Place one hand beneath the chin of the victim, and one on the forehead, to perform a chin lift to clear the airway.


  • At this time you should place your cheek close to the victim's nose and mouth, facing the chest, so that you can physically and visually check for breathing a minimum of five seconds and a maximum of 10.


  • Give the first two breaths. These breaths should give a visual rise to the chest. Each breath should last at least one second, and it should take less than 10 seconds to deliver two effective breaths. If the victim is an adult, check the corotoid pulse near the side of the Adam's apple. In a child, check the brachial pulse between the bicep and the humerus. This is done only for the first breath for a minimum of five seconds and a maximum of 10 seconds.

Adult Cardio

  • If the victim is an adult, one hand should be placed over the back of the other, interlacing the fingers and drawing them back. The heel of the bottom hand should be placed between the nipples of the adult for compressions. The fingers should not be touching the chest. Thirty compressions will need to be delivered within 23 seconds, allowing recovery between each compression.

Child Cardio

  • Two fingers should be placed on the child's sternum, just below the nipple line. The other fingers should be clear of the child's chest, ideally curled into the palm of the hand. Thirty compressions will be delivered within 23 seconds, allow the chest to recover between compressions.

Repeat Process

  • Return to the pulmonary exercise, giving only breaths and not taking the pulse. On the second round of compressions you should illustrate knowledge of the two thumb method of compression for child certification. The hands should encircle the child while your two thumbs execute the compressions.


  • If you are testing for CPR with defibrilation, then you will approach the victim. Select the correct defibrilation pads and power up the machine. After a round of breaths, clear the other rescuer both with your voice and with a physical signal. Position the pads and clear once more before activating one pulse. After defibrilation deliver 30 compressions and cycle to breathing as usual.

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