CDM Credentialing Exam FAQs

Q: Which exam study materials are right for me?

A: Are you preparing for the CDM Credentialing Exam? Utilize the chart below to compare of the tools that the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM) makes available to help you succeed! These study materials and reference books are completely optional. Purchase and/or successful completion of exam review materials are not required to sit for the exam and they do not predict or guarantee a passing score on the exam. Candidates may prepare for the exam in a manner of their choice. 

Download the Comparison Chart

Q: What is the format of the exam?

A: There are 160 multiple-choice question/answer items on the computer-based exam. They are based on professional situations in which a dietary manger would need to make a decision or solve a problem. You will see one question per page. You will have three hours (180 minutes) to complete the exam. There are 140 scored items on the examination. The examination also includes 20 unscored items that are being pretested for use on future examinations. Pretesting is a standard process that allows CBDM to evaluate the quality of new items, which allows for the issuance of score reports on the day of the examination administration. The exam questions are based on the detailed Exam Content Outline.

Q: What can I expect as I take the exam?

A:  If time permits, you can return to questions that you may be unsure about as you take the exam. It is important to answer every question as only completed answers will be scored. If you are unsure of an answer, you should mark the one you believe to be the best answer. You need to take the entire exam. The exam is NOT considered complete when you achieve a certain number of correct answers. Any unanswered questions will be scored as incorrect.

Q:  Where will I go to take the exam?

A: The exam will be administered by PSI, our examination services provider. PSI has more than 300 Test Center sites in the United States. Sites (which may be subject to change) can be viewed here. The exam is available year-round at the PSI Test Centers. Exams are administered by appointment only, Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments may be available at some locations.

Q:  How do I apply for special accommodations?

A:  Download and print the required form. This form is to be completed by you and an appropriate professional to ensure that PSI is able to provide the required accommodations. This form must be submitted with your application at least 45 days prior to your requested examination date.

Q:  How will I know when I can schedule my test appointment?

A:  When your registration is completed and eligibility approved, ANFP will send you a confirmation via e-mail and submit your name and contact information to PSI. About 7 to 14 days later, PSI will send you an e-mail inviting you to schedule your testing appointment. You will have 90 days from the day you receive that e-mail from PSI to schedule and take the exam. Check your spam folder if you have not received PSI’s e-mail when anticipated. ANFP and CBDM are not responsible for missed communications due to incorrect e-mail or mailing addresses in your record, or for e-mail messages you failed to retrieve from your spam folder. It is your responsibility to keep current your contact information in your record. Also, ANFP and CBDM are not responsible for any missed communications regarding any ANFP or CBDM matters for individuals who chose to opt out or unsubscribe from messages sent by ANFP or CBDM.

PSI began the process of re-opening all their Test Centers on Friday, May 1, 2020. The Test Centers will be operating at a 50% seat capacity to accommodate social distancing requirements. Approved exam candidates may now schedule or reschedule their exam. Scheduling will be on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, there may be changes in state, county and city restrictions, resulting in test center closures on short notice after re-opening. Please note the following:

  • Affected Test Centers will notify PSI by 5:00 p.m. ET if there is a closure.

  • PSI recommends that during this phase-in period for Test Center openings, candidates should confirm the status of their Test Center after 5:00 pm the day before their scheduled exam in the closure listing found HERE.

  • PSI will send an e-mail shortly after closure notification to all affected candidates and will follow up with a phone call to confirm email notification and assist with rescheduling.

PSI continuously updates their website regarding Test Center re-opening and closures. If a Test Center is not on the closure list, it is open and operating. Test Centers that are open for essential services only are now denoted as such. Any Test Centers that are closed and do not currently have a specific reopen date are indicated on the list as “TBD.” As a reminder, the closure list can be found HERE.

PSI is now permitting the use of facemasks and gloves based on recommendations of the CDC:

  • Candidates will be required to provide their own facemasks and gloves. These will not be provided by PSI.

  • Facemasks will need to be removed during check-in process to verify identify and take photo.

  • Candidates are responsible for disposing of used facemasks and gloves securely outside of the test center.

Any questions regarding the safety and sanitation procedures at PSI Test Centers can be found HERE.

With this in mind, CBDM has extended the 90-day window for all exam candidates until September 30, 2020.

  • If you have been approved to sit for the exam and have NOT already scheduled your exam date/location, you will now have the ability to schedule until September 30, 2020. To schedule an exam appointment, click HERE (once on the page, select “CDM, CFPP Credentialing Exam” and on the next page, click on the red "Register for this Exam" button) to schedule online.

  • If you HAVE already scheduled your exam date, you must contact PSI directly at 833.333.4755 to reschedule your exam.

Watch your e-mails for updates to CBDM polices or other matters regarding the CDM, CFPP Certification Program. You may also contact CBDM at info@CBDMonline.org or 800.323.1908, select option 1 (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST).

Q:  Will I receive confirmation of my appointment?

A:  Yes, another e-mail will be generated and sent to you from PSI shortly after you schedule your appointment with PSI. This e-mail will include directions to the Test Center and a reminder of what you need to bring with you.

Q:  What must I do if I need to reschedule my appointment?

A:  If you need to reschedule your appointment, please refer to your scheduling email from PSI for instructions or call PSI’s Candidate Support System at 833.333.4755. You will forfeit the application and all fees paid to take the examination under any of the following circumstances: 

  • You wish to reschedule an examination appointment but fail to contact PSI at least two business days prior to the scheduled examination session
  • You want to reschedule a second time
  • You appear more than 15 minutes late for your appointment, or you fail to report for your appointment

Q: What should I bring with me on the day of the exam?

A:  To gain admission to the Test Center, you must present two forms of identification (ID).   

NOTE: Examinees who fail to provide acceptable identification will not be admitted for testing. This will be considered a missed appointment. To retest, a new application must be submitted to CBDM with fees for review and approval. 

  • The primary form of ID must be government issued, current, and include your photograph and signature. Examples of valid primary forms of identification are: driver’s license with photograph; state identification card with photograph; passport; military identification card with photograph. No expired or temporary IDs allowed.
  • The secondary form of identification must display your name and signature for signature verification (e.g., credit card with signature, social security card with signature, student/employment ID card with signature).

If your name on your exam registration is different than it appears on your identification, you must bring proof of your name change (e.g., marriage license, divorce decree, or court order). Failure to provide appropriate identification at the time of the exam will prohibit you from being allowed to test and is considered a missed appointment. There will be no refund of exam fees. To retest, a new application must be submitted to CBDM with fees for review and approval. 

You may bring a silent, non-programmable, battery-operated calculator with no printing capabilities (optional). The Test Center administrator must approve your calculator. The Test Center Proctor will provide you with scratch paper and pencil. You may not bring your own into the testing room.

Q:  What will it be like at the Test Center?

A:  Test Centers may have multiple testing workstations in one room; all tests are proctored and recorded. There may be other examinees in the room taking different tests.

Because each computer-based test is independently timed, you do not need to wait for others to arrive and/or start the test. A clock on your computer will count down until all 180 minutes have been exhausted. Your photo will be taken when you begin the exam and will remain on your computer screen until you complete the exam. The proctor will ensure that you remain in compliance with CBDM policy as you complete the exam.

Q:  When will I find out if I have passed?

A:  You will receive your score report from the test center proctor after you finish taking your exam. It will indicate your score as well as if you passed the exam. ANFP will be notified of your official test results within about seven to ten business days.

Q: Can I get a copy of my exam or the questions that I missed?

A: For security purposes, we cannot release copies of the examination, in part or whole, including or the questions that were missed. Examinees who do not earn the minimum standard for passing the exam receive a report that shows the number of questions answered correctly in each of the five content areas. This enables examinees to determine the areas where they are strong and the areas where they may require additional study. In preparing to retake the CDM Credentialing Examination, examinees should focus attention particularly on the content areas where they scored lowest.

Q:  When do I get my certificate?

A:  Individuals who are an ANFP member when they pass the exam and maintain their Professional membership with ANFP through the following May 31 will automatically be upgraded to Certified status, with the initial certification fee waived one time. They will receive their certificate, card, and additional information about their certification in approximately three to four weeks. 

Individuals who pass the exam and are not an ANFP member must activate their certification within one year of passing the exam. They will receive an email from ANFP explaining the activation fees as well as information about the benefits of membership. They may choose to activate their credential as a member or non-member. They do not receive their certificate until the certification has been activated and fees paid. 

Failure to activate certification within one year of passing the exam will result in your certification being terminated. To be eligible for certification again, you must meet the current eligibility requirements, submit an exam application with fees for review and approval, and receive a passing score on the exam.

After activation of the certification, the CDM, CFPP credential may be used as long as certification is active, valid, and in good standing. Certificants must comply with all recertification requirements to maintain use of the credential. Failure to do so will result in the certification being terminated. 

Q: Do I have to pay again to retake the exam?

A: Yes, you have to complete and submit a new application with fees for review and approval and fully meet the current eligibility requirements each time you want to sit for the exam. You must wait 90 days between retakes of the exam. If eligible, there is no limit to how many times the exam may be retaken. The 90-day wait period must be met for any retake of the exam.

Q:  How is the passing score determined?

A: Historically, answering about 70% is of the scored items has been required to pass the exam. Your score report will indicate the exact number of test items that you must answer correctly to pass the exam as well as the number of test items that you answered correctly out of the possible 140 scored items. (The 20 pretest questions are not scored and are not included in the total score.) Your report will also indicate if you passed or failed the exam. Individuals who do not pass the exam will also receive a breakdown of their score by the exam content area.

The passing score is determined by a cut-score study called a modified Angoff procedure. This statistical study relies on subject matter experts – in our case, CDM, CFPPs and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), to estimate the difficulty of each question for a ‘minimally competent practitioner,’ or dietary manager that is considered entry level. The data is then used to determine the score required to pass the exam.

On average, about 75% of candidates pass the exam on their first attempt. The pass rate statistics are published below on a semi-annual basis.

Q:  What are the exam statistics?

A: Pass/fall statistics will be reported twice per year.


DATES OF TESTING

NUMBER OF CANDIDATES

PASSING RATE FOR FIRST TIME TEST TAKERS

1/1/15 - 6/30/15

527

76.2

7/1/15 - 12/31/15

604

79.5

1/1/16 - 6/30/16

595

76.0

7/1/16 - 12/31/16

636

77.7

1/1/17 - 6/30/17

695

78.1

7/1/17 - 12/31/17

834

76.9

1/1/18 - 6/30/18

949

75.7

7/1/18 - 12/31/18

972

77.8

1/1/19 - 6/30/19

 988  73.1

7/1/19 - 12/31/19

 1,134

 76.0

Q:  How many individuals are currently certified?

A: As of May 31, 2019, there are 12,572 individuals holding the CDM, CFPP credential.