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 now has over 98% of its Test Centers open. The Test Center site list (, now shows open sites, address, and capacity of that site. Note that some Test Centers are  operating at 50% seat capacity to accommodate social distancing requirements.  Please check this list to make sure the Test Center is available to schedule your exam as well as to complete your exam as scheduled. Approved exam candidates may now schedule or reschedule their exam. Scheduling will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Important Information from PSI and CBDM

To ensure the safety of its employees and the candidates, PSI follows strict safety procedures in line with federal, state, and local guidelines as well as guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). 

  • The health questionnaire ( MUST be completed and brought on the scheduled day. 
    • If a candidate fails to bring the required questionnaire, one will be provided on-site for completion prior to being allowed to test. 
    • Candidates who answer "yes" to any of the first four questions will be denied admission and should not travel to the Test Center. They will need to reschedule their exam for a date up to September 30 and may do so online ( or by contacting PSI via e-mail ( 
  • ALL candidates must wear face masks at all times while in the Test Center.
    • Candidates who fail to bring and wear a face mask during the exam will be requested to leave the test site.
    • Candidates will be requested to remove the face mask briefly during check-in to verify identity as well as capture their photograph. 
  • Candidates may wear gloves during the exam. Gloves will need to be examined by the test site administrator during check-in and check-out. 
    • Candidates are required to discard face masks and gloves outside of the PSI test site in a safe and sanitary manner. 
  • Candidates must adhere to the posted social distancing protocols at all times. 

For more information about PSI Test Center policy and procedures, visit their FAQ page.

Watch your e-mails for updates to CBDM policies or other matters regarding the CDM, CFPP Certification Program. You may also contact CBDM at 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.




1/1/15 - 6/30/15



7/1/15 - 12/31/15



1/1/16 - 6/30/16



7/1/16 - 12/31/16



1/1/17 - 6/30/17



7/1/17 - 12/31/17



1/1/18 - 6/30/18



7/1/18 - 12/31/18



1/1/19 - 6/30/19

 988  73.1

7/1/19 - 12/31/19



Q:  How many individuals are currently certified?

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