CDM Credentialing Exam FAQ

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) offers 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: When will the exam be given?

A: The exam is available year-round at PSI test centers. Exams are administered by appointment, Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments may be scheduled based on availability. 

Q: What is the test format?

A:  The exam is a multiple-choice question/answer format and is computer-based. You will see one question per page. You will be checked into the Test Center by a proctor and given scratch paper and a pencil for notes.

Q:  How long is the test?

A:  There are 160 multiple-choice questions. You will have three hours 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.

Q: Will I be able to return to questions I was not sure about during the test?

A:  Yes, you will be able to return to questions if time permits. 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.

Q: Am I required to take the entire exam, or if I receive a certain percentage correct, will the computer stop the exam?

A:  You need to take the entire exam. Any unanswered questions will be scored as incorrect.

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:  Where will I go to take the exam?

A:  The exam will be administered by PSI, our examination services provider, which has over 300 Test Center sites in the United States. Sites (which may be subject to change) can be viewed on our website - Exam Sites.

Q:  How will I know when I am supposed to take the test?

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 email 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 email 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. 

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 do 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 888/519-9901. 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

To re-apply and schedule an exam date, time, and location with PSI, you must meet the current eligibility requirements and submit a new exam application with fees for review and approval. 

Q:  What do I need to bring with me?

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 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 is considered a missed appointment. There will be no refund of exam fees.  To retest, a new application must be submitted with fees for review and approval. 

You may also consider bringing a silent, nonprogrammable, battery-operated calculator with no printing capabilities (optional). 

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.

Q:  Do I have to wait until everyone is seated before I start my test?

A:  No, computer-based tests are independently timed.

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

A:  You will receive your score report from the test proctor after you finish taking your 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, or the questions that were missed. Examinees who do not earn the minimum standard for passing 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 are weak. In preparing to retake the CDM Credentialing Examination, examinees should focus attention particularly on the content areas where they had difficulty.

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 or certified cards 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 do 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. 

Q:  What is the passing score?

A: The passing score is 96. This is not a percentage score. Please see next question for how the passing score is determined. Your score report will indicate the exact number of correct answers required to pass the exam out of the possible 140 correct answers. A percentage score is not provided on your score report. Individuals who do not pass the exam will also receive a breakdown of their score by exam content area.

Q:  How is the passing score determined?

A:  Periodically, every organization that offers a credential conducts a job analysis study to develop the content outline upon which exam forms are based. The passing score is determined by a cut-score study called a modified Angoff procedure. This study relies on subject matter experts – in our case, CDM, CFPPs and Registered Dietitians (RDs), to estimate the difficulty of each question for a ‘minimally competent practitioner,’ or dietary manager that is considered entry level. Other forms of the exam are then selected to match the same level of content distribution and overall statistical characteristics of the form on which the study was performed. Because all of the exam questions have been pretested and therefore have performance statistics, we can estimate the overall difficulty of each form of the exam. When the forms can be documented to be equally difficult, the passing point can remain the same. However, if one form is slightly more or less difficult than another, it could necessitate a slightly higher or lower passing point. Because the passing point is established prior to the administration of the form, this process is known as statistical pre-equating. Pre-equating ensures that everyone is taking an exam of equivalent difficulty. For additional information about the Angoff passing score study, please contact the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers at 800.323.1908. 

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. 

More questions? Please contact Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals at 800.323.1908, or send e-mail to: