Taking a certification exam is a major event in your personal and professional life. You will want to prepare yourself appropriately. Equally important as your confidence about the examination’s content is your confidence in your approach to the exam.

For most adults, it has been some time since they last took an examination of any kind. The prospect of having to demonstrate professional knowledge used on a daily basis may raise anxieties about taking an exam.

Before the examination

One of the most effective ways to prepare for an exam is to be certain you are feeling confident physically and mentally. It is recommended that you get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. Try to relax the evening before. A brief content review is fine, but the night before the exam is not the time to do late-night intensive cramming. You want to go into the exam feeling refreshed and ready to concentrate.

A bit of planning in the days before the exam can go a long way toward feeling confident and avoiding problems which can unsettle you. If travel is required to your testing centre, consider staying close to the exam location the night before. If the location is unfamiliar to you, obtain directions from the testing centre website.

You may want to consider visiting the exam location a few days ahead of time. Determine where you will park and if you will need to bring money to pay for parking.

Wearing comfortable clothing during the exam is also important. It is not necessary to dress in your best business suit. Do remember that exam rooms may have temperature conditions that differ from the local weather. We strongly suggest that you dress in layers, as getting the room temperature comfortable for everyone is difficult. In cooler weather, the room may be especially warm; during the summer months, air conditioning may be turned up very high. It is advisable to wear layers of clothing which you can add or remove as you adjust to the room environment.

Plan to eat something before the exam. Remember, it will be several hours before you have the chance to eat again. Food and drink are not permitted in the testing area, although some sites may have vending machines available. All sites do have water coolers. You will be permitted to leave the room to get a drink or use the restroom as needed.

All you need to bring with you to the exam is two forms of government-issued identification. At least one must bear your signature.

Taking the exam should be viewed as a journey, not a dreaded task.

On the day of the examination

All you need to bring with you to the exam is two forms of government-issued identification. At least one must bear your signature and photo. Signature-bearing, photo identification is required for admittance to the exam. If you do not bring it, the proctor will not admit you. The name on your identification must exactly match your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter.

Do not plan to bring any books, calculators, papers or reading materials. These items will not be permitted in the exam room. You will be given scratch paper on which to make any notes.

Be punctual – arrive on time. Your testing confirmation will state at what time you should arrive. When you arrive, you will need to go through the admissions process. If there are many candidates at your exam site, this may take some time.

Once you have been checked in, you will be required to leave all handbags and other personal belonging outside the room. All testing centers have secure lockers for your personal items. You will not be permitted to bring anything into the exam room, including food and drink. If you require the use of durable medical equipment (i.e. cane, insulin pump, etc.) during the exam, please notify CFRE International BEFORE you take the exam. CFRE International can alert the testing center. Otherwise, you may not be permitted to take the medical equipment into the secure testing area.

Once you are admitted, you will be escorted to your seat. The proctor will log you into the exam. Please be sure to verify that you have received the correct examination before you proceed. Call any discrepancy to the attention of the proctor immediately.

You will then have the opportunity to take a brief tutorial which will orient you to the computer screen and show you how to navigate through the exam. Time spent on the tutorial is not part of the four (4) hours you have to complete the exam.

Once you being the timed portion of the exam, you have four (4) hours to complete it. You will be able to mark questions to come back to them for review.

When you have finished your exam and submitted it, you will be taken to a short survey about your test taking experience.

As you leave the testing room, the Proctor will provide you with a notice of test completion that contains a preliminary determination of your performance. This initial determination will not give you your full score but is an indication of how you did on the exam overall.

After the examination

Candidates will receive their score reports immediately upon completion of the exam.

Upon receiving a copy of your scores, CFRE International will mail you your final certification determination. If you have been successful on the exam, you will receive your official certification letter and a certificate that is suitable for framing. If you were not successful, you will receive further instruction as to your options for proceeding.