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

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. You want to go into the exam feeling refreshed and ready to concentrate.

  • 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.

A bit of planning in the days before the exam can go a long way toward feeling confident.

  • If travel is required to your testing centre, consider staying close to the exam location the night before.
  • If you are unfamiliar with where the testing centre is, drive there before exam day to ensure you know the route.
  • Determine where you will park and if you need to bring money for parking.

On the day of the examination

  • Bring with you to the exam two forms of government-issued identification. At least one must bear your signature and photo. 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.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers so you will be prepared no matter what the indoor temperature is.
  • Eat something before the exam. It may be several hours before you have the chance to eat again.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the testing area.
  • All sites have water coolers.
  • You will be permitted to leave the room to get a drink or use the restroom as needed.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Personal Items

  • Once you have been checked in, you will be required to leave all handbags and other personal belonging outside the room.
  • All testing centres 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) during the exam, notify CFRE International BEFORE you take the exam. CFRE International can alert the testing centre. Otherwise, you may not be permitted to take the medical equipment into the secure testing area.

After you are admitted

  • Once you are admitted, you will be escorted to your seat.
  • The proctor will log you into the exam.
  • Verify 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.

Taking the exam

  • Once you begin 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.