CFRE International offers an exam that is comprehensive, tests current best practices in fundraising, and is valid and reliable. CFRE International continuously revises the CFRE Exam.

Several groups of current CFREs around the world volunteer with CFRE International’s professional testing agency, Pearson VUE, to assure a fair and credible exam.

Receiving Your Results

Within 48 hours of finishing the exam, Pearson VUE will send you an email with your exam results that will include a pass/fail score report with a breakdown of your performance by knowledge domain.

Once Pearson VUE sends CFRE International your score, we will email you your final certification determination. If you passed, you will receive your official certification letter and a certificate suitable for framing.

If unsuccessful, you will receive instructions via email with information on retaking.

You are able to take the exam up to two more times on the application you submitted. There is a fee and minimum 30-day wait period before you are able to test again.

How the CFRE Exam Is Scored

The exam uses a scaled score, with scores ranging from 200 to 800. To pass, a score of 500 or above is required. 

An 800 represents a perfect score. The candidate’s “raw score,” or actual number of questions answered correctly, is converted to the scaled score. This statistical procedure provides a common scale for reviewing and reporting results.

All candidates receive a score report that shows them the overall scaled score required to successfully pass the exam (500). The score report also provides the candidate with a breakdown by content area of their exam performance.

Candidates receiving a scaled score of 500 or greater will have successfully met the minimum for passing the examination.

Those with a scaled score of 499 or less will not have met the minimum standard for passing the examination.

CFRE International uses a “criterion-referenced” exam model. As such, they may be different from “norm-referenced” exams that are typical of other exams you may have taken.

“Norm-referenced” exams are those that are graded “on a curve.” This means the candidate’s performance is evaluated in relationship to others taking the examination. This is not the case with the CFRE Exam. The exam is not scored on a curve and CFRE International does not pre-determine a number of candidates they wish to have pass the exam.

The passing point, a scaled score of 500, has been set in advance using a panel of CFREs worldwide. CFRE International’s Exam Committee works with these panels and professional testing agency staff to apply the Modified Angoff Method for establishing the passing point. This is the most commonly used method for certification exams.

CFRE International works with Pearson VUE to monitor the performance of each test question. Despite checks and reviews, there are occasions when a test question performs differently in an actual testing situation than expected.

If it appears a question was misleading or had more than one correct answer, CFRE International may opt to allow more than one answer to be accepted as correct or might score the question correct for everyone. This way, no candidate is penalized for a flaw in test construction.

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Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance

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Nepal Center for Philanthropy and Development

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BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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Korea Society of Philanthropy

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Habitat for Humanity

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HKMA

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Boy and Girls Clubs of America

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China – CAFP

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NACCDO

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Brazil Fundraising Association

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European Fundraising Association

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Boy Scouts of America

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Japan Fundraising Association

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North American YMCA Development Organization

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New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals

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International Catholic Stewardship Council

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Fundraising Institute New Zealand

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Fundraising Institute Australia

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Association of Philanthropic Counsel

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Association of Fundraising Consultants

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Educate Plus

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The Giving Institute

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