Exam Procedures

Examination Administration

 The candidate is to arrive at the test center at the time noted on the authorization admission documents.  In order to be admitted, the Admission Letter and a current photo identification are required.  A candidate will not be admitted without proper identification.  The only acceptable forms of identification are: driver’s license, government-issued identification card, or a passport.  No other forms of identification will be accepted.  If the candidate’s name has changed since receiving the admission letter, the candidate must bring legal documentation showing the previous name and current name (for example, divorce decree, court order, marriage license, or notarized affidavit).

No candidate will be admitted without the required documents.  This policy is applicable for both original candidates and those who take the examination again.  No walk-in candidates will be admitted.  

After establishing positive identification, the candidate will be escorted to a computer station to begin.   Before beginning the test, the candidate will fill out a series of screens that will gather basic identification information.  The system then compares this information to the registration record as a second quality assurance measure.  Following the identifying information screens, a practice test is presented to train the candidate on how to use the computer mouse or keyboard to take the test.  Additionally, the proctor is trained to assist candidates if they have any questions about how to use the system. 

The online testing system is extremely user-friendly and can be completely operated with a few keys or a computer mouse.   After the demonstration test, which is untimed, the candidate will be asked if he or she wishes to begin the test.  If yes, the clock begins and the first question appears.  The amount of elapsed time will continuously show on the computer screen. 


Each test question is an independent item.  The best answer should always be selected.  The candidate will have the option to “tag” questions for review later.  At any time, candidates can initiate the display of a list of the questions that have been tagged, review them, change the answers, etc. 


The test ends when 3 hours have elapsed (after a 10 minute and 5 minute warning), or earlier if the candidate concludes the test.  The software will provide warnings at 10 minutes and 5 minutes before the 3 hours elapse.  The system will then ask the candidate to fill out a short questionnaire about the experience at the test center (the proctor’s behavior, level of service, ease of use, etc.).  After completion of the examination, the candidate will receive an immediate score report.

Examination Rules

  1. Dress is “business casual” (neat…but certainly comfortable).
  2. Failure to follow test center instructions will result in the candidate’s application being voided and forfeiture of the application fee. Conduct that results in a violation of security or disrupts the administration of the examination could result in dismissal from the examination.  In addition, the examination will be considered void and will not be scored.  Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to,
  • Writing on any material other than official testing materials provided by the proctor for completion and return.
  • Talking to a person other than a Exam Supervisor or a Proctor during the examination
  • Looking at another candidate’s exam
  • Allowing someone to look at or copy from your exam
  • Extending work on the exam before or after the proctor’s authorization to work
  • Removing, or attempting to remove, any secure material or information from the examination room.
  1. Candidates must not discuss or possess reference materials or any other examination information at any time during the entire examination period. Candidates are clearly cautioned not to do so after having completed the exam and checked out of the test room, as other candidates in the area could be taking a break and might not have completed the examination.  Candidates may not attend the examination only to review or audit test materials.  Candidates may not copy any portion of the examination for any reason. 
  2. No unauthorized persons will be admitted into the testing area.  Please be further advised that all examination content is strictly confidential.  At no other time, before, during, or after the examination, may candidates communicate orally, electronically or in writing with any person or entity about the content of the examination or individual examination questions.
  3. Candidates writing on anything other than official exam materials that will be returned will be in violation of the security policies above. Reference materials are not allowed in the testing room.  Candidates are asked to bring as few personal and other items as possible to the testing area.
  4. While the site climate is controlled to the extent possible, candidates should be prepared for either warm or cool temperatures at the testing center to reduce the likelihood of becoming uncomfortable.
  5. Cellular phones, smart watches, and beepers are prohibited in the testing area.  Electrical outlets will not be available for any reason.  The use of headphones inside the testing area is prohibited.  Earplugs for sound suppression are allowed. 
  6. No smoking or use of tobacco will be allowed inside the testing area.  Food and drinks are not allowed in the testing room. 
  7. Candidates must vacate the testing area after completing the examination.  Due to limited parking facilities at some sites, candidates should allow ample time to park and reach the testing area.
  8. Only calculators built into the testing software are allowed.


Examination Scoring

The examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions with four (4) choices for each question.  Twenty of these questions are included for research purposes only.  The research questions are not identified; therefore, all questions are to be answered to the best ability of the candidate.  Examination results will be based only on the 80 scored questions on the examination.  The order of items and answer choices vary from candidate to candidate.  Expert content practitioners have provided input regarding the difficulty level of every question used in AAFCS examinations.  That information is used to develop examination forms that have comparable difficulty levels.  When there are differences in difficulty in different versions of an examination, a mathematical procedure is used to equalize the difficulty scores.  Because the number of questions required to pass the examination may vary for different test versions, the scores are converted to a reporting scale to ensure a common standard.  The passing score is a scaled score of 240 out of a possible 300 points on the scoring scale.


Should a candidate who fails the exam request that their examination be manually re-scored, the request and reason must be made in writing and submitted to the Certification Department at AAFCS with a $50.00 rescoring fee. The rescoring fee is set by the testing company; AAFCS collects the fee and sends the request for rescoring.   If the examination is rescored and an error is found in the scoring, the $50.00 rescoring fee will be refunded and the corrected score will be reported.  If the original score is found to be accurate, the $50.00 rescoring fee will not be refunded.


Examination Results

Examination results will be provided immediately following the computer-based examination.  Consistent with testing industry standard practices, passing candidates will be given pass-status and total scaled score information only, not breakout numeric scores.  Failing candidates will be provided with an overall numeric scale score as well as a report indicating the percentage of items answered correctly for each standard/domain area.  This serves as diagnostic information of strong and weak areas to guide preparation for retesting. 


Within 10-14 business days from the test administration date, candidates will receive official exam notification from AAFCS via email.  If a passing score is achieved, candidates will also receive a certification application and other documents necessary for earning the AAFCS professional credentials.


Should a candidate need a duplicate of the results provided at the computer-based testing center, a written request must be submitted to Credentialing Center staff at AAFCS (email to certification@aafcs.org).  Results WILL NOT be released over the phone because positive identification cannot be established.


Retaking the Examination

If the candidate does not achieve a passing score on the examination, he or she may sit for the examination again.  To take the examination again, the candidate must again complete the online registration application and examination fee, following the complete registration procedure previously outlined.  During a month-long testing window, a candidate may take only one of the AAFCS examination titles and may take it only once.  The report issued to a candidate who has not passed the test provides (a) an overall scale score, and (b) a diagnostic breakdown of the candidate’s strong and weak areas.    This information is provided in order to enable the candidate to use this information to focus study efforts on weak areas in preparation for taking the examination again. 

Special Accommodations and Language Policies

AAFCS provides special accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA).  If a disability prevents a candidate from taking the examination under normal conditions, he or she may request special accommodations.  The request must be in writing, accompany the application form, explain the name of the disability (i.e. the diagnosis), the type of accommodation the candidate is requesting, and must include supporting documentation (dated within the last five years) of the diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional.  After receiving the request and appropriate documentation, the candidate will be contacted to make arrangements for special accommodation. 


Please note that for reasons related to examination standardization, security, and cost, the AAFCS examinations are offered only in English at this time.  If English is not the primary language, AAFCS recommends (but does not require) that candidates consider sitting for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination before sitting for the AAFCS examination.  Candidate scores on the TOEFL® will provide a useful gauge for understanding if reading and comprehending English will provide difficulty for the candidate on the AAFCS examination.  The TOEFL® examination is offered at multiple locations both domestically and internationally throughout the year at Sylvan Learning Centers®.  More information is available on the Sylvan web site.