Exam Development

The Society of Defense Financial Management (previously the American Society of Military Comptrollers) is pleased to provide a summary of the activities that took place to update the Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) and CDFM with Acquisition Specialty (CDFM-A) certification examinations.

The first major step in the exam update process was to conduct a new Job Task Analysis (JTA), which is a survey of people in the profession to identify the performance domains and associated tasks, knowledge, and/or skills of the profession. The JTA is critical, because it serves as a legally-defensible foundation upon which the exam content is built.

In April and May 2023, HumRRO (the Human Resources Research Organization), SDFM’s partner in exam development, conducted Job Analysis workshops to identify significant changes to the Module 1, 2, 3, & 4 exam blueprint specifications. The updated blueprint knowledge statements were pulled into a Job Task Analysis survey (JTA).

June 21 through July 7, 2023, the JTA was distributed far and wide to capture diverse responses from all DFM stakeholders. HumRRO then updated the Module 1-4 exam blueprint specifications per the survey feedback. In late July, an Exam Blueprint Update Committee was convened to make final adjustments to the blueprints. On August 23, 2023, the SDFM Certification Commission approved the updated blueprints.

Over the course of September and October 2023, almost 60 actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As contributed 676 hours to write 330 new exam questions (“items”) and review over 1,100 items (800 in the current item bank plus the new items). In November 2023, new and revised items were pulled into four pilot tests–one for each module. Actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As took pilot tests between December 18, 2023, and January 22, 2024. The data gathered from the pilot tests was analyzed to assess item quality. The items that met certification industry performance standards were then assembled into their respective Module 1, 2, 3, & 4 exam forms.

On January 8, 2024, we posted an official announcement that the Mod 1-4 exams will be updated with an expected launch date of late spring 2024.

In February 2024, 50 subject matter experts each spent 9.5 to 14 hours providing feedback to help determine appropriate passing scores for the Mod 1-4 exams. HumRRO applied psychometric best practices to determine recommended passing scores for the exams. On March 11, the SDFM Certification Commission decided on the passing scores for the exams.

In April and May 2024, the exam forms were prepared and uploaded to the Pearson VUE testing platform. Extensive quality assurance tests were conducted to ensure that all aspects of the exams were working properly.

Updated Exam Blueprints

Click on the updated 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints here to see the domains and knowledge statements, domain weights, key updates made, and a list of references (study materials) for the updated CDFM and CDFM-A exams.

FAQs

Exam Update Timeline

The updated exam Modules 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be available on May 29, 2024.

 The “old” and “updated” exams will run concurrently from May 9, 2024, through September 30, 2024.

Any candidates who started preparing for the previous exams can test for those exams until September 30, 2024. After this date, only the updated exams will be available. 

 Please contact the Certification Department at certification@sdfm.org

Any passed exams are good for 4 years from the date they were passed, regardless of exam updates. You only need to retake a passed exam if it expires before you have completed the CDFM certification process.

Exam Update

CDFM/CDFM-A Modules 1, 2, 3, and 4 were updated.

Is there a new format for the exam, such as different question types or a different number of questions?

No, each exam is still 2 hours.

 See the 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints here.

See the 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints here.

Yes, the percentages of the subdomains changed. You can view the information in the 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints.

The domain weights for Modules 1-3 were revised. The Module 4 domain names were restructured to align with the DAU Back-to-Basics functional areas. See the 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints for details.

No.

No, the eligibility requirements were not updated and remain the same for now.

The scoring system remains the same. Each candidate will be notified with a “Pass” or “Fail” score report. Candidates who are unsuccessful will also be given the percentage of questions answered correctly for each domain.

CDFM Exams

 The updated exams will be priced at $99 per exam through September 30, 2024. After this date the exam cost will be increased (more information to come).

 Exams can be purchased on the SDFM website by logging into your account here and clicking on the “CDFM Exams” quick link on the left side of the screen. The 2024 CDFM exams will be added to the product list on October 1, 2024.

There are no changes to the exam registration process. Active CDFM enrollment is required prior to purchasing and scheduling exam module appointments.

 No, there are no changes to the exam administration process. Candidates have the options to test at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and online. 

 You can view available Pearson VUE testing centers by visiting www.pearsonvue.com/asmc/. Click on “Find a test center” or “Find a test center on a military base” on the right side of the screen.

 After purchasing a Pearson VUE exam, you should receive exam scheduling instructions within 24-48 hours of the purchase.  If you do not receive emailed exam scheduling instructions by 48 hours after exam purchase, please contact SDFM Certification Department at certification@sdfm.org for assistance.

 If you are scheduled to test at a Pearson VUE Testing Center, you can log into your Pearson VUE account here and cancel or reschedule your exam appointment at not cost up to 4 business days before your appointment. A $50 fee will be charged to cancel or reschedule an exam appointment 3 business days to 24 hours before the testing appointment. Exam appointments cannot be canceled or rescheduled less than 24 hours before the testing appointment without SDFM approval (only documented emergencies qualify). 

Candidates scheduled for an online remote proctored (OnVUE) can reschedule or cancel right up to the scheduled appointment time at no cost.  

The current cost to retake an exam is $99. After September 30, 2024, the cost to retake an exam will increase (more information to come).

There are enforced waiting periods for retaking the CDFM exams: 14 days for a first retake and 28 days for any additional retakes of the same module.

No, the updated exams will not have any impact on existing certifications. All active CDFM/CDFM-A certificants must adhere to the current recertification policies.

 Once you have passed your exams and submitted your Verification of Financial Management Experience (VFME) Form, nothing more is needed.  A congratulatory designation letter will be emailed to the address in your SDFMaccount within 2-3 weeks, and your wall certificate and digital badge will follow.

Other Prep Questions

The CDFM Practice Test App will be updated once the old exams are retired.

Yes, there is an updated reference list in the 2024 CDFM and CDFM-A Exam Blueprints.

 Yes, the training materials are being updated and FAQs will be provided on this page very soon.

SMEs

It is critical to have SME collaboration throughout the CDFM certification exam development process. Your time and willingness to participate is a crucial factor in ensuring that the exam adheres to a scientifically rigorous process that is valid, reliable, and legally defensible.

  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits are awarded for participation.
  • Contributing in tangible and meaningful ways to the Defense Financial Management field.
  • Allowing your thoughts, experiences, and perspectives to be represented in the exam.

Questions? Please contact certification@sdfm.org