Are you a nurse who’s decided to take your nursing career to a new level by becoming a case manager? Are you a health worker who’s looking to advance your practice? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’d probably be wondering how difficult the CCM exam is.
It’s a valid question to ask yourself, and like you, many other people are asking the same questions.
There are so many factors to consider when trying to figure out the difficulty level of the CCM exams, but the most significant is how prepared you are. Preparation would require a solid plan from the beginning. But when you consider how vital the certification is to your practice, you’ll be ready to prepare well. We’ve detailed everything you need to know about the exam in this article, including tips to help you prepare better.
What is the CCM Exam Like?
The Board-Certified Case Manager (CCM) exam is designed to measure individuals’ basic knowledge of case management. The CCM exam certification is proof that you have the necessary knowledge and professionalism needed to succeed in case management. This certification is the first nationally accredited case manager credential. Earning a case manager credential shows that you’re knowledgeable and experienced enough to provide services to patients with severe medical conditions.
One good thing about the CCM is the consistency of its structure every year. This means that the structure and areas covered will be the same from year to year. However, the questions generally move around these areas. The exam typically consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. One hundred and fifty of these questions are operational, while 30 are pre-set. The exam comprises 5 major domains and 59 subdomains. You’re expected to complete the content portion of the test within 3 hours.
The CCM exam is a computer-based test, and since it is designed for the CCMC, the questions are strongly related to the case management field. Unlike most other exams, you won’t encounter core subjects like Mathematics and Reading. Instead, the exams will test your knowledge on subjects specific to your field, such as Healthcare Management and Delivery, Principles of Practice, Psychological Aspects, Case Management Concepts, Healthcare Reimbursement, etc. Of course, the core subjects will come into play under these areas, but not to the point of dominating the exam or impacting your studies.
What are the Requirements to Become a Certified Case Manager?
To become a certified case manager, a candidate must take and pass the CCM exams. However, specific requirements qualify you to take the test. Some of the Certified Case Manager exam requirements include:
1. A candidate must hold current and active certification or licensure in a health or human services discipline.
2.Alternatively, a candidate would be eligible for the exam if they have a baccalaureate or graduate degree in any health or human services field. However, please note that the degree must be from an accredited institution, and the candidate must have completed supervised fieldwork in health, behavioral health, or case management.
3. The candidate must also have one or more of the following to be eligible for the exam:
- At least 12 months of full-time case management employment experience
- The experience must have been gotten under the supervision of a Board-Certified case manager, who should be certified for a minimum of 12 months before the supervision period.
- Twenty-four months of supervised full-time case management experience.
What is the Passing Score for the CCM Exam?
It would have been easier to say the CCM exam passing score is 500, 300, or any other figure. But it’s not that easy. Firstly, it’s important to note that the exam contains multiple forms and sections. Each form contains a different combination of questions. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to set a specific raw score as the correct passing score. This means that your performance may not necessarily be judged by how many questions you answer correctly.
Instead, the exam board uses a scale score system to ensure candidates demonstrate the same ability level. The scaled score allows for the use of a statistical procedure to adjust for any differences in difficulty level among examination forms.
However, bear in mind that you’ll need a scoring average of 70% or higher in the exam to pass. This includes an individual score of at least 50% on each exam section.
How Hard is the CCM Exam?
The CCM exam format is similar to most other multiple choice exams you’ll write. General opinions on the degree of difficulty of the exam vary from person to person. However, one opinion is consistent among many people; the exam becomes easier when you prepare well for it. Remember that the exams are not based on core subjects, so you can attempt the questions based on your experience. The biggest pro of being a multiple-choice exam is that you’re sure that each question has its answer there, even if you don’t know which one. This means you have a 25% chance of passing the answers you’ve guessed.
7 Tips for Passing the CCM Exam
As we’ve explained above, the CCM exam is practice-based, meaning that all the questions are based on the knowledge that every experienced case manager should know and understand. However, that doesn’t take away the need for adequate preparation. Fortunately, there’s usually just enough time between registration and the CCM exam date. But we often hear people ask about how they can prepare for the test. This section will review some of the best exam preparation strategies to prepare you for the CCM exams. Bear in mind that the amount of time you’ll need to spend on preparation depends on several things, including:
- How good you are at test-taking
- How long you’ve practiced as a case manager
- The area of case management you work on.
That said, here are our best tips for preparing for the CCM exam.
Know What the CCM Exam Entails
Sometimes, studying and studying just won’t cut it. There’d be times when you’ll need to know what you’re going for and study it deeply. The CCM exam is one of such situations where you’ll need to know the exam. Knowing what the exams entail can give you the head start you’d need to prepare for the exams. After all, you don’t expect to be tested in generic subjects. Therefore, it’s essential to know the areas required. In addition to knowing the study areas, it’s also essential to know the exam structure to be better prepared mentally to handle it.
Create a Study Schedule
One significant mistake students make when preparing for exams is waiting until the exam is very close before cramming. This strategy doesn’t work in the CCM exam. Not only will you be too tired from the stress of cramming different materials within a few days, but cramming is also not a guarantee that you’ll be able to answer the applied questions the exams are known for. Instead, start preparations early by putting a study schedule together. Set some hours aside every day to focus on studying for the exam. We also recommend being realistic with the amount of time you can dedicate to studying daily.
Use Dedicated CCM Study Guides
You’re probably already aware that study guides are great tools for preparing for any exam. The same goes for the CCM exam. You’ll find dedicated study guides in bookstores and on the official CCM website. These guides will help you understand what’s required in the exams. It’ll also help you know what the questions look like and how to answer them. So, if you’re preparing for the CCM exam, an excellent way to begin is by getting the guide and studying it properly.
Use Relevant Materials
The CCM exam has so much information that you’ll need to remember. So, it’ll be counterproductive to read everything you lay your hands on. Instead, we recommend narrowing your studies to only relevant materials. Even so, you’ll need to divide your study materials into chunks so that you can study different chunks every day. Study these materials in two or three-hour blocks. In addition to helping you maximize your attention, this strategy also ensures that your mind isn’t exhausted.
If you can, also use flashcards during your studies. Flashcards are famous for helping candidates understand and memorize concepts and terminologies. They are usually convenient for moments when you’ll need to remember technical terminologies during the CCM exam.
Leverage CCM Online Prep Course and Practice Test Guides
The popularization of the internet means that preparation for any exam has become easier. There are tons of materials available online for just about anything. The CCM exam is not an exception. While preparing, we recommend looking up materials on authorized websites. Usually, you’ll find study guides, flashcards, and CCRN practice questions. You’ll also find detailed course books covering psychosocial concepts, care delivery methods, rehabilitation strategies, etc.
The available practice test can also help you note areas of weakness so you can improve in them.
Guess, When You Need To
The exam is made up of multiple-choice questions, which means the correct answer to each question is somewhere among the questions. There’ll be times when you won’t be able to come up with the answer to a question. At such times, you can take a guess. There’s no penalty for guessing. In the event you get an answer wrong, it’ll count the same as an unanswered question. So, if you’re stuck in any question and need to guess your way through it, please do!
Note That a “C” is Not Enough in this Case
One vital piece of information you should arm yourself with while preparing for this exam is the fact that a “C” score does not mean a pass. So, while trying to understand how to ace the exam, you should work towards scoring above 70%. As stated in one of the sections above, any score lower than 70% means that you’ve failed the exam. However, this shouldn’t scare you. The exam is practice-based, so it’s simple to get a good grade if you prepare well.
Is CCM Certification Worth It?
One question we see too often in forums and group discussions is whether the CCM certification is worth it. It’s natural to ask questions like this, considering the emphasis often placed on the certification and the process it takes.
Studies show that over 88% of CCMs say that the CCM certification positively impacts their career. So, if you’re a sucker for statistics, this is already enough proof that the exam is worth it. Another good way to look at it is by reviewing the benefits of the CCM certification. Fortunately, there are so many benefits, including:
- It offers a sense of personal accomplishment
- Increased professional opportunities
- The number of jobs requiring certification is increasing.
- It could set you up for better-paid jobs
- It increases patients’ confidence in your ability.
That said, we can clearly see that the CCM certification is worth it.
Wrapping Things Up: Is the CCM Exam Hard?
We’ve been getting questions recently about the difficulty level of the CCM exam. Many people want to know whether the CCM exams are too difficult to fit into their schedule. Unfortunately, there’s no one-answer-fits-all on whether the exam is hard or not. Instead, the degree of difficulty depends greatly on an individual’s preparation level. So, if you’re planning to write the CCM exam, you must give time to adequate preparation. Fortunately, preparation is not that hard. We’ve explained some CCM preparatory tips in this article to help you prepare better. Remember, preparation starts long before the CCM exam date, so the earlier you create a schedule for yourself, the better.