The CGFM consists of three separate exams. Each is needed to gain certification as a Certified
Government Financial Manager. These exams are developed and used by the
Association of Governmental Accountants (AGA) to provide a set of national
standards for professionals in this field.

Who is Eligible?

Qualified candidates must meet the following requirements and be able to prove such on an application:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution in any subject
  • Have at least two years of professional experience in government financial management

You must also be able to agree to a code of conduct and ethics, as well as pay for each exam. The fee for each exam is $125, plus a one-time application fee of $25.

Once you have been deemed as eligible, you will have three years to schedule and successfully pass all three exams. You will be sent an invitation to test shortly after you have been admitted into the CGFM program with instructions on how to register.

When and Where?

AGA computer-administers all three exams separately year-round at over 200 Pearson VUE testing centers nationwide. A complete list of available dates, times and locations will be provided to you during registration.

Choose a testing session that is most convenient for you. However, each site has a limited number of seats, making it essential to schedule your preferred appointment as early as possible.  

For those with disabilities or who may not be able to test under normal conditions, special accommodations are available upon request. This request must be made before you can be scheduled for any of the three exams and supporting documentation will need to be provided.

Rescheduling or canceling your appointment can be done by contacting Pearson VUE no later than 48 hours before your originally scheduled exam time. failure to do so during this time period will result in the forfeiture of your exam fees and the end of your testing window.

What Should I Bring?

Plan to arrive for your testing appointment at least 30 minutes early. This will allow you enough time to finish the required check-in process before you are seated for your exam. Those who show up late will not be allowed to test that day.

At least two forms of current and valid identification will need to be brought with you to the testing site. One of these must be a government-issued photo ID containing your full name and signature. If either ID contains missing or incorrect information, you will need to provide another one for admittance.

No personal items are to be brought with you to the testing site. This includes but is not limited to calculators, study materials, cell phones, or any food and drinks. Violators to this policy will be immediately dismissed and your test scores voided.

What is Covered?

Each of the three exams is made up of 115 multiple-choice questions. The time limit for each exam is two hours and 15 minutes.

Below is a brief outline of the major sections of each exam including the amount of weight they are given:

Government Environment (GE)

  1. Organization, structure, and authority of government (15%)
  2. The legally-based implication of the government financial environment (20%)
  3. Government management system cycle (18%)
  4. Governmental financing process (25%)
  5. Identifying concepts, definitions, and notions of public accountability (10%)
  6. Ethics as applied to the government environment (7%)
  7. Electronic services in government (5%)

Governmental Accounting, Financial Reporting and Budgeting (GAFRB)

  1. Governmental financial accounting, reporting, and budgeting general knowledge (40%)
  2. State and local financial accounting and reporting (30%)
  3. Federal financial accounting and reporting (30%)

Governmental Financial Management and Control (GFMC)

  1. Financial management functions (30%)
  2. Financial and Managerial Analysis Techniques (10%)
  3. Internal Control (25%)
  4. Performance management/metrics/service efforts and accomplishments (15%)
  5. Auditing (20%)

What About my Scores?

For each exam completed, you will receive an unofficial score report at the testing center. This will give you your pass/fail result, and for those that fail, a more detailed look at your performance.

You will need to obtain a score of at least 500 on each exam to be considered passing.

Once you have passed all three exams, you may submit a Work Verification form for approval. This is done within three weeks from the last test date and your official award letter sent immediately. Your official certificate will be sent about 6-10 weeks after your letter arrives.

Retakes are available for those that fail after a 30-day waiting period. After a second unsuccessful attempt, you will need to wait for 90 days to reschedule the exam.

How Can I Prepare for the CGFM Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023