Tips to Assist Case Managers Who Did Not Pass the CCM Examination

If you have been following the Case Managers Community on Facebook, you know that April, August, and December are the months that people who are sitting for the Case Management Certification Exam (CCM) are testing. You can feel the stress before these months as case managers who are testing try to prepare and anticipate how they should prepare for the test.

The Case Managers Community is a good support system for many. As a participant, you can ask questions that those who have recently taken the test can answer. Sample test questions are provided so you can ‘learn’ how to answer questions critically. No one knows what test questions will be on the test, but the daily test questions help you get used to answering multiple-choice test questions.

Test takers learn if they passed or did not pass when they click the finished button. This is good, as you don’t need to wait to find out if you passed. For the entire month, Test Takers post that they passed, and many give congratulations. We all know the relief of passing an exam. It is a relief and closure to a challenging time.

Unfortunately, some people don’t pass. The brave ones share their disappointment in a post. Reading those posts, you can feel their pain and disappointment. According to The Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC), the following pass rates for the 2023 CCM exam were:

  • April: 74%
  • August/September: 71%
  • December: 77%

Those who do not pass the exam can retake it within their initial eligibility, but you must schedule it for the next available exam cycle. You can schedule your retake after you receive your exam results email. Review the Frequently Asked Questions CCMC provides on its website to learn more. Frequently Asked Questions (CCMC)

For those of us who have taken a national certification examination, we can relate and send our congratulations to those who passed; I also send a note to those who did not pass so they know they are not alone and not a failure. Failing an exam can make someone feel bad about themselves, not to mention embarrassed, as we all want to pass.

In this article, I wanted to share some tips we can all consider when we know colleagues who don’t pass the exam. I hope these tips help colleagues or managers who work with someone who doesn’t pass the exam. They need your support, and this article will help you help them.

  1. Let them know that failure doesn’t define them.
  2. Tell them it was one exam. It doesn’t mean they are failures in life or that they can’t succeed in their work.
  3. Help them figure out how to do better next time.
  4. Offer or encourage them to find a tutor, help them create a new study space, or share your studying strategies. You can also help them find a study group internal to your organization or through Facebook.
  5. Let them vent. Sometimes, they just need to know it is okay to be upset or complain about the exam or the tools they used to prepare. Listen quietly, letting them express all of their emotions about the failure.
  6. Ask them to tell you how they feel and let them talk as long as needed. Say something like, “Tell me how you’re feeling about it. I’m here to listen as long as you need me.”
  7. I suggest that they take a break. After failing a test, some people feel they must begin studying again immediately. Instead, suggest they take a break, even if it’s just for a day. They take a walk outside or even focus on chores at home. A break can be good for their mental health.
  8. Remind them that everyone fails at some point. Failing an exam might be especially hard for someone who has always succeeded. Remind them that everyone fails at some point, even if they don’t talk about it.
  9. It might not feel like it now, but many people, it is said, learn more from their failures than from their successes.
  10. Once you have gathered your wits – think about what you want to do. Many want to retake the exam. The CCM Commission has rules regarding when you can retest and the costs. Here is a link to learn more.
  11. The CCM Exam may not be for you. There are other national certifications that case managers can take. Explore them to see if another test better meets your goals. Here is a link to a report I wrote that can help you. Stepping Up to Certifications

Whatever you decide to do, give yourself time to prepare for retests or to consider other certification examinations. Don’t give up…there are many ways to demonstrate your value as a case management professional. Keep an open mind.

This article helps you if you are someone who did not pass the exam or know someone who did not pass the exam to provide the support they need to move on.

If you have questions or would like to talk, please feel free to email me at I can help you through the process.

Anne Llewellyn MS, BHSA, RN-BC, CCM, CRRN CMF, CMGT-BCAnne Llewellyn, MS, BHSA, RN, CRRN, CMGT-BC, BCPA, FCM, is a registered nurse with
50+ years of clinical experience. She is a nurse advocate and a digital journalist who writes for
various e-newsletters on topics such as digital health, workers’ compensation, case
management, and the importance of educating people to be their own best healthcare advocates.

Anne has a strong following from healthcare professionals who follow her for
information, events, and trends impacting health and healthcare. Anne also mentors nurses and
other healthcare professionals to learn about the practice of case management and patient
advocacy. You can learn more about Anne and her work by visiting her website at You can reach Anne by email at