How hard is the ServSafe exam?
Well, it depends on which ServSafe test you’re talking about. And it depends on how much training, experience, and preparation you have before taking the test.
There are five different ServSafe training courses and four of them have a test and certification. Sometimes the test is referred to as an “exam” or an “assessment”, but it’s really just a test. A certificate is earned after passing the test. The ServSafe Workplace course is the only one which does not have a test and therefore does not have a certification.
1) ServSafe Manager
2) ServSafe Handler
3) ServSafe Alcohol
4) ServSafe Allergens
5) ServSafe Workplace
Most people who ask this question are wanting to know about the ServSafe Manager exam. So this article will focus on that. The short answer to this question is, “yes”. Don’t worry too much though, because most people pass. But, most people also complete an 8-hour training course before attempting the exam. If you have not taken a food safety training course or did lots of self-study, you will probably fail. Unless you have extensive experience in a restaurant kitchen, then it could be possible to pass without training or study.
The ServSafe Manager exam will test your knowledge of five categories of food safety in a commercial kitchen. They are:
1) Foodborne Microorganisms and Allergens
2) Personal Hygiene
3) Purchasing, Receiving and Storage
4) Preparation, Cooking, and Serving
5) Facilities, Cleaning/Sanitizing, and Pest Management
The ServSafe Manager test has 90 questions. But 10 of those questions are not graded. They are just to determine the quality of the question and if it will be included in future exams. You will not know which 10 questions they are, they are randomly mixed with the real questions.
You need to achieve a minimum score of 75% in order to pass. That means you need to correctly answer 60 of the 80 questions that are graded. The exam is multiple choice with four possible answers.
The test is timed and you have two hours to finish, but most people finish within an hour. At the end of the two hours, any questions left unanswered will be counted as incorrect. So watch the clock, and if you are running out of time, start guessing!
The test is available in a paper version and online. Both versions require a proctor to be present. A proctor is a person authorized by ServSafe to give the exam. You cannot take the exam without a proctor.
The online version has some advantages. The biggest advantage is that your results are available immediately after completion, whereas the written version must be mailed in for grading.
If you are stuck on a difficult question, the online exam allows you to “mark for review” the question so that you can come back to it later. This is useful because maybe the question was worded in a tricky way and after you finish the rest of the questions it may become easier to understand – or guess at. Obviously, the written version also has this feature without a need to mark the question.
What happens if you fail the ServSafe test?
If you fail the ServSafe test try not to let it bother you too much. The worst part about failing is that you will have to take it again and pay for it again. The other bad part about it is that you may be embarrassed or your employer may have doubts about your ability to be a food safety manager.
But the good news is that you can try again. You just have to wait at least 24 hours before you can try again. If you fail a second time then you will have to wait at least 60 days before you can try a third time.
You can take the test as many times as you need to in order to pass. The only rules are that you can only take the test twice in a 30 day period. And if you fail both times in that period, you have to wait at least 60 days to try again.
Unfortunately, the questions are changed every 30 days. So you are not able to keep trying until you have them all memorized then research the answers online at home. However, some of the questions and answers could be the same if taken twice in one month.
We have some resources on our website to help you prepare for the exam and also to see if you’re ready to take it. First try this practice test to see if you can pass and if you fail, use the study guide to help yourself prepare. Good luck!