The Family and Consumer Sciences Exam

Family and Consumer Sciences ExamThe Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Exam is a certification exam that some college graduates, teachers, and specialists may be required to take before they graduate and/or before they begin working in the family and consumer sciences field. The FCS Exam, which is written by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and administered by Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT), is primarily designed to help colleges, elementary schools, junior high/middle schools, high schools, and other similar institutions prove that each of the people that are graduating from the school and/or each of the people that are working in the school have the ability to teach and/or apply the basics concepts found in the family and consumer sciences field. This exam includes 150 multiple-choice questions that will test your ability to recall and/or apply concepts related to apparel; the balance between work and family life; career decisions and their impact on personal and/or family life; careers found in the family and consumer sciences field; consumer rights; the cultural and economic factors that affect families; environmental design; family development; the food industry; food science; human development; human health and wellness; the lodging and hospitality industries; major events and policies in the family and consumer sciences field; managing a family and consumer sciences program; personal development; nutrition; personal and family relationships; resource management; textiles; and other similar topics.

It is important to note, however, that the FCS Exam is not only available as a comprehensive exam that covers all of these topics, but is also available as two separate concentration exams that each focus on a specific area of the family and consumer sciences field. This is important because some institutions may not require you to take the comprehensive exam, which is known as the FCS Composite Exam, but will instead require you to take one of the two concentration exams. The two concentration exams that are available include the Human Development and Family Studies Specialist (HDFS) Exam and the Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Science Specialist (HNFS) Exam. The HDFS Exam, which will allow you to obtain the Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences credential with a concentration in Human Development and Family Studies (CFCS-HDFS), covers the balance between work and family life; career decisions and their impact on personal and/or family life; careers found in the family and consumer sciences field; the cultural and economic factors that affect families; family development; human development; personal development; and other similar topics. The HNFS Exam, which will allow you to obtain the CFCS credential with a concentration in Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Science (CFCS-HNFS), covers career decisions and the impact of those decisions on personal and/or family life; the cultural and economic factors that affect families; the food industry; food science; human health and wellness; the lodging and hospitality industries; nutrition; and other similar topics.

In most cases, you will have to prove that you are in the process of completing the final year of an accredited bachelor's degree program or that you already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school to take the comprehensive exam or the concentration exams (it is important to note that it doesn't matter what your degree is in. You just have to have a degree.) However, some schools may allow you or, in some cases, even require you to take the exam before you obtain your degree. Once you have completed the exam, you will be required to sign a document indicating that you have read and agree to follow the AAFCS Code of Ethics; submit a copy of your college transcript to the AAFCS's Certification Department; submit your certification application; and pay the appropriate application fee to obtain your certification.

Family and Consumer Sciences Exam Scoring

Family and Consumer Sciences Exam ScoringAll three of the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Exams, including the Composite Exam, the Human Development and Family Studies Specialist Exam (FCS-HDFS), and the Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Science Specialist Exam (FCS-HNFS), include 150 questions that are scored on a scale of 0 to 300. However, it is important to note that out of the 150 questions that are included on each exam, only 120 questions are actually scored. This is because 30 of the questions on each exam are designed to test questions that may be used in future versions of the exam, and these questions, as a result, will not count towards your overall score. It is also important to note that every version of the FCS Composite Exam, the FCS-HDFS Exam, and the FCS-HNFS Exam are designed to include questions that have a similar level of difficulty. This means that the questions that you receive will be different from the questions that other exam takers receive and that you will receive different questions each time you take the exam (if you take the exam multiple times), but the overall difficulty of the exam will always be similar. In fact, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) has a special formula that they use to adjust each exam score when there are minor differences in the difficulty between different versions of the exam.

In order to pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of no less than 240. The total number of correct answers that you will need to obtain to achieve a score of 240 will depend largely on the version of the exam that you take. However, you will typically need to get between 95 and 100 correct answers or, in other words, approximately 80% of the questions on the exam correct to achieve a score of 240. If you fail to achieve the minimum score required, you can retake the exam or have the exam rescored if you believe that there is a scoring error.

If you believe that there is a scoring error and that you would have passed the exam without that error, you will need to send a letter to the AAFCS Certification Department explaining the error(s) and pay a rescoring fee (you will get this fee back if the AAFCS determines that there was actually an error.) The AAFCS will then review your exam, make the necessary scoring adjustments, and report your new score to the appropriate institutions if your score has changed.

If you failed to achieve the minimum score required and there are no scoring errors, you may choose to retake the exam. In order to retake the exam, you must wait one month from the date that you failed the exam; fill out a new application form and send it to the AAFCS Certification Department; and choose a new test date after you receive your authorization e-mail. It is important to note that the AAFCS will only rescore failed exams, and they will only allow you to retake an exam that you have failed. This is because most institutions are only concerned with whether you passed the exam or not, and the AAFCS, as a result, does not want to encourage people to waste their time and money retaking exams or having exams rescored to improve their scores when it is not necessary. In fact, if you pass the exam, you will only receive a letter that says that you have passed, and you will not receive your scaled score.

PRE-PAC Exams

The Pre-Professional Assessment and Certification (PRE-PAC) Exams are a group of exams that you may be required to take if you are planning to become an assistant teacher or an assistant professor, are pursuing an entry-level job in the family and consumer sciences field, and/or are planning to complete a program or obtain a position in which a basic understanding of the family and consumer sciences is required. The PRE-PAC Exams, which were created by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), are primarily designed to help schools assess the knowledge of their graduating students and to help employers within the family and consumer sciences field assess the knowledge of their potential employees. Each of these exams includes 70 multiple-choice questions that will test your ability to recall and/or apply some of the basic concepts in the family and consumer sciences field, and the content found on each of these exams, as a result, is very similar to the content found on the Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Exams that the AAFCS offers. However, it is important to note that each of the FCS exams are designed to cover a number of different topics while each of the PRE-PAC exams are designed to focus on a single topic in the family and consumer sciences field.

In fact, there are over ten different exams in the PRE-PAC series including the Broad Field Family and Consumer Sciences Exam, which focuses on consumer and community services; the Culinary Arts Exam, which focuses on the food industry; the Early Childhood Education Exam, which focuses on childcare, teaching young children, and programs for children; the Education Fundamentals Exam, which focuses on teaching students of all ages and programs for students; the Family and Consumer Sciences Exam, which focuses on community programs, services for the elderly, social services, and other similar services; the Fashion, Textiles, and Apparel Exam, which focuses on the production of fashion and apparel from design to sale; the Food Science Fundamentals Exam, which focuses on food science and food safety; the Housing and Furnishings Exam, which focuses on furniture, housing programs, purchasing property, and managing property; the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam, which focuses solely on interior design; the Nutrition, Food and Wellness Exam, which focuses on nutrition, food safety, and health; and the Personal and Family Finance Exam, which focuses on consumer rights, financial planning, insurance, and investment planning.

It is also important to note that the PRE-PAC Exams are not administered by Schroder Measurement Technologies (SMT is the company that administers the FCS Exams for the AAFCS), but are instead administered by the school or company that requires you to take a PRE-PAC Exam. This is important because some employers and/or schools may not require you to take a PRE-PAC Exam, and there is no reason to go out of your way to find somewhere to take a PRE-PAC Exam if your employer or school does not require it. In fact, you may want to find out exactly what your school or employer requires you to do before you take any of the PRE-PAC Exams because some schools will allow you to graduate and some employers will allow you to obtain a position without taking the PRE-PAC Exams.

In most cases, the specific requirements that you will have to meet to take a PRE-PAC exam will be set by your school or employer, and these requirements can vary. However, most employers will require you to take the exam after you have applied for an entry-level position and most schools will require you to take the exam at some point during your senior year if it is required.

When Do You Need a Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Certification?

When Do You Need a Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Certification?If you want to work in the field of family and consumer sciences, you may have to take the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Exam and/or the Pre-Professional Assessment and Certification (PRE-PAC) Exams to earn some of the certifications that your school and/or employer may require. However, it is important to note that these certifications are not required for every job, and some schools and/or employers may allow you to graduate or get a job without the Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences (CFCS) credential or the appropriate PRE-PAC Certifications. In fact, in order for you to make sure that you are actually getting the certifications that you need, you have to know when the CFCS and the PRE-PAC Certifications are actually required. Unfortunately, determining when a CFCS or a PRE-PAC Certification is required can be a challenge because these certifications are not typically required by law. There are, however, a number of instances in which these certifications will help you meet the legal requirements that you need to meet (even though the certifications are not required by law in most states) and/or help you meet the basic requirements that you need to meet to complete your education or obtain a position. This means that if you want to work in the field of family and consumer sciences, you may want to know some of the instances in which you may need an FCS or a PRE-PAC Certification.

  • First, if you are trying to obtain an entry-level position in the field of family and consumer sciences or you're trying to earn a degree from a family and consumer sciences program that only covers one area of the field, you may be required to take a PRE-PAC Exam. This is because the PRE-PAC Exams are designed for individuals that are about to complete a program or about to enter an industry in which an individual doesn't need to know everything about the entire family and consumer sciences field, but instead needs to know a lot about a single section of it. In other words, some employers may require you to obtain the appropriate PRE-PAC Certification if you are planning to become an assistant cook (typically for a larger restaurant), an assistant teacher, a child care assistant, a dietetic technician, a social and human services assistant, a social work assistant, or another similar professional.
  • Secondly, if you are trying to obtain a mid-level or upper-level position in the field of family and consumer sciences or you're trying to earn a degree from a family and consumer sciences program that covers the entire field, you may be required to take the FCS Exam. This is because the FCS Exam is designed for individuals that are about to complete a program or about to enter an industry in which a firm understanding of the family and consumer sciences field is required. For example, some organizations may require you to obtain an FCS certification if you want to become a child care specialist, a life skills counselor, a nutritionist, a social worker, or another similar professional.
  • Finally, if you are trying to become a teacher in the state of Texas, the FCS Exam may allow you to meet some of the specialization requirements that the state will legally require you to meet. This is because the state of Texas requires each teacher to pass a test (or, in some cases, a group of tests) related to the specific area in which they are planning to teach. Most of these exams are part of a series of exams known as the Texas Examinations of Education Standards (TExES), but you will need to take the FCS Exam if you are planning to teach the Family and Consumer Sciences, Human Development and Family Studies, or Nutrition and Food Science.

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Certification Renewal

Some of the employers and college programs in the family and consumer sciences may require you to obtain the Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences (CFCS) credential and/or the Pre-Professional Assessment and Certification (PRE-PAC) credentials that the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) offers. However, it is important to note that these certifications do not necessarily last forever, and most employers will require you to renew your certifications at some point. In fact, if an employer requires you to have a certification, you will typically need to maintain that certification throughout the entire period that you are working for that employer. This means that, in order for you to make sure that you can keep working in the family and consumer sciences field, you have to know how to renew your certifications before they expire. Unfortunately, renewing your certifications can require a fair amount of work in some cases because some of the certifications that you will need to obtain have continuing education requirements. You may, as a result, want to know some more about the requirements that you will need to meet after you obtain your certification.

  • First, if you are trying to maintain a PRE-PAC Certification, it is important to remember that the PRE-PAC Certifications do not officially expire. In fact, most employers will only require you to take the appropriate PRE-PAC Exam once, so you won't need to renew your certification after you have it. However, it is important to note that some employers will require you to renew your certification every two to five years, and, in order to renew your certification, you will usually have to take the appropriate PRE-PAC Exam again. It is also important to note that different employers have different requirements and that each employer will want to make sure that you meet their specific requirements. This means that you may need to take the PRE-PAC Exam again if you change jobs and that you may need to meet other requirements to renew your PRE-PAC Certification in some organizations.
  • Secondly, if you are trying to maintain a CFCS credential, a CFCS with a concentration in Human Development and Family Studies (CFCS-HDFS) credential, or a CFCS with a concentration in Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Science (CSFS-HNFS) credential, you will have to renew your certification every three years. In order to renew your CFCS, CFCS-HDFS, or CSFS-HNFS credential, you will have to acquire 75 certification credits, which are known as Professional Development Units (PDUs); submit a list that explains where you acquired each of the PDUs that you need to renew your certification via the AAFCS website or through the mail; and pay the renewal fee. PDUs can be earned in a number of different ways, but you will typically need to take advantage of a series of continuing education courses, family and consumer science competitions, self-instruction materials found in professional publications like books or magazines, workshops, and other similar educational opportunities. All of the educational opportunities that you take advantage of must be approved by the AAFCS in order for you to earn credit for those opportunities, but you may be able to earn credit for opportunities that are not typically included on the list of opportunities recognized by the AAFCS by submitting a special form before you attend the event for which you are trying to earn credit.

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Last Updated: 06/12/2014

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