Pooja Shah Jan 25, 2024
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ACAMS Exam Format & Pattern

The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, commonly known as ACAMS, is an organization dedicated to training and certifying professionals in anti-money laundering. ACAMS certification holds great significance in the fight against financial crimes. 

This blog aims to provide a clear understanding of the CAMS Exam format and pattern, making it easier for individuals preparing for these exams to succeed in their certification journey and also discover valuable insights into the structure of ACAMS exams, helping them prepare effectively for this important step in their career.

What is ACAMS Certification?

ACAMS, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, offers certifications for professionals in anti-money laundering (AML). These certifications are like badges of expertise that showcase a person's knowledge and skills in preventing financial crimes.

Background of ACAMS and its Mission

ACAMS has been around for a while, working hard to fight money laundering and financial crime. Its mission is clear: to make the world safer by providing top-notch training and certification to professionals in AML. They want to stop bad people from using the financial system for crooked activities.

Different ACAMS Certifications Available

ACAMS offers a variety of certifications, each focusing on specific aspects of AML. These certifications include CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), CAMS-Audit, CAMS-FCI, and more. One can choose the one that best fits their career goals and interests.

Check Out: How long is ACAMS Certification?

The Significance of ACAMS Certification in the Industry

Having an ACAMS certification is a big deal in finance and AML. It shows employers that individuals are serious about fighting financial crime and that they have the knowledge to back it up. ACAMS-certified professionals are in high demand because they help protect businesses and society from criminals looking to exploit the financial system. 

So, getting an ACAMS certification can open up exciting career opportunities and make a real difference in the fight against money laundering.

ACAMS Exam Overview

Before individuals can embark on their journey to ACAMS certification, they must meet specific eligibility requirements set by ACAMS. Once eligibility is confirmed, candidates can explore the range of ACAMS exams available, each with its unique focus areas. 

For instance, the CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) exam covers a broad spectrum of AML topics, while the CAMS-Audit exam sharpens individuals' AML auditing skills. Understanding the eligibility criteria and the diverse exam options empowers candidates to make informed choices aligned with their career aspirations.

Registration Process and Fees

The registration process for ACAMS exams is straightforward. Candidates visit the ACAMS website, fill out a form, and select their preferred exam. They must pay a fee, which varies based on the chosen exam. Once registered, they receive confirmation and further instructions to prepare for the exam.

ACAMS Exam Format

ACAMS certification exams follow a specific format designed to assess a candidate's knowledge and skills in anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention. Understanding this format is crucial for effective exam preparation.

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs)

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) make up a significant portion of ACAMS exams. These questions present candidates with a statement or a question and multiple answer choices. Test-takers must select the correct answer from the provided choices. MCQs are designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of facts, concepts, and principles related to anti-money laundering.

To succeed with MCQs;

  • Read each question carefully, ensuring a full understanding before selecting an answer.
  • Eliminate obviously incorrect choices to increase the chances of selecting the right answer.
  • Manage time efficiently, as ACAMS exams are timed, and dwelling too long on a single question can affect overall performance.
  • Case study questions

ACAMS exams also include case study questions. In this format, candidates are presented with real-life anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention scenarios. They must analyze the scenario and choose the best course of action or identify potential issues and solutions.

To excel with case study questions;

  • Pay attention to the details provided in the scenario.
  • Apply knowledge of AML principles to analyze the situation.
  • Think critically and choose the most appropriate response or solution.

Practical application questions

Practical application questions assess a candidate's ability to apply AML concepts in real-world situations. These questions often require candidates to make decisions, evaluate risks, or recommend actions based on AML principles and guidelines.

To perform well on practical application questions;

  • Consider the practical implications of choices and recommendations.
  • Use knowledge of AML regulations and best practices to guide the answers.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of how AML principles are applied in the industry.

Learn More: How to Pass the ACAMS Exam? 

ACAMS Exam Pattern

ACAMS certification exams are structured to assess candidates' knowledge and competence in anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crime prevention.

Number of Questions in Each Section

The exam is typically divided into sections, with each section focusing on specific AML topics. The number of questions in each section can vary depending on the particular exam but generally ranges from 120 to 150 questions. These questions cover various aspects of AML, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation.

Time Allocation for Different Sections

Candidates are allotted a specific amount of time to complete the exam. The time allocation varies based on the number of questions and the specific exam but usually ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Managing time wisely to answer all questions within the allocated time is essential.

Pass/Fail Criteria and Scoring

ACAMS exams are scored based on the number of correct answers. The pass/fail criteria can vary from one exam to another, but candidates generally need to achieve a minimum passing score, often set at around 70%. Candidates who reach or exceed the passing score will earn their ACAMS certification.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When preparing for the ACAMS certification exams, candidates should be aware of common mistakes that can hinder their success. To maximize their chances of passing, it's essential to avoid these pitfalls;

  • Waiting until the last minute to study.
  • Not using practice exams to prepare.
  • Spending too much time on a single question.
  • Not trying to eliminate wrong answers in multiple-choice questions.
  • Missing crucial details in case study questions.
  • Making answers more complicated than necessary.
  • Failing to review answers before submitting.
  • Not using ACAMS-approved study materials.
  • Neglecting the real-world application of AML concepts.
  • Failing to ask questions or seek guidance when stuck.


In conclusion, understanding the ACAMS Exam Format and Pattern is essential for anyone aiming to earn their ACAMS certification. With various exam options, a structured format, and a focus on real-world application, candidates can prepare effectively for the CAMS exam format. ACAMS certification opens doors to exciting career opportunities in the vital fight against money laundering and financial crimes. It's a valuable badge of expertise that can make a real difference in the industry.

You may also like to know: Anti Money Laundering Specialist Salary


Senior Finance & Accounting Trainer

Pooja Shah is a well-established Corporate Trainer with more than 10 years of experience in Training and Development in the GCC region and India. Over the years, she has coached over 1000 CA, CS, and M.com students and taught Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Auditing for various batches of CPT, IPCC, CS Foundation, and CS Executive. Pooja is also an accomplished communicator with the capability of simplifying complex finance theories and practices for the easy understanding of people from various backgrounds.