If the ServSafe exam is standing in the way of your food service career, we’ve got you covered! Our FREE practice questions for the ServSafe exams are similar in style, content, and difficulty to actual ServSafe questions, so taking our free practice test should help you review the information you need to know for test day- and pass the first time!
ServSafe exams are food safety courses put out by the National Restaurant Association. The 7th edition is the most current and takes into account the FDA Food Code changes that were made in 2017.
There are five ServSafe certifications that can be earned: ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Food Handler, ServSafe Alcohol, ServSafe Allergens, and ServSafe Workspace. The test you need to take will be dependent on your role in foodservice and your state’s requirements. Four of the tests—ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Food Handler, ServSafe Alcohol, and ServSafe Allergens—deal directly with food safety, while ServSafe Workspace addresses the issues of unconscious bias and harassment that can occur in the workplace. ServSafe Workspace is also different from the other four sections in that it does not include an exam, but is presented as a training course with a certificate of completion awarded at the end.
All questions are presented in a multiple-choice format and there is no penalty for guessing.
There are two types of food safety alcohol service exams copyrighted by the ServSafe program. You may take either exam after completion of the ServSafe Alcohol coursework. The four areas covered on both exams are alcohol laws, intoxication, checking identification, and dealing with difficult situations.
The ServSafe Alcohol Primary exam is made up of multiple choice questions taken directly from the course material and does not require a proctor if taken online. Passing it certifies that you have basic knowledge of how to serve alcohol responsibly.
The ServSafe Alcohol Advanced test is a secure, standardized exam that certifies that you have mastered a broader range of knowledge concerning responsible alcohol service. The questions for this level may not come directly from the course of study and encompass the entire realm of alcohol service. The Advanced Alcohol exam does require a proctor.
In addition to the ServSafe Alcohol Primary and Advanced exams, a separate course is available only for those serving alcohol and employed on cruise ships. The ServSafe Alcohol Cruise Line Online Course costs $30 and must be completed within 90 days of the start date. It is 40 questions in length, requires a score of at least 75%, and, like the other ServSafe exams, is multiple choice.
The ServSafe Alcohol exam is not timed, but you should allow about 2 hours for testing. Passing scores are:
ServSafe Alcohol Primary: 75% (at least 30 of 40 questions correct)
ServSafe Alcohol Advanced: 80% (at least 56 of 70 questions correct)
Certain states have expanded requirements or training for alcohol service. To be certain you meet the requirements of your state, use this interactive map provided by the ServSafe program.
The ServSafe Allergens exam is required for those wishing to obtain ServSafe certification in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and is encouraged for anyone working in the food service industry.
The 90-minute Allergens course and assessment are offered online and take about 90 minutes to complete. If both the course and assessment are completed successfully, you will be given a link to print your ServSafe Allergen Certificate.
The ServSafe Food Handler exam is designed for food service employees who are not in a management position. It certifies that you have basic knowledge in the areas of personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, basic food safety, time and temperature, and cross-contamination and allergens.
The test contains 40 questions and is not timed. You must get 75% of the answers correct in order to pass the test, and you can take it as many times as you need until you earn your ServSafe Food Handler certification. The Food Handler test is offered in two ways: a classroom/print version that must be given by an instructor, or as an online assessment that can be completed individually. Make sure to check the regulatory requirements in your area to be sure you are taking the correct version for your job.
The ServSafe Manager exam is for food service employees in management positions. It certifies that you have the knowledge necessary to prevent food-borne illnesses and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the Conference for Food Protection Standards.
There are 90 multiple choice questions on the ServSafe Manager exam and the time limit for completion is 2 hours. Because 10 of the 90 questions are for research purposes only, you will need to answer 60 questions correctly to obtain the minimum passing score of 75%. The test must be given in person by a certified ServSafe Proctor.
ServSafe exams offer a few options for studying: online courses, in-person instruction, and self-directed study.
ServSafe online courses are a convenient way to study at home, and they are available for each of the five ServSafe exams. They are available 24 hours a day and are best for self-disciplined students looking for a flexible, dynamic study option. If you choose this option, make sure you begin studying shortly after purchase, as the course must be started within one year of the day of sale. Once started, the ServSafe Food Handler exam must be completed within 60 days, and the ServSafe Manager and ServSafe Alcohol courses must be completed within 90 days. If you don’t finish within that time frame, you will lose access to the course and will need to repurchase the product at full price, with no exceptions.
This is a great option if you’re someone who does better learning in a classroom setting and likes having the ability to ask questions in real time. Instructor-led courses are available for the ServSafe Alcohol, ServSafe Food Handler, and ServSafe Manager tests. You can find instructors in your area for all three of these tests here.
Self-directed study simply means you are studying on your own terms. This option is best for you if you need flexibility in your schedule or budget, as you can pick when, where, and how you study. If you like to study with a physical textbook, the ServSafe website offers several for purchase. Online practice tests for the ServSafe exam, like those offered at Union Test Prep, are also a great option to help you gauge your knowledge level so you can work on areas where you might struggle before test day. Other options to check out are our study guides, which cover essential topics you’ll be expected to know, and flashcards, which provide a quick way to test your knowledge.
If you are taking your ServSafe exam online at home, you will need to be able to log in to your account and follow the provided instructions. If you are taking the exam in a classroom setting or testing center, there are several standard test-taking rules you’ll be expected to follow. Cell phones, scratch paper, books, and personal items are not allowed in the testing area, and if you need to use the restroom during the test you must raise your hand. Keep in mind that only one person is allowed out of the room at a time, so if someone else from your group had the same idea, you will have to wait. Be sure to bring along a photo ID as it will be collected before the exam and returned to you after you are finished.
You can print a copy of your ServSafe certificate by logging into your ServSafe account here. You may also request a copy be mailed to you for a fee of $10.
This varies by certification area. The National Restaurant Association recognizes the ServSafe Manager certificate for five years. The ServSafe Food Handler, Alcohol, and Allergen certificates are valid for three years. However, as different states and employers may have different requirements, always check with your local health department if you’re not sure your certification is valid.
The ServSafe Manager exam is available online in English, Spanish, and Chinese. It is offered in a print version in English, Spanish, Korean, French Canadian, Japanese, and Chinese.
The ServSafe Food Handler Assessment is available in five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
The ServSafe Alcohol Primary and Advanced exams are available in both English and Spanish in print, as well as online in English and Spanish in certain states.