CGSS Exam: Everything You Need To Know About It And How To Pass It

The ACAM’s credential certification

The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) is an international organization which geared in improving professional skills, knowledge, and experience in order to detect and further prevent the laundering of money around the world. Basically, it’s a global association for Anti-Financial Crime professionals. In addition, its advocacy is to implement and develop sound anti-money laundering procedures and policies through providing a strong network where professionals can interact and collaborate, promote global standards against terrorist financing, educate professionals about best practices against money laundering, and finally certify achievements of its members.

The Certified Global Sanctions Specialist (CGSS) is one type of ACAMS certification. Having this certification equips any organization with the necessary credential which is a clear and solid indication as to its level of commitment with its strict compliance to laws and regulations. We are now living in a highly regulated society. It is only but right and fitting that an organization must adhere to standard compliance in order to compete effectively in their field of work.

Is taking the CGSS exam worth it? What competency will I earn upon finishing this course?

As mentioned, CGSS will enable entities to make use of the dynamic network of ACAMS. Thus, your knowledge and skills will be enhanced especially if it is geared in detecting and preventing financial crimes.

The following are the competencies that one may earn with CGSS which will greatly help and contribute in your workplace:

  • Clear and analytical approach when faced with restrictive measures imposed by sanctions.
  • Detailed understanding of the risks of non-compliance.
  • Differentiate between AML risk and sanctions risk.
  • Identify common methods that sanctioned targets use to evade sanctions.
  • Knowledge to embed sanctions compliance into risk assessment and compliance programs, and training.
  • Knowledgeable on organizations that issue and enforce sanctions, and individuals, countries and entities that are subject to sanctions.
  • Perform sanctions due diligence to ensure that the institution is not conducting business with sanctioned parties
  • Understand the restrictive measures imposed by sanctions, their purpose, and how they are introduced.

What is life after passing the CGSS Exam? What are the career opportunities available for me?

Those who have passed the CGSS Exam are equipped with the necessary skills that are critical for the following field of work. One may be able to gain promising career opportunities in the following areas:

  • AML Sanctions
  • Compliance Technology
  • Economic Sanctions
  • Embargo
  • Financial Sanctions
  • Legal Counsel
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Risk Management
  • Sanctions Compliance
  • Sanctions Screening

I am interested in taking the CGSS examination. What is the first thing that I will do?

Now, one may be able to apply for the CGSS examination online so there won’t be any hassle and inconvenience on the part of the applicant.

The first thing to do is to apply online then the next step is to choose the membership and the CGSS package- the cost of which will be provided here on. Next, one should submit the necessary payment fees and documents wherein you will automatically access the reading materials and reference required.  After your membership is approved and payment already facilitated, wait for the email so that ACAMS will inform you of your scheduled exam.

Candidates may be able to sit for a CGSS examination provided he has the following requisites:

  • He must be an active ACAMS member
  • He must be able to acquire at least 40 credits.

Educational background

Corresponding credit


10 credits


20 credits


30 credits


40 credits

1 year of related experience

10 credits

1 hour of relevant training

1 credit


However, there are requisites that must be met. Candidates who intend to take the examination must be able to have at least 40 units credited. This number of credit shall serve as a qualifying element which can be based on education, other professional qualification or experience in the field of financial crime compliance.

What is the exam format and exam type of the CGSS exam?

The CGSS Exam is a multiple choice type question which consists of 100 items. There are 2 types of exam that will be provided here. One is the type of multiple choice type that presents 1 valid answer out of the 4 options. There is also one type of question here where out of the 4 options, there will be 2 or 3 options that are valid and correct.

The applicants will be provided a total of 175 minutes for them to finish the exam. It is a pass/ fail rate wherein the score will be displayed immediately upon the submission of the exam. Subsequently, an email will be sent to the test takes informing them of their score.

How much does the CGSS Examination cost?

The examination fee will depend whether or not you will avail the CGSS standard package or the CGSS virtual classroom bundle. For the CGSS standard package, the cost is $1,695 for the private sector and $1,295 for public sector. If you avail the CGSS classroom bundle, it will cost $2,180 for private sector or $1,790 for private sector.

What is the entire coverage of the CGSS examination?

The CGSS examination contains 5 main domains. These are the following:

  1. Governance and enforcement (25%)
  • How sanctions are created, changed, and enforced
  • Key concepts of sanctions
  • Different types of sanctions
  • Geographic scope of sanctions
  • Beneficial control, ownership, and the 50% rule
  • License types and the scope of permitted activities
  • Principles of governance, risk-based approach, and how they apply to sanctions screening
  1. Sanctions evasion techniques (17.5%)
  • Types of attempts that are made by illicit actors to evade sanctions, including evasion techniques related to payments and transactions
  • Trade-related evasion techniques
  • Methods that targets use to hide their identity
  • Sanctions due diligence (20%)
  • Sanctions due diligence key concepts to effectively mitigate sanctions risks
  • How to apply sanctions due diligence to different lines of business
  • Beneficial ownership calculation
  • Key sanctions risk areas, including customers, the nature of their business, products, and jurisdiction
  • Financial services and products as they relate to sanctions risks
  1. Sanctions screening (20%)
  • sanctions monitoring procedures and important controls
  • Screening key concepts, including Automated Screening Tools (ASTs), interdiction systems, algorithms, and regulatory expectations
  • Customer and third-party name screening
  • Payment screening process
  • Sanctions technology
  • Sanctions-related software features
  • Data management and analysis
  1. Sanctions investigations and asset freezing (17.5%)
  • How to conduct investigations, keep records, and file reports
  • Sources of information to use in an investigation
  • How to freeze assets, notify targets and make reports
Picture of Hannah V. Rucker

Hannah V. Rucker

Hannah used to work in the AML field in a financial organization. She's now an agent in CAMS EXAM in examination team. Consolidating and reviewing CAMS EXAM questions bank and study materials.

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