How to Prepare

Earning respected credentials requires a rigorous certification process, which includes passing demanding exams. IAPP exams have a reputation for being difficult to pass on the first try. We strongly recommend careful preparation, even for degreed professionals who have passed other certification tests.

Preparation makes all the difference. In general, we recommend that you train and study for a minimum of 30 hours.

We want you to succeed. Please take advantage of IAPP resources to get through exams with as little anxiety as possible.


Tips for effective studying

Consider enrolling in an IAPP training class. With multiple in-person, live online and online options, IAPP trainings are created from the same topic outline from which exam questions are drawn. PLEASE NOTE that completing a training course does not guarantee passing an exam. Additional preparation is essential, so:

  • Self-assess—Each IAPP exam comes with two tools for determining how ready you are:
    1. The body of knowledge is an outline of the information covered in the exam. Use it to identify topics you are and are not familiar with. 
    2. The exam blueprint tells you how many questions to expect on each topic. Use it to map out a study strategy—allowing more time for topics with many questions, for example.
  • Use your textbook properly—Textbooks are included with purchase of in-person, live online and online training, and are also sold separately through the IAPP store.  Start by reading the table of contents. Note which topics are new to you. That will give you a feel for how much study and review time you need. When you start reading:
    1. Highlight important points in each chapter
    2. Copy out key passages; it will help you remember them
    3. Review each chapter to make sure you’ve captured the key points before moving on
  • Create flash cards—As you read your textbook, articles, web pages, etc., copy new terms onto notecards. Write their definitions on the other side. Quiz yourself. Use the IAPP’s glossary of privacy terms to look up unfamiliar terms and make flash cards of them, also.
  • Form a study group—Discussing the material with your coworkers and colleagues is a great way to remember material and understand it more deeply.

Can we help you prepare? Contact an IAPP training consultant with any questions. Good luck!