How to Prepare
Earning widely respected credentials requires a rigorous certification process that includes passing demanding exams. 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.
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. Instructor-led trainings come with detailed participant guides. Online trainings include transcripts, resource lists and review questions to bolster your study efforts.
PLEASE NOTE that completing a training course does not guarantee passing an exam. Additional preparation is essential. Use this video and the tips below to help plan your studying strategy. They cover how much time to spend based on your level of training and education, how to use the exam blueprint and body of knowledge, and more.
- Self-assess — Each IAPP exam comes with two tools for determining how ready you are:
- The body of knowledge is an outline of the information covered in the exam and represents the breadth of knowledge qualified candidates should possess on the topic. Use it to identify subjects you know well and those you should study more deeply.
- 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 available for purchase 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 the chapters:
- Highlight important points in each.
- Copy out key passages; it will help you remember them.
- Review each chapter to make sure you capture the key points before moving on.
- Create flash cards — As you read your textbook, articles, web pages, etc., copy new terms onto flash cards. Write their definitions on the other side. Quiz yourself. Use the IAPP’s glossary of privacy terms to look up unfamiliar terms.
- Form a study group — Discussing the material with your coworkers and colleagues is a great way to remember material and understand it more deeply.
Learn in context — It is easier and more interesting to learn a subject you’re going to use in real life. IAPP publications show how privacy affects our lives and businesses:
Get familiar with privacy news and issues by subscribing to the Daily Dashboard and the IAPP’s curated regional news digests:
Also, compare what’s going on in privacy today with your job. What privacy issues could affect your work and career?
- Practice Exams — IAPP Practice Exams provide insight into how you might perform on your certification exam. Practice exams consist of 90 questions in the same format as official certification exams. The questions are developed by IAPP-selected experts, and some questions have been retired from actual exams. Practice exams for most certifications will be available through the IAPP online store as of March 21, 2023.
Ready to purchase an exam? This video explains the process. It covers exam scheduling, cost, and maintaining your certification.
Can we help you prepare? Contact an IAPP training consultant with any questions. Good luck!