API™ 28 Difficulty

The API™ 28 exam is the first API™ exam in a series of three required exams to complete your API™ designation. This exam consists of 55 multiple choice questions split up into two sections: approximately 44 part A questions (concept questions) and approximately 11 part B questions (case questions).

In this blog we will break down the most difficult aspects of the exam. We will detail exactly what you should focus on when studying to pass this exam. This blog comes straight from our API™ 28 online course where we breakdown the difficult concepts and convey the topics in simple terms and plain English.

API™ 28 Difficulty – One of the Hardest Exam

According to nationally published API™ pass rates, the API™ 28 is typically one of the most failed API™® exams. As of writing this blog (the pass rates may have updated) the API™ 28 is the second most failed API™ exam with a pass rate around 72% to 75%.

API™ 28 Difficulty – Underwriting

The API™ 28 exam focuses on personal insurance topics, including topics such as marketing, underwriting, and insurance products. The primary focus is underwriting personal insurance products including auto insurance, homeowners insurance, watercraft insurance, umbrella insurance, and inland marine insurance (over 30 personal insurance products in total).

The API™ 28 is so tough because there is a lot of content on this exam and the questions will ask you about the minor details and underwriting treatment of each personal insurance product.

We have personally reviewed the content and counted over 30 insurance products that you need to be familiar with for this exam (such as homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and umbrella insurance) each with unique coverages, underwriting treatment, and minor details. You need to know the underwriting considerations for each of the 30 different insurance products. Almost every single question on the API™ 28 exam will be based on some type of personal insurance product, coverage, endorsement, or underwriting treatment. For more insight, see our blog about the API™ 28 exam format.

The hardest part of the API™ 28 will be memorizing each insurance product, minor detail, and underwriting consideration. There’s a LOT to memorize. Focus first on memorizing the definition and coverages of the insurance product. Then memorize the minor details, differences between each product, and underwriting treatment. The API™ 28 will try to trick you by asking about the minor differences between insurance products. The exam will mix up the underwriting treatment of insurance products to trick you.

Luckily we know exactly which personal insurance products and underwriting considerations you need to know. You can click here to download the list of insurance products and underwriting considerations for each that you need to memorize (we’ll also include a free practice exam with the download).

Now that I’ve scared you, here’s why you’re going to easily pass the API™ 28. We’re going to learn from everyone else’s mistakes. Follow this plan of action while studying and you’ll have no trouble passing.

Be sure to download our free API™ 28 practice exam and list of personal insurance products to ensure you’re memorizing every product and underwriting consideration.

Download: Free Practice Exam (CPCU® | ARM™ | AINS™ | API™)

API™ 28 Difficulty – Study Plan

Learn from everyone else’s mistakes – follow this plan of action while studying and you’ll have no trouble passing.

  • Step 1: Read each chapter individually.
  • Step 2: After each chapter, go back and jot down each insurance product from the chapter.
  • Step 3: Take note of the minor complexities, coverages, and underwriting treatment of each product. (trust me, this will be on the exam).
  • Step 4: Compare each insurance product to one another, study the subtle differences between each concept and underwriting treatment (the exam will try to trick you by mixing and mingling definitions).
  • Step 5: Study the list of 30+ insurance products as a whole – go back and look at your huge list of insurance products and make sure you have memorized each (memorize the underwriting treatment too).

Three Study Tips

1) Study each chapter: Treat each chapter like its own textbook. Read each chapter and memorize the insurance products and underwriting treatment as you go. Don’t wait until the end to memorize these concepts, you will be overwhelmed.

2) Make a study guide: Taking notes and making a personal study guide is a great way to improve your ability to recall information on the exam. Make sure your study guide is short and easy to quickly review; this will help you keep track of those minor details and creates a reference sheet for you to review rather than re-reading the textbook.

3) Practice, practice, practice: Take as many practice exam and quizzes as you possibly can. This will help you familiarize yourself with the API™ 28 question format and help you determine which topics you need to re-study. Once you go through a few practice quizzes and exams, return to your notes and review any section that you failed.

Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download our free API™ 28 practice exam (comes with study guide and underwriting guide) to get a feel for the type of questions you will see on the exam.

Download: Free Practice Exam (CPCU® | ARM™ | AINS™ | API™)

More Information

For more information about the API™ 28 exam, checkout some of our other free resources:



Remember, every API™ exam is different. No single exam is the same. Be sure to study ALL topics (not just our recommendation). This resource is intended to provide you with a general idea of where your focus should be. Make sure to thoroughly study every topic of this exam.

Difficulty rank, importance rank, and the advice provided in this resource are solely the opinion of AssociatePI. This resource is intended to provide you with a general idea of where your focus should be. Each exam administered by The Institutes is different. AssociatePI is not affiliated with The Institutes or involved in the exam writing process. Please be sure to thoroughly study every chapter and every topic of this course.

API™ exams are administered by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (“The Institutes”). AssociatePI does not administer the actual exams, we are an independent resource of free content, advice, and study material for professional insurance education. This blog is intended for informational purposes only, to inform prospective students of the benefit of the API™ designation.

CPCU® and API are trademarks of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (“The Institutes”). AssociatePI LLC is not affiliated with, associated with, endorsed by or otherwise supported or recognized by The Institutes in any way. AssociatePI LLC is not authorized by The Institutes to offer courses, practice examinations, or any other resources related to the Institutes’ designations or other programs.

For further information, please email contact@associatepi.com.


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