ARM™ 400 Difficulty 

The ARM™ 400 exam focuses on the topics of risk management. This exam is broken up into three parts:

  • Part A – Risk management and risk environment
  • Part B – Risk governance and managing risk data
  • Part C – Internal audit and compliance

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. I’ve personally had success studying for this exam because of this study material from AB Training Center, which does a great job of focusing on the difficult topics covered in this blog.

ARM™ 400 – Pass Rate

According to nationally published ARM™ pass rates, the ARM™ 400 is the hardest ARM™ exam. According to the pass rates it is actually one of the most failed exams published by The Institutes.

As of this past testing window, the pass rate of the ARM™ 400 is 70%. This means, out of everyone that attempts the ARM™ 400 exam, only 70% pass. The pass rate is updated every six months, we historically see that the pass rate is around 75% or lower (usually lower than 75%).

This exam is hard. In terms of pass rate, this exam is more difficult than most CPCU® exams. In terms of pass rates this exam is failed as often as the CPCU® 540 and CPCU® 500 (two of the most failed exams from The Institutes).

ARM™ 400 – Difficulty

The ARM™ 400 is a tough exam, especially if this is your first ARM™ exam or first exam published by The Institutes. The questions on these ARM™ exams will be much different than what you may have experienced on a typical exam that you took in high school or college. These questions require you to fully understand and apply every minor detail of each main topic.

When I say you must be able to apply your knowledge from these topics, I mean these questions will put you in the shoes of a risk management professional and it will be your job to analyze each question in order to select the best answer for the given scenario. You will NOT be simply repeating a definition. You must fully understand each topic, DO NOT simply memorize definitions and think you will be able to pass, trust me, I’ve been there.

The ARM™ exams are difficult; there is a lot of content to memorize for these exams. What we often hear from students about the ARM™ 400 is “this is a comprehensive exam”. And that is a true statement! This exam is very comprehensive in nature, covering a lot of topics along with some math based topics and formulas.

The content varies widely, covering everything relating to risk management including the risk management process, types of risk (hazard risk, operational risk, and strategic risk), identifying risk, analyzing risk, treating risk, big data, and financial risk. This makes the exam difficult, because the content varies so widely you will see questions on your exam based on completely different and unrelated topics.

The hardest part of the ARM™ 400 will be memorizing every topic. There is a ton of information to digest and comprehend. Not only do you need to understand and memorize each topic, but you must comprehend the content to a high enough degree that you can apply the concepts in a real life scenario. You will see these concepts formatted as scenario questions on your exam. You must memorize each concept AND be able to apply the concept in a real life scenario on your exam.

Luckily we know exactly which topics and minor details you need to know. You can click here to download the list of ARM™ 400 topics that you need to memorize (we’ll also include a free practice exam with the download).

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ARM™ 400 –Study Tip

A lot of students fail the ARM™ 400 because there is just too much content on the exam. It is too much information to memorize all at one time.

One tip that we’ve seen a lot of students apply to help pass the ARM™ 400 exam is to break the exam into three parts and take the ARM™ 400 in segments.

The ARM™ 400 exam is broken up into three parts. ARM™ 400 Part A, ARM™ 400 Part B, and ARM™ 400 Part C. The testing center allows you to take each of these segments as individual exams.

You can choose to take the ARM™ 400 as one exam, or take three separate exams and take each “part” separately. We see a lot of students take each segment separately; this helps to break up the exam and allows for easier studying. When you break up the ARM™ 400 into three segments it allows you to study 3-4 chapters at a time, memorize a small chunk of the content, then pass that segment before you move onto the next segment and memorize another 3-4 chapters to pass the next exam.

For example, we see a lot of students study ARM™ 400 Part A first. Part A covers the types of risk and risk management guidelines. Students master the chapters of Part A (about 4 chapters) and then pass the Part A exam. Then, they move onto ARM™ 400 Part B. Part B covers risk identification, risk analysis, and risk treatment. The student then masters these few chapters, passes ARM™ 400 Part B, and moves on to Part C. Once you pass all three parts (Part A, Part B, and Part C) you will have officially completed the ARM™ 400 exam. It is the exact same as if you took all three parts at once.

Personally, I took the whole exam in one go. I did not personally break the exam into three parts. That being said, we see lots of students do this. It is a great way to break the exam into smaller manageable chunks, making it much easier to digest the large amount of content to pass one part of the exam at a time.

Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download our free ARM™ 400 practice exam (comes with study guide and coverage guide) to get a feel for the type of questions you will see on the exam.

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More Information

For more information about the ARM™ 400 exam, checkout some of our other free resources:



Remember, every CPCU® and ARM™ 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.

CPCU® and ARM™ 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 CPCU® designation.

CPCU®, ARM™, 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.

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