ARM™ 55 Difficulty (ARM™ 401)

The ARM™ 55 exam focuses on the topics of risk management, assessment, and treatment. This exam is broken up into three parts:

  • Part A – Risk Overview
  • Part B – Types of Risk (IP, Legal, Regulatory, and Management)
  • Part C – Other Types of Risk (Environmental, Fleet, Cyber, and Crime)

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.

Important Exam Changes

Please note, the ARM™ exams are changing. The ARM™ 55 is changing to the ARM™ 401 exam. You can continue to study and use ARM™ 55 study material until the quarter one 2020 testing window closes on March 15th, 2020. Starting April 15th, 2020, you will be required to use the new study material for the ARM™ 401 exam.

ARM™ 55 – Pass Rate

According to nationally published ARM™ pass rates, the ARM™ 55 is one of the hardest exams published by The Institutes. The pass rate is typically around 72% or lower. This means, out of everyone that attempts the ARM™ 55 exam, 72% pass.

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).

Compared to the other ARM™ exams, the ARM™ 55 is right in the middle in terms of pass rate. Though students often say that the ARM™ 55 is the hardest of the exams, simply because of the sheer amount of content that you need to memorize (lots of definitions and concepts).

The ARM™ 54 and ARM™ 56 exams also have pass rates that typically range between 70% and 75%. This just goes to show, the ARM™ Designation is tough. You need to spend a little extra time preparing for these exams.

ARM™ 55 – Most Difficult ARM™ Exam

The ARM™ 55 is considered by most students to be the single most difficult ARM™ exam.

This exam gives students trouble because there is a lot of content to memorize. What we often hear from students is “there are too many words, not enough numbers”.

And that is a true statement! This exam is all concept and definition based, there are almost no math related questions (unlike the ARM™ 54 which includes some math related questions).

The content varies widely, covering everything from general risk management and personal property insurance, to commercial insurance and cyber risk insurance. 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™ 55 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™ 55 topics that you need to memorize (we’ll also include a free practice exam with the download).

Download: Free ARM™ 55 Practice Exam (And Study Guide)


ARM™ 55 –Study Tip

A lot of students fail the ARM™ 55 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™ 55 exam is to break the exam into three parts and take the ARM™ 55 in segments.

The ARM™ 55 exam is broken up into three parts. ARM™ 55 Part A, ARM™ 55 Part B, and ARM™ 55 Part C. The testing center allows you to take each of these segments as individual exams.

You can choose to take the ARM™ 55 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™ 55 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™ 55 Part A first. Part A covers the topics of risk including property risk, risk assessment, and continuity management. Students master the chapters of Part A (about 4 chapters) and then pass the Part A exam. Then, they move onto ARM™ 55 Part B. Part B covers the topics of intellectual property, regulatory risk, and management liability. The student then masters these few chapters, passes ARM™ 55 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™ 55 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™ 55 practice exam (comes with study guide and coverage guide) to get a feel for the type of questions you will see on the exam.

Download: Free ARM™ 55 Practice Exam

More Information

For more information about the ARM™ 55 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.

For further information, please email

August 5, 2019

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