CPCU® 500 Difficulty

If the CPCU® 500 exam is your first Institute’s administered exam, you will be in for quite the surprise. The questions on these CPCU® 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 an insurance 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 study, please do not take these CPCU® exams lightly; I cannot stress this importance enough.

In my experience, with high school and college exams, I was able to skim through the book the night before an exam, summarize the main topics, memorize the definitions and pass the exam with ease. Hopefully, your exam experience was different because you CANNOT pass the CPCU® 500 exam studying this way. 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! I’ve seen a number of my peers study the practice exam and assume they will be able to pass just because they’ve worked in the industry for a few years.

For more insight, see our blog about the CPCU® 500 Exam Format.

CPCU® 500 Difficulty – Don’t Stress

Now that I’ve stressed you out about the CPCU® 500 difficulty, I’m going to tell you why you should stop stressing right now because you will be FINE.

If you have experience in the insurance industry, you should not have trouble with the concepts of the CPCU® 500 exam. A major focus of this exam will be on risk, risk management, and insurance techniques used by individuals and organizations. These are topics that are used daily in the life of an insurance professional. The hardest part about the CPCU® 500 exam is preparing for the type of questions that will be asked. These questions will be tricky, worded strangely and will not directly quote any study material. As I mentioned above, this means that you must understand how to APPLY the material you have studied, not just simply repeat definitions.

For more insight, see our blog about the CPCU® 500 Exam Questions.

Three Study Tips

1) Read the book/online course or attend a CPCU® class! This is by far the most important tip. These CPCU® exams are tricky and the exam questions will relate to very minute details from your CPCU® course or book. Skimming through the course will not cut it, you must read EVERYTHING. Even reading it just once will help you recall the information on your exam

2) Take notes. This doesn’t mean you should rewrite every single word from the CPCU® 500 course. Use short-hand and bullet points to quickly jot down the most important topics. This will help you better retain the information for easier recall on the test and will give you a “study guide” to refer back to (rather than rereading the text!)

3) Practice, practice, practice. Take as many practice exam and quizzes as you possibly can. This will help you familiarize yourself with the CPCU® 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 from step 2 and review any section that you failed to comprehend on the practice exam.

Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download our free CPCU® 500 practice exams 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 CPCU® 500 exam, check out some of our other free resources:


Remember, every CPCU® 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® 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® 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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