CPCU® 553 Difficulty

The CPCU® 553 exam focuses on personal insurance products, including topics such as the personal auto insurance (PAP), homeowners insurance, life insurance, and health insurance. In total, there are over 30 personal insurance products that you need to memorize to pass this exam.

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.

CPCU® 553 – Pass Rate

According to nationally published CPCU® pass rates, the CPCU® 553 is right in the middle in terms of difficulty. The pass rate is typically around 75%. This means, out of everyone that attempts the CPCU® 553 exam, 75% pass.

In our opinion, this is a very difficult exam. Even though the pass rate is higher than other exams, the content of the exam is by no means easy. Especially if you do not have personal insurance experience.

This exam is not easier than the other CPCU® exams. In fact, all of the content in this exam is new. It is all based on personal insurance, Since you are taking this exam, that means you likely have commercial insurance experience (not personal insurance experience) meaning you have probably never seen these topics before, and you definitely did not see these topics in your prior CPCU® exams.

CPCU® 553 – Most Difficult Part

This exam is tough because there is so much content to memorize. In particular, there are a ton of different personal insurance products and coverages that you need to memorize. We have personally reviewed the content and counted over 30 different personal insurance products (such as disability insurance, health insurance, and auto insurance) that you need to be familiar with for this exam. Almost every single question on the CPCU® 553 exam will be based on some type of coverage, exclusion, or endorsement.

For comparison purposes, this exam is most similar to the CPCU® 551, as it will test you on products, coverages, and endorsements for each personal insurance product (except this one is based on personal insurance not commercial). In fact, the CPCU® 553 exam covers almost exactly the same topics as the CPCU® 555 and CPCU® 556 exams (the personal insurance CPCU® exams).

Much like the CPCU® 551 exam, for the CPCU® 553 exam you will be required to memorize every aspect of each insurance product including the coverages, conditions, exclusions, and endorsements. In total, there are over 30 personal insurance products that you need to memorize to pass this exam.

The hardest part of the CPCU® 553 will be memorizing each coverage, condition, exclusion, and every minor aspect of each personal insurance product.

The reason people fail this exam is because they underestimate the amount of content. There is a LOT to memorize.  For each personal insurance product, such as the homeowners insurance policy (one of the most important topics of the 553 exam), you must know the insurance limit, covered losses, optional coverages, additional coverages, coverage extensions, loss conditions, coverage conditions, exclusions, and endorsements. You have to know this for EACH of the 30 personal insurance products covered in this exam (that’s a lot to memorize).

Luckily we know exactly which insurance products and minor details you need to know. You can click here to download the list of CPCU® 553 products and coverages that you need to memorize (we’ll also include a free practice exam with the download).

Download: Free CPCU® 553 Practice Exam (And Study Guide)


Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download our free CPCU® 553 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 CPCU® 553 Practice Exam

More Information

For more information about the CPCU® 553 exam, checkout 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.

For further information, please email [email protected].

August 5, 2019

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