CPCU® 557 Difficulty

The CPCU® 557 exam focuses on the commercial insurance products, including topics such as the commercial general liability policy (CGL), the building and personal property coverage form (BPP), and business auto coverage form (BACF).

In total, there are over 20 commercial insurance products that you need to memorize to pass this exam. Though this sounds difficult, this is historically one of the easiest CPCU® exams.

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 CPCU® 557 online course where we breakdown the difficult concepts and convey the topics in simple terms and plain English.

CPCU® 557 – One of the Easiest Exams (but not really)

According to nationally published CPCU® pass rates, the CPCU® 557 is one of the easiest of the CPCU® exams. The pass rate is typically around 80% or higher. This means, out of everyone that attempts the CPCU® 557 exam, 80% pass.

Although this is one the easiest exams in terms of pass rate, we have to warn you that the content is difficult. In our opinion, this is NOT one of the easiest exams.® We suspect that the pass rate of this exam is so high because you are used to taking these CPCU® exams by now. For most people, this is the seventh CPCU® exam that they have taken, meaning they cruise right through the 557 with no problems.

Even though the pass rate is high, the content of the exam is by no means easy. Especially if you do not have commercial 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 commercial insurance, meaning you have probably never seen these topics before, and you definitely did not see these topics in your prior CPCU® exams.

CPCU® 557 – Most Difficult Part

This exam is tough because there is so much content to memorize. In particular, there are a ton of different insurance products and coverages that you need to memorize. We have personally reviewed the content and counted over 20 different commercial insurance products (such as commercial auto, commercial crime, cyber risk, and employer’s liability) that you need to be familiar with for this exam. Almost every single question on the CPCU® 557 exam will be based on some type of coverage, exclusion, or endorsement.

For comparison purposes, this exam is most similar to the CPCU® 555 exam (except this one is based on commercial insurance). Much like the CPCU® 555 exam, for the CPCU® 557 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 20 commercial insurance products that you need to memorize to pass this exam.

The hardest part of the CPCU® 557 will be memorizing each coverage, condition, exclusion, and every minor aspect of each commercial insurance product. The reason people fail this exam is because they underestimate the amount of content. There is a LOT to memorize.  For each commercial insurance product, such as the commercial general liability policy (one of the most important topics of the 557 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 20 commercial 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® 557 products and coverages that you need to memorize (we’ll also include a free practice exam with the download).

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


CPCU® 557 – Three Study Tips

The exam is tricky. The multiple choice questions will try to trick you by mixing the optional coverages, loss conditions, and insurance limits of the various products. Pay close attention to the minor details of each commercial insurance product. You must be able to confidently state the coverages, conditions, and exclusions of each insurance product covered in the study material.

We recommend you focus first on memorizing the definition of the insurance product and coverage. Then memorize the minor details and differences between each different insurance product. The 557 will try to trick you by asking about the minor differences between products. The exam will even makeup the name of a commercial insurance form to try and trick you!

Here are three study tips that we recommend to help you master the CPCU® 557 content:

1) Study each chapter: Treat each chapter like its own textbook. Read each chapter and memorize the insurance products and coverages as you go. Don’t wait until the end to memorize the coverages, exclusions, and conditions. 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 CPCU® 557 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.

Be sure to download our free CPCU® 557 practice exam and list of coverages to ensure you’re memorizing every endorsement and coverage.

CPCU® 557 Difficulty – Study Plan

Now that I’ve scared you, here’s why you’re going to easily pass the CPCU® 557. We’re going to 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 for each insurance product covered jot down the coverages, conditions, and exclusions for the insurance product.
  • Step 3: Take note of the minor complexities and details of each insurance product and coverage. (trust me, this will be on the exam).
  • Step 4: Compare each insurance product to one another, study the subtle differences between each (the exam will try to trick you by mixing and mingling definitions).
  • Step 5: Study your list of each insurance product and its coverages, conditions, and exclusions as a whole – go back and look at your huge list of commercial insurance products and make sure you’ve memorized each minor detail.


Free Practice Exam

Ready to get started studying? We’re here to help (for free). Download our free CPCU® 557 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 Practice Exam (CPCU® | ARM™ | AINS™ | API™)

More Information

For more information about the CPCU® 557 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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