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What is the CPCU® 500 exam?

The CPCU® 500 exam is the first in the series of eight exams needed to complete the CPCU® Designation. The concepts of this first exam build the foundation upon which the remaining CPCU® exams will be focused, it is vital to fully understand the concepts of the CPCU® 500 exam.

The CPCU® Designation Exams

For more information about the CPCU®, see our Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU®) page.

What is the CPCU® 500 exam format?

This exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, taken through the virtual exam platform. The virtual CPCU® 500 exam is 65-minutes long. Meaning, to answer every question before the time runs out, you should plan on spending about 1 minute and 18 seconds to answer each question (50 questions in 65 minutes).

All questions on the virtual exam will be application-based scenario questions. These are tricky questions that require you to apply your knowledge to a real-life scenario to choose the appropriate answer (you will not be repeating a definition or concept). That means, there is really no way to cheat on your exam, so don’t even try.

You can download one of our free practice exams to see what these questions look like.

What are the CPCU® 500 exam topics?

The major focus of the CPCU® 500 exam is risk and risk management techniques used by individuals and organizations. The main topics covered in this exam include risk, risk management, risk control, risk financing, and insurance.

A majority of the questions on this exam will be based on how individuals and organizations can use risk control and risk financing techniques, such as insurance, to mitigate risk. These questions will require you to fully understand the job of a risk management professional and how various techniques can help to reduce the severity and frequency of loss.

Here is an outline of the topics covered in our CPCU® 500 Online Course:

  • Section I: Risk and Insurance
  • Section II: Understanding Risk
  • Section III: Identifying Risks
  • Section IV: Insurance
  • Section V: Critical Thinking
  • Section VI: Communication
  • Section VII: Strategic Management

How difficult is this exam?

The CPCU® 500 exam is not too difficult. If you have experience in the insurance industry, you should not have trouble with the concepts of the CPCU® 500 exam. One of the main focuses of this exam will be on risk control and risk financing techniques, which 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. This means that you must understand how to APPLY the material you have studied, not just simply repeat definitions.

What grade do I need to pass this exam?

You will need to score 70% or higher to pass the CPCU® 500 exam. That means you need to answer 35 out of the 50 multiple-choice questions correctly to earn a passing grade.

What is the pass rate of the CPCU® 500?

The pass rate of the CPCU® 500 exam is typically around 75%. This means, one out of every four students will fail this exam. In terms of difficulty, we rank this as one of the easiest exams, ranked as the 9th hardest of all exams.

How do I start studying?

To get started studying, enroll in our CPCU® 500 online course. With a 99% pass rate and a money-back guarantee, our course will help you pass your exam in less time with less studying (two weeks on average).

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 and importance rank 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 contact@associatepi.com.