CIPP/E Exam strategy: what to expect, how to excel

CIPP/E Exam and exam strategy (what to expect and how to excel)

Our students often ask us what they should expect from the CIPP/E exam and how best to approach the test. We’ll provide answers in this article.

Please note: The CIPP/E exam will experience an annual update that goes into effect July 1, 2021. Learn all about this update here: CIPP/E Exam Annual Update (July 1, 2021)


First of all, the CIPP/E exam consists of 90 questions with a duration of 2.5 hours. You will be required to answer about 50 multiple-choice and 40 scenario questions. Many students find the scenario questions particularly difficult.

Scenario questions

This part consists of a long text (the whole screen will be full of text), on which various questions are asked. The text contains many references to all kinds of different topics. Try to read the text carefully and check the questions meticulously. Read the piece of text to which the question relates once again quietly. Do not be fooled by the multitude of information. You can also read the questions first and check the scenario text afterward. Some candidates skip the scenarios until they are done with the other part so as to avoid running out of time. We do not recommend this strategy.

Further advice

  • Although the questions may appear difficult and plenty, you should try to stay calm all through the exam. There are short and easy questions that you will be able to answer without stress.
  • ‘Flag’ difficult questions and go through them later. You will discover that you will most certainly know most answers when you read through the second time.
  • Try the IAPP practice exam. This gives a lot of insight into the way in which questions are asked.
  • Read carefully. The nuance in the questions is important. Most times, you will be asked to choose the most correct answers from a list of correct answers.
  • Some questions may require logical thinking rather than what you read in the CIPP study guide.
  • The duration of the exam is limited, so you should not waste time on questions that seem too difficult. This tip is particularly important for non native speakers who are taking the test.


After the completion of the exam, your result will be shown to you. You will know instantly if you have passed or fail the exam.

Do you want to increase your chance of passing the exam at first try? Register for our online training course now. You will have access to study materials, three full practice exams (3 x 90 questions) and additional practice questions.

Flashcards added to our CIPP/E and CIPP/US training courses!